• AGM plants

    AGM plants have been through a rigorous trial and assessment programme. They are:

    • Excellent for ordinary use in appropriate conditions
    • Available to buy
    • Of good constitution
    • Essentially stable in form & colour
    • Reasonably resistant to pests & diseases

Betula pubescens

common white birch

common white birch

© RHS 2002

  • Other common names common white birch
    downy birch

    white birch

    see more
  • Synonyms Betula alba
    Betula odorata

  • Family Betulaceae

  • Genus Betula can be deciduous trees or shrubs, usually colouring well in autumn and often with striking white, pink, or peeling brown bark; separate male and female catkins open before or with the leaves in spring

  • Details B. pubescens is a slender deciduous tree with downy shoots bearing ovate or diamond-shaped leaves, yellow autumn colour, and yellow-brown catkins in early spring

  • Plant range Europe to C Asia

Characteristics

  • Foliage Deciduous

  • Habit Columnar/Upright

  • Hardiness

    Hardiness ratings

    All ratings refer to the UK growing conditions unless otherwise stated. Minimum temperature ranges (in degrees C) are shown in brackets

    • H1a - Under glass all year (>15C)
    • H1b - Can be grown outside in the summer (10 - 15)
    • H1c - Can be grown outside in the summer (5 - 10)
    • H2 - Tolerant of low temperatures, but not surviving being frozen (1 to 5)
    • H3 - Hardy in coastal and relatively mild parts of the UK (-5 to 1)
    • H4 - Hardy through most of the UK (-10 to -5)
    • H5 - Hardy in most places throughout the UK even in severe winters (-15 to -10)
    • H6 - Hardy in all of UK and northern Europe (-20 to -15)
    • H7 - Hardy in the severest European continental climates (< -20)

    H7

Colour

Sunlight

  • Full Sun

  • Partial Shade

  • Aspect South-facing or North-facing or West-facing or East-facing

  • Exposure Exposed or Sheltered

Soil

  • Chalk

    Chalk

  • Clay

    Clay

  • Sand

    Sand

  • Loam

    Loam

  • MoistureWell-drained, Moist but well-drained

  • SoilChalk, Clay, Sand, Loam

  • pHAcid, Alkaline, Neutral

Size

  • Ultimate height Higher than 12 metres

  • Ultimate spread 4-8 metres

  • Time to ultimate height 20-50 years

How to grow

Cultivation Suitable as isolated specimen or in small groups. Has attractive peeling bark

Propagation Propagate by seed, softwood cuttings or grafting

Suggested planting locations and garden types Wildflower meadow Wildlife Gardens

How to care

Pruning Pruning group 1

Pests Sawflies, aphids and leaf- mining sawflies may be a problem

Diseases A rust and a leaf spot may be a problem

Advertise here

Did you find the information you were looking for?

RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.

Join the RHS now