Scattered across temperate areas of the northern hemisphere, with most species populating east Asia, this fairly small deciduous genus is noteworthy for its hard timber, simple, neatly pleated leaves, hop-like fruiting clusters and understated elegance. Hornbeam’s urbane rich green foliage embellishes an undemanding long-lived habit that appreciates moderate moisture, but tolerates occasional dry conditions once established plus clay and alkaline soil.
Renown for the grand forest-green hedges it fashions, European Hornbeam premiers glistening tight-knit pleated leaves, and when left unclipped develops a dense pyramidal to rounded silhouette. The toothed oval-shaped foliage takes on splendid buttery yellow fall color against smooth gray bark inscribed with muscular vertically aligned undulations. Enduring wind, heavy pruning and clay soil, cold-hardy Carpinus betulus can be showcased as a hedge, windbreak, single specimen, or planted in an allée, pleached or not. 10´ in 10 years. Large Band.
Size: 40' 0" – 60' 0" high x 20' 0" – 30' 0" wide.
Hardy to zone 5.
Native to Japan, Korea and China, this slow growing, small rounded tree draws attention throughout the seasons. Lovely, large heart-shaped dark green leaves with doubly serrated margins and prominent veins cast a graceful aspect amid densely set branches. Big fruiting catkins and sizable cigar-style seed pods provide additional intrigue, while chunky winter buds and unique scaly, fissured coal-gray bark etch the cold weather landscape. Once utilized in crafting agricultural tools and furniture, Heartleaf Hornbeam’s undemanding habit can be planted as a sentinel, deciduous screen or small specimen in space-thrifty gardens and woodland settings where dappled shade plus organic-rich soil ensure its longevity.
Size: 20' 0" – 30' 0" high x 12' 0" – 15' 0" wide.
Hardy to zone 5.
Cherished among bonsai devotees, this graceful multi-stemmed Korean native deserves a prominent place in more landscapes as a small-scale ornamental specimen. Pendulous branches taper into short shrubby, deep brown twigs that are infused with wine hues. Sporting a lustrous spring and summer sheen, the serrated tiny green deciduous leaves orchestrate a fantastic fall finale of flaming red, yellow and orange colors. Appreciative of some protection from hot afternoon sun, especially in dry locations, C. coreana’s refined slow-growing visage can flourish near a bench, a terrace or even in a large container, while its strong growing roots can survive occasional drought. Grows slowly.
Size: 15' 0" – 20' 0" high x 12' 0" – 15' 0" wide.
Hardy to zone 5.
This stellar medium-sized Hornbeam promises to delight all year round. Hallmarking spring and summer, a winsome bevy of small, oval-shaped dark green serrated foliage sport prominent veins, soft yellow-green undersides and slender pointed tips. Long, pendent, bright green and red-tinged fruiting keys accompanied by cozy yellow and red foliage make attractive autumn features, while winter showcases pendulous branches and smooth pale patterned bark.
A rarely offered Japanese native introduced in 1914, the versatile Carpinus laxiflora can be grown as a landscape specimen or serves as an ideal bonsai candidate. 10' in 10 years. Large Band.
Size: 30' 0" high x 20' 0" – 25' 0" wide.
Hardy to zone 6.