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Betula pendula

Silver birch

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flowers
Flowers

Plant does not flower in January

Plant does not flower in February

Plant does flower in March

Plant does flower in April

Plant does not flower in May

Plant does not flower in June

Plant does not flower in July

Plant does not flower in August

Plant does not flower in September

Plant does not flower in October

Plant does not flower in November

Plant does not flower in December

  • Botanical name: Betula pendula
  • Common name: Silver birch
  • Family: Betulaceae
  • Plant Type: Tree, Deciduous
Foliage colour:

Green

The silver or common birch, Betula pendula, is a fantastic tree, grown for its silver-white bark, spring catkins and pretty yellow autumn foliage. It’s a medium-sized, deciduous tree and is a British native. It is a fantastic choice for wildlife, supporting over 300 species of insect and attracting birds such as greenfinches and siskins, which eat the seeds.

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Silver birch has a graceful, upright habit which gradually becomes weeping with maturity and a light canopy, so it casts dappled shade. Silver birch is a speedy grower (around 50cm a year) and relatively short-lived (to around 60 years). The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Silver birch is a favourite with garden designers. It is often planted in groups or as a multi-stemmed tree – the white bark looks especially good in winter and is perfect for showing off woodland planting underneath. Silver birch makes a good screen or windbreak and also works well as a specimen tree in a large garden.

If you’re looking for a birch for a smaller garden, buy a small whip tree (you can plant three in the same hole for a multi-stemmed look) or small sapling, or choose Betula pendula ‘Fastigiata’, which has a more upright growth habit. Or consider the slightly smaller Himalayan birch, which also has more vivid white bark.

Betula pendula thrives in most soils and situations. It can tolerate air pollution and copes well in an urban environment. It can even cope with occasional waterlogging. For the best results grow in moist but well-drained soil in sun to partial shade.

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Where to buy Betula pendula

How to grow Betula pendula

  • Plant size

    25m height

    10m spread

  • Aspect

    North facing, south facing, east facing, west facing

  • Position in border

    Back

  • Sun exposure: Dappled shade, full sun, partial shade
  • Hardiness: Hardy
  • Soil type: Acidic / clay / heavy / moist / well drained / light / sandy

Plant calendar

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Plant
Plant

Do not Plant in January

Do not Plant in February

Do not Plant in March

Do not Plant in April

Do not Plant in May

Do not Plant in June

Do not Plant in July

Do not Plant in August

Do Plant in September

Do Plant in October

Do Plant in November

Do not Plant in December

Flowers
Flowers

Plant does not flower in January

Plant does not flower in February

Plant does flower in March

Plant does flower in April

Plant does not flower in May

Plant does not flower in June

Plant does not flower in July

Plant does not flower in August

Plant does not flower in September

Plant does not flower in October

Plant does not flower in November

Plant does not flower in December

Betula pendula and wildlife

Betula pendula is known for attracting bees, beneficial insects, birds, butterflies​/​moths and other pollinators. It is a caterpillar food plant, has nectar/pollen rich flowers, is used for nesting materials, provides shelter and habitat, has seeds for birds and makes a good wildlife hedge.

Attractive to Bees

Attractive to Beneficial insects

Attractive to Birds

Attractive to Butterflies​/​Moths

Attractive to Other pollinators

Is Betula pendula poisonous?

Betula pendula has no toxic effects reported.

No reported toxicity to:

No reported toxicity to Birds

No reported toxicity to Cats

No reported toxicity to Dogs

No reported toxicity to Horses

No reported toxicity to Livestock

No reported toxicity to People