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Styrax japonicus 'Pink Chimes': 'Pink Chimes' Japanese Snowbell1

Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson 2


This cultivar of Japanese snowbell is a small deciduous tree that slowly grows from 20 to 30 feet in height and has rounded canopy with a horizontal branching pattern. With lower branches removed, it forms a more vase-shaped patio-sized shade tree. The smooth, attractive bark has orange-brown interlacing fissures adding winter interest to any landscape. The pink, bell-shaped, drooping flower clusters of 'Pink Chimes' are quite showy in May to June.

Figure 1. Middle-aged Styrax japonicus 'Pink Chimes': 'Pink Chimes' Japanese snowbell
Figure 1.  Middle-aged Styrax japonicus 'Pink Chimes': 'Pink Chimes' Japanese snowbell

General Information

Scientific name: Styrax japonicus
Pronunciation: STY-racks juh-PAWN-ih-kuss
Common name(s): 'Pink Chimes' Japanese snowbell
Family: Styracaceae
USDA hardiness zones: 6A through 8A (Fig. 2)
Origin: not native to North America
Invasive potential: little invasive potential
Uses: trained as a standard; parking lot island < 100 sq ft; parking lot island 100-200 sq ft; parking lot island > 200 sq ft; tree lawn 3-4 feet wide; tree lawn 4-6 feet wide; tree lawn > 6 ft wide; specimen; street without sidewalk; deck or patio; container or planter; sidewalk cutout (tree pit); highway median
Availability: not native to North America

Figure 2. Range
Figure 2.  Range


Height: 20 to 30 feet
Spread: 15 to 25 feet
Crown uniformity: symmetrical
Crown shape: round, vase
Crown density: moderate
Growth rate: slow
Texture: medium


Leaf arrangement: alternate (Fig. 3)
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: sinuate/undulate, entire, serrate
Leaf shape: oblong, elliptic (oval)
Leaf venation: pinnate, brachidodrome
Leaf type and persistence: deciduous
Leaf blade length: less than 2 inches, 2 to 4 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: yellow, red
Fall characteristic: not showy

Figure 3. Foliage
Figure 3.  Foliage


Flower color: pink
Flower characteristics: showy


Fruit shape: oval, round
Fruit length: less than .5 inch, .5 to 1 inch
Fruit covering: fleshy
Fruit color: green
Fruit characteristics: does not attract wildlife; not showy; fruit/leaves not a litter problem

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: branches droop; showy; typically multi-trunked; thorns
Pruning requirement: little required
Breakage: resistant
Current year twig color: green
Current year twig thickness: thin
Wood specific gravity: unknown


Light requirement: full sun, partial sun, or partial shade
Soil tolerances: clay; sand; loam; acidic; slightly alkaline; well-drained
Drought tolerance: moderate
Aerosol salt tolerance: moderate


Roots: not a problem
Winter interest: yes
Outstanding tree: yes
Ozone sensitivity: unknown
Verticillium wilt susceptibility: unknown
Pest resistance: free of serious pests and diseases

Use and Management

It is an excellent small patio tree where the flowers and interesting bark can be viewed up close; however, the flowers attract tremendous numbers of bees and one should be cautious about approaching the plant at that time. Japanese snowbell also makes a wonderful addition to the mixed shrubbery border. Due to its small stature and vase-shape, in moist soil it can make a nice street tree where overhead space is limited. The fruit is somewhat showy and may cause a small litter problem for a short time in the fall. Fall leaf color is unreliable.

Snowbell prefers a peaty, acid soil that is moist but not waterlogged. In colder areas (USDA hardiness zone 5b), locate Styrax japonicus in an area protected from winter winds. In the south (USDA hardiness zones 7 and 8) locate it so it receives only part sun during the summer to promote best growth and appearance. This cultivar displays wonderful pink flowers as far south as zone 7b (perhaps in zone 8a).

Other cultivars include: 'Carillon' grows about one-foot per year, has a weeping habit, can be staked to encourage weeping habit; 'Crystal'—upright to fastigiate habit, black green foliage, crisp white flowers with purple pedicels (zone 5); 'Issai'—cold hardy to zone 6, grows faster that species and roots easily;

Propagate by softwood cuttings in summer.

Pests and Diseases

No pests or diseases of major concern except ambrosia beetle which can infest stressed trees. It is almost pest free.


1. This document is ENH-764, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 1993. Revised December 2006. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at
2. Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; and Dennis G. Watson, former associate professor, Agricultural Engineering Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

Publication #ENH-764

Date: 4/15/2015

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