This interesting small/medium sized tree is most well known for its astonishing, white, large bracts that hang like pinched handkerchiefs from its branches in May, hence the common name Handkerchief tree. The foliage is midsized, heart shaped and an attractive green colour, turning shades of orange and yellow in the winter. Young foliage is red/purple in the spring. Small, inedible pear shaped fruits are produced and in the spring the new foliage has a spicy, incense fragrance.
This tough ornamental tree will grow in most positions as long as it has moist, well drained soil and it is tolerant of pollution. Expect a height and spread of 6 x 4 metres in 20 years. It can take up to 10 years until this tree flowers but in our opinion it’s a very special tree and completely worth the wait!
A little bit of history for those interested! The plant hunters' search in the middle of the 19th century was most fiercely fought over this tree and it is named after a French missionary/botanist Father David (he was also the first European to report a sighting of a panda!). 37 seeds were sent back to France but only one tree grown from those seeds flowered. Horticultural practices improved in the following decades and in 1899 "Chinese" Wilson was sent on behalf of the Veith Nurseries of Exeter (on behalf of wealthy garden owners in Cornwall) to collect seed in China for commercial production.
AKA Davidia involucrata var. Vilmoriniana, Handkerchief tree, Pocket handkerchief tree, de Vilmorin handkerchief tree, Dove tree, Ghost tree
When planting Handerkerchief trees, it is important to prepare the planting area well. Pot grown Davidia trees can be planted at any time of the year. You will need to carry out the following to prepare your planting site.
Firstly, remove all weeds and grass within a metre of your desired planting hole then dig a hole as deep as your root mass and approximately 2x as wide. We recommend digging a square hole as this encourages the roots to grow straight as opposed to around, inside the hole. To help your tree establish more effectively, we advise applying root grow (sprinkle in the hole for pot grown trees), especially if you have poor soil. Gently loosen the roots and place into the planting hole.
If your soil is poor, mix 50% of the original soil with 50% high quality compost, fill in the hole and firm around gently. Make sure not to bank the soil up around the collar of the tree as this can cause problems.
We recommend planting any ornamental tree with a stake and tie, to see how to use a tree stake and tie, watch our informational how to videos.
If you’re planting in dry weather, water well and regularly for the first few months. The same goes for spring and summer planting. Make sure to keep an eye on your young tree and increase watering if there are extended periods of hot or dry weather. If you’re planting in autumn, you may only need to water your tree a little. We also stock a range of irrigation kits, suitable for a variety of planting schemes.
Once planted, it is important to keep the area free of competing weeds and grass for the first couple of growing seasons. Using a glyphosate based weed killer or installing mulch matting and bark chips will aid in this. Do not simply mow the grass around the area as this will only encourage it to grow more vigorously. If you know your area is prone to rabbits, we would advise using a rabbit guard.
Dove trees do not require regular pruning. If you wish to tidy up your Gentleman's pocket handkerchief tree, do this during the dormant season. Focus on removing any damaged, diseased or overcrowded branches. If you require a clear trunk, remove any side shoots to help raise the crown.
All trees are carefully packed by our experienced team and most are delivered within a week of placing the order (please allow up to 12 working days during busy periods). There's no need to be in to receive your order and you can request where it is left via the checkout.
There is a slightly longer timescale on pleached and mature trees (trees over 2.5m in height) because we group orders together for specialist delivery - we will contact these customers to notify them of the delivery date.
Trees on pre-order are still growing and an estimate of when they will be ready is given on the basket page. Orders will be despatched when all trees are ready.
Gift trees and those required by a specific date can be accommodated with pleasure, although we accept no legal responsibility for late deliveries.
Our nursery is a busy despatch centre, so please make an appointment to collect or view trees. For collections, despatch charges will be refunded.
1 small tree (most trees under 1.5 metres in height) : £7.95 + vat
1 medium tree (most trees 1.5-2 metres in height) or 2-4 small trees: £9.95 + vat
2+ medium trees or 5+ small trees: £12.95 + vat
1-4 trees delivered by pallet (inc. mature Japanese Maples): £19.95 + vat
The above prices exclude the Scottish Highlands, where delivery starts from £24.95 + vat and is calculated in the checkout process.
Mature and pleached trees or orders too large for pallet: Cost is calculated in the checkout process and varies by postcode rather than quantity (starts from £48 + vat).
Our courier charges are not viable for just one or two trees, but if you have a larger requirement then please do speak to us to see if we can find a solution.
The product table at the bottom of the page gives the forms and sizes available for this variety. Please note, photos are a guideline as all plants are unique. Below are definitions of terms:
Supplied Size: Height measured from the top of the pot.
Single Stem / Pruned and shaped: Classic shaped tree with a single stem that has had pruning to help create a beautiful, natural shape.
Top grafted: A height noted next to this form refers to the length of clear stem, which will not grow taller. Only the head of branches will develop. Top grafted trees do not require complicated pruning and are ideal for small spaces.
Feathered: A feathered tree has branches from the bottom of the trunk all the way up. These branches can be removed if a clear stem is required.
Multi Stem: A multi stem tree has two or more stems arising from or near ground level, growing from one root system. Take care to buy a true multi-stem like all ours and not those that are 3 saplings in a pot to cheaply imitate them.
Bush: A plant with many stems low down, rather than one clear stem.
Clump: Several plants in one pot that can give the appearance of a multi stemmed and very bushy tree.
Climber: A plant that is a natural climber and will be delivered usually running up a bamboo cane, ready to position in the garden.
Standard Tree: A more mature tree with an upright clear stem of approximately 1.8m-2.0m (measured from the soil to the lowest branches of the crown). Standards are available in different forms relating to their girth size (circumference of the stem measured 1m above soil level), not height:
Standard either 6-10cm or 8-10cm girth, approximately 2.5-3.0m in height
Premium Standard 10-12cm girth, approximately 3.0-3.5m in height
Heavy Standard 12-14cm girth, approximately 3.5-4.5m in height
Extra Heavy Standard 14-16cm girth approximately 4.0-6m in height
|Plant Specification||Form||Supplied Size||Root type||Price||Quantity Qty|
|Pruned & Shaped Tree||150-200cm||10L pot||£59.99 (ex VAT)|