Japanese Snowbell Styrax japonicus

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
Japanese snowbell


Commonly known as Japanese snowbell, this plant is renowned for its elegant and graceful appearance. It has a rounded canopy of foliage that, during the blooming season, becomes adorned with a profusion of small, bell-shaped, white flowers. These blossoms hang delicately from the branches, often creating a picturesque display akin to a soft snowfall. The leaves of the Japanese snowbell are deciduous, ovate to oblong in shape, and present a fresh, green color that serves as a beautiful backdrop for the white flowers. As the seasons change, the foliage undergoes a transformation showcasing shades of yellow that add to the plant’s visual interest. After the flowering period, the plant produces a fruit that resembles a drupe; it's slightly pendulous and provides an additional ornamental feature. The bark of the Japanese snowbell is smooth and gray, often exfoliating in thin layers, which adds to the overall texture and interest of the plant. The branches spread out horizontally and slightly droop, creating a tranquil, canopy-like effect, making the Japanese snowbell a favored choice for gardeners looking to infuse their landscapes with an air of serenity and beauty.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Japanese Snowbell, Japanese Storax

    • Common names

      Styrax japonica, Styrax confusus, Styrax japonicus var. acuminatus, Styrax japonicus f. angustifolius, Styrax japonicus var. elongatus, Styrax japonicus var. latifolius, Styrax japonicus f. roseus, Styrax obassia.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Japanese snowbell is not typically known for its toxicity to humans. There is no well-documented evidence of serious toxic effects from ingesting parts of the Japanese snowbell. However, as with any plant not commonly consumed, individual allergic reactions or gastrointestinal discomfort are possible if ingested. It is always advisable to avoid ingesting parts of ornamental plants unless they are known to be edible.

    • To pets

      There is limited information available on the toxicity of Japanese snowbell to pets. It is not commonly listed as a toxic plant to pets such as dogs and cats. However, as individual animals can have different sensitivities, it's possible that ingestion could cause mild stomach upset or an allergic reaction in some pets. To be safe, pet owners should prevent their pets from eating ornamental plants. If a pet does ingest Japanese snowbell and shows signs of distress, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      20-30 feet (6-9 meters)

    • Spread

      20-25 feet (6-7.6 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Aesthetics: The Japanese snowbell, with its bell-shaped white flowers, adds visual interest and beauty to landscapes.
    • Shade Production: The tree offers a modest canopy, which can provide shade in gardens and smaller outdoor spaces.
    • Nature Habitat: Its flowers, fruits, and foliage serve as a habitat and food source for various birds, bees, and other pollinators.
    • Seasonal Interest: With its spring blossoms, summer greenery, and autumn leaf coloration, the Japanese snowbell provides year-round seasonal interest.
    • Low Maintenance: Once established, it requires relatively little care other than occasional pruning and watering, making it suitable for busy gardeners.
    • Urban Tolerance: It can flourish in urban environments, tolerating pollution and compacted soils better than some other tree species.
    • Size Suitability: Due to its moderate size, it fits well in smaller yards and spaces where larger trees cannot thrive.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Anti-inflammatory: Compounds found in Styrax japonicus may exhibit inhibitory effects on inflammatory processes in the body.
    • Antioxidant: Extracts from the plant have demonstrated potential antioxidant activity, which could help in protecting cells from oxidative stress.
    • Antimicrobial: There have been indications that Styrax japonicus may possess antimicrobial properties against certain pathogens.
    • Wound healing: The plant has been traditionally used to promote wound healing and skin regeneration.
    • Anti-tumor: Laboratory research has suggested that Styrax japonicus might have anti-tumor properties, although clinical evidence is lacking.
    Note: The medical properties listed are based on traditional usage or limited scientific research. The safety and efficacy for these uses have not been conclusively proven, and thus should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Styrax japonicus, commonly known as Japanese snowbell, has been used in the crafting of small, specialized wooden tools due to its fine-grained wood quality.
    • The fragrant flowers can be used in perfumery, providing a delicate scent to various fragrance products.
    • In bonsai, the compact and manageable size of the Japanese snowbell makes it a favored species for creating miniature landscapes.
    • The wood of Japanese snowbell is sometimes used in the manufacture of musical instruments, such as wooden flutes or recorders.
    • Dried and pressed flowers of the Japanese snowbell can be utilized in decorative arts, such as making bookmarks or in paper-making for added texture and aesthetic.
    • The tree's sap can be processed and used in special adhesives and sealants for woodcraft and art projects.
    • Its dense foliage provides a natural shading solution in gardens, which can be used to protect more delicate plants from the harsh midday sun.
    • In landscaping, dried seed pods of Japanese snowbell can be incorporated into decorative mulches or natural walkways to add a unique textural element.
    • The tree can be used as a natural framework for hanging garden ornaments or small bird feeders due to its horizontal branching habit.
    • Japanese snowbell's bark can be included in the creation of botanical prints or natural dyes for textiles, giving fabrics a soft, earthy hue.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Japanese Snowbell is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Japanese Snowbell is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Purity: The delicate white flowers of the Japanese snowbell embody a sense of purity and innocence, often representing chastity and unblemished beauty in various cultural contexts.
    • Peace: Its tranquil and graceful appearance can symbolize peace and calmness, evoking a serene atmosphere in gardens and spaces where it is planted.
    • Renewal: The Japanese snowbell blooms in late spring, a time often associated with renewal and new beginnings, making it a symbol for fresh starts and rejuvenation.
    • Elegance: With its elegant drooping branches and refined flowers, the Japanese snowbell symbolizes sophistication and grace.
    • Perseverance: Despite its delicate look, the Japanese snowbell is relatively hardy, symbolizing the ability to endure and thrive in difficult conditions.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    For a Japanese Snowbell, moderate and consistent watering is important. Water the plant deeply once a week, providing about 1 to 1.5 gallons of water for each event, ensuring the soil is kept evenly moist but not waterlogged. During hot, dry periods, increase the frequency to twice a week. Reduce watering in the winter when the plant is dormant. The exact amount can vary based on climate and soil drainage, but the goal is to maintain a balance where the soil is moist but not soggy.

  • sunLight

    Japanese Snowbell thrives in full sun to partial shade. The ideal spot would have morning sunlight and afternoon shade, or dappled sunlight throughout the day, to protect the leaves from intense midday sun. Placing the plant in too much shade will reduce its flowering, while too much direct sun can lead to leaf scorch.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The Japanese Snowbell does well in a range of temperatures and can survive minimum temperatures of around 5 degrees Fahrenheit to maximum temperatures of up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal temperature range for optimal growth is between 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This plant is fairly cold-hardy and can tolerate winter conditions well.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning the Japanese Snowbell is essential for maintaining its shape, removing any damaged or diseased branches, and promoting healthy growth. Prune in late winter or early spring before new growth starts. Thinning out crowded branches every few years will improve air circulation and light penetration. Prune sparingly as this plant responds best to minimal interference.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Japanese Snowbell prefers well-draining soil that's rich in organic matter with a slightly acidic to neutral pH between 5.5 and 7.5. A mix containing peat moss, pine bark, and either perlite or coarse sand is beneficial. Regular mulching helps maintain soil moisture and temperature.

  • plantRepotting

    Japanese Snowbells do not generally need frequent repotting; it should be done every 3-5 years or when the plant becomes root-bound. It's best to repot in early spring before new growth begins.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Japanese Snowbell thrives in moderate humidity. They do well in the ambient outdoor humidity but may benefit from supplemental misting if grown in very dry indoor conditions.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide bright, indirect light and maintain moderate humidity.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in partial shade, fertile, moist, well-draining soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      5-8 USDA.

  • circleLife cycle

    Styrax japonicus, commonly known as Japanese Snowbell, begins its life as a dormant seed that requires a period of cold stratification to germinate. Upon warming temperatures in spring, the seed germinates and a seedling emerges, growing into a young plant that will develop a fibrous root system and a woody stem. Over the next few years, it gradually matures, usually flowering after it has become well established. In late spring to early summer, the Japanese Snowbell produces bell-shaped, fragrant white flowers that are pollinated by insects, leading to the development of drupe-like fruits containing seeds. Once the fruits ripen and drop, seeds may be dispersed by gravity or by animals, beginning the cycle anew. Throughout its life, which can span several decades, the plant experiences periodic growth and dormancy, with leaves that emerge in spring and drop in autumn as the plant enters winter dormancy.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • The most popular method of propagating the Japanese Snowbell (Styrax japonicus) is by seed. The best time to collect seeds is in autumn when they have ripened on the tree. Once collected, they should be sown immediately as their viability reduces with storage. To prepare the seeds, you will need to clean them and then soak them in water for 24 hours (approximately 1.06 quarts or about 1 liter of water). After soaking, sow them in a well-draining soil mix, barely covering the seeds with soil. It is important to maintain a consistent moisture level and provide a cold stratification period, which can be done naturally by sowing outdoors during the winter or artificially by placing the seeds in a refrigerator for 90-120 days. Seeds will generally germinate in the spring after the stratification period has concluded.