Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, fertile soils. Seldom needs pruning. Tolerant of air pollution and adapts well to urban settings. Intolerant of prolonged dry conditions.
Chionanthus virginicus, commonly called fringetree, is a deciduous, Missouri native shrub or small tree with a spreading, rounded habit that typically grows 12-20′ tall (to 35′ in the wild, however) and most often occurs in rich, moist woods and hillsides, moist stream banks, limestone glade margins and rocky bluffs and ledges. Common name refers to the slightly fragrant, spring-blooming flowers which feature airy, terminal, drooping clusters (4-6″ long) of fringe-like, creamy white petals. Dioecious (separate male and female plants), but also may have perfect flowers on each plant. Male flowers are showier than female flowers. Fertilized perfect or female flowers give way to clusters of olive-like fruits which ripen to a dark, bluish black in late summer and are a food source for birds and wildlife. Wide, spear-shaped leaves (to 8″ long) turn yellow in autumn.
Genus name comes from the Greek words chion meaning snow and anthos meaning a flower for the snow white flowers of C. virginicus.
Specific epithet means of Virginia.
No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to scale and borers (particularly when grown in dry locations).
Grow in groups or as specimens in lawns or in shrub or woodland borders. Also may be used in native plant gardens or near streams or ponds. Can be spectacular in full bloom.