The American snowbell tree (Styrax americanus) is native to the United States. It is considered a deciduous shrub or small tree; it grows only to between 5 and 8 feet tall. The snowbell tree is named for its snow-white, bell-shaped blossoms. When this tree is in bloom, it looks like it is covered with snow.
American snowbell trees are cold-hardy and do best in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 9. They are found primarily in Texas, the southeast and as far north as Illinois, Ohio and Indiana. In all of these areas, the snowbell tree is a perennial.
The American snowbell is a compact tree with dark green, oval leaves up to 3 inches in length. Some cultivars of the American snowbell have notched edges on the leaves. The bark of this tree is gray and smooth. The snowbell's blossoms are shaped like bells, with five petals per blossom.
The American snowbell tree requires full sun to grow properly. Areas of a yard that receive at least eight hours of full sun are ideal for this tree. The snowbell tolerates filtered light in southern states, but it will not bloom as prolifically as it would in full sun. For the best sun exposure, place your snowbell tree where it receives southern or western sunlight.
The snowbell prefers sandy soil and tolerates sandy loam. For the blooms to develop best, the soil must be acidic. If your soil is alkaline, use an acid fertilizer to adjust the pH so the soil is favorable to your snowbell tree.
The American snowbell tree needs a great deal of water. If the soil is allowed to dry out, you tree will become stressed, which will decrease the production of blossoms. To keep the soil around your snowbell tree as wet as possible, create a dip in the soil around the trunk. Water will collect in this dip, rather than drain away.