The Complete Guide for Japanese Snowbell (Styrax Japonicus) Care

The Japanese Snowbell, otherwise known as the Styrax Japonicus or Fragrant Snowbell, Snowflake Flower, is a rather well known tree plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

Best known for its low maintenance and slow growth, this tree will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its dark green colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

This is why all the topics you need to know in order to achieve this will be covered in this Japanese Snowbell Care Guide. Ready? Let’s go!

The fundamental caring guidelines for every Japanese Snowbell can be summed up into the following:

  • Water: The Japanese Snowbell will thrive with intervals of deep watering during the growing season will do the plant a lot of good. Otherwise, reduce watering once established.
  • Light: Keep your Styrax Japonicus in an environment where it can receive partial to full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Japanese Snowbell in soil with moist but well-draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of sand, loam, and clay.

And as with many other plants, these are the only three care factors you need to remember to make sure your Japanese Snowbell is, for the most part, healthy and well to survive.

Styrax japonicus care

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Japanese Snowbell belongs to the Styracaceae family, the genus Styrax and the species Japonicus, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Styrax Japonicus (STY-raks ja-PON-i-kus).

As with other Styrax’s, the Japanese Snowbell is a deciduous plant, which means it will shed its leaves annually once autumn comes.

Growing Region

The Japanese SnowbellChina to Japan and N. Philippines.

Knowing your plant’s native region is very useful, as it can give you tips on which environment is best for your Japanese Snowbell. If you keep it in mind, you can try to replicate these conditions at home, and you’ll likely end with a healthier plant.

With this in mind, the Styrax Japonicus will be most used to the heat zones in the 6 – 8 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a and the ideal climate zone is between 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21.

Growth and Size


In terms of size and growth, the Japanese Snowbell is a relatively slow grower, which makes things easy for any plant enthusiast.


But what exactly does this mean for your Japanese Snowbell? How large a pot should you consider, how tall, how wide can it get? Let’s jump in…

The Styrax Japonicus can grow up to 20′ – 30′ (6m – 9m) in 20′ – 30′ (6m – 9m) and 20′ – 30′ (6m – 9m) in 20′ – 30′ (6m – 9m). 

Also, expect it to grow in a wonderful rounded shape, which is something worthwhile to remember when making your garden landscape plans.


In terms of watering, the Japanese Snowbell is a fairly complicated plant to take care of.

This is mostly because it has a not so straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Styrax Japonicus will thrive with intervals of deep watering during the growing season will do the plant a lot of good. Otherwise, reduce watering once established.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively average needs in terms of water. 

Styrax japonicus plants


As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Japanese Snowbell in soil with moist but well-draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage, and moist properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

In our experience, the famous ‘thumb’ or ‘finger’ test is what works best for the Japanese Snowbell since with it, you will be able to give it the right amount of water, every time – regardless of the environment or placement where you do decide to keep it.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Japanese Snowbell prefers to have soil with good drainage, and moist properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of sand, loam, and clay.

This is why most experts agree that the Japanese Snowbell requires soil with loam (silt), and sand, which will give you the right conditions it needs.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably neutral to acid soil.

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Japanese Snowbell requires partial to full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this tree will do well as long as you keep it in partial to full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Styrax Japonicus in little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day), to full and direct sun (more 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).


Being a deciduous plant, the Japanese Snowbell will shed its leaves annually once autumn comes.

But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the spring (late), the summer (early), the fall, and during the winter.


You can expect your Japanese Snowbell to flower around the spring months from April to June (spring).

In particular, this tree is well known for its fragrant and showy flowers around the plant enthusiast community.

The Japanese Snowbell produces some beautiful white, or pink and white flowers around this time of year.


The leaves from the Japanese Snowbell have a beautiful dark green color during most of the year.

In particular, they have a simple arrangement with a alternate organization in its leaves.

You can expect the leaves from your Styrax Japonicus to be around (1-3 inches) in size.

Styrax japonicus buds


Does your Japanese Snowbell have any garden recommendations? Does it serve any gardening purposes? Here’s how you can get the most out of your new plant.

Most Styrax Japonicus owners agree that this tree will look great in most asian/zen and cottage gardens of all types. 

Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of informal and cottage, and in prairie and meadow styles. 

In particular, the Japanese Snowbell’s best location within your garden is in beds and borders, others use it for landscaping in a urban garden, container, specimen, or a woodland garden.

Companion Plants

Japanese Snowbell’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Hydrangea, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

Others consider that a nice Pieris will work well too, so choose whichever you find works best for you!


Even though we covered a lot of care information for your Japanese Snowbell, remember the basics: sunlight, soil and water, as these should be enough to grow a healthy plant at home.

Sebastian Moncada

I’m also a plant enthusiast and researcher. I’ve been privileged to have lived my whole life around the wilderness of Colombia and I’m happy to share everything I learn along the way. “Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience” – Emerson.

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