The birch family is characterised by graceful trees, often with interesting bark with a range of colours from dark brown to pure white. They will grow in a wide range of situations, preferring acidic conditions but many forms will tolerate chalk soils. They are relatively fast-growing trees.
Birches make good specimen trees, but are also very effective when planted in small groups. Their leaves are fairly small, so they provide shade whilst not blocking out light altogether. Most have an upright habit, but there are several with pendulous shoots which hang down from their branches.
The combination of interesting bark and branch structure makes birches particularly attractive in the winter, and if you are looking for a specimen tree with strong winter interest they are a good starting point.
There are many species to choose from, but two which stand out are the Himalayan birch (Betula utilis) and the native Silver birch (Betula pendula). We have several varieties of both these species.
The Himalayan White Birch, one of the most popular white birches with characteristic bright white bark.
The Swedish birch, an attractive columnar silver birch with drooping branches.
Edinburgh is an upright form of the silver birch, discovered in the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens.
A slow-growing small birch with bright white papery peeling bark.
A gold-leaved silver birch, with an excellent upright form, white bark, and attractive autumn colours.
Hergest is a form of the Chinese red birch, and features copper-coloured bark.
An unusual silver birch with bronze-coloured leaves, and a white stem.
The Common Silver Birch, native to Europe, popular for its peeling white bark and pendulous branches.
An attractive tree, and one of the best forms of the Himalayan birch, with a bright white stem.
Spider Alley is a silver birch with unusual contorted twisting branches, and a pure white stem.
A graceful upright silver birch with pendulous shoots cascading from its branches.
A weeping silver birch, the branches trail to the ground.