Birch Tree Betula

Birch Tree (Betula sp.)

The birch is one of the most common deciduous trees in Europe, we also see it on the United States, and suitable for gardens that enjoy a temperate climate. The whitish bark of its trunk and its spectacular autumnal colors, in addition to the little space it needs to develop, make it one of those plants with which you can have a paradise as soon as you walk out the door of the house.

Their care is also very interesting, both for beginners and for the more advanced. So if you want to know everything about it, you can not miss this special article.

birch trees

Origin and characteristics

The birch, whose scientific name is Betula sp, being  Betula pendula the most known , is a deciduous tree native to Europe, northern Africa and southwest Asia. It also grows in northern Turkey, the Caucasus and in Canada. 

It is characterized by having a thin and tall trunk, 30 meters, with a pure white bark once adult and brownish when young. The cup is ovate, dense, with the branches upright. The leaves measure about 6cm counting the petiole, and are green that changes to yellow in autumn before falling.

Blooms at the end of winter . The female flowers appear in solitary amentos of 1’5 to 3cm, and the masculine ones measure about 3-6cm and appear in groups of 2 or 3. The fruit is a bialada samara.

Cultivation and care

Would you like to have a copy? If so, we recommend providing the following care:


It is a tree that must be placed outside , in full sun. It is very important to plant it at a minimum distance of 6 meters from the wall of the house, pipes and others, because although it does not occupy too much space your root system is one of those that extend quite a lot.


It prefers fresh soils, rich in organic matter, and acids (pH between 4 and 6). It can also be in gardens with limestone, but it should not be compact.


Very frequent . The birch is a tree that lives near the water courses, so it is very important to water it very often: every 4-5 days in summer and a little less the rest of the year.


From the beginning of spring to the end of summer it can be fertilized with organic fertilizers, such as guano  (like this one here ) or manure .

Planting time

In spring , when the risk of frost has passed.


The pruning of the birch only reduces to remove the dry, diseased or weak branches in autumn when the leaves fall or at the end of winter before budbreak.



To multiply it by seeds first you have to stratify them for three months in the fridge by filling a tupperware with vermiculite , then bury them a bit in the substrate, water and place the container in the appliance, where the dairy products, sausages and others are placed.

When that time has passed, we must proceed to plant them in a nursery following this step by step :

  1. The first thing we will do is fill the seedbed with universal culture substrate mixed with 30% perlite.
  2. Then, we water and throw the seeds on the surface.
  3. Then, cover them with a thin layer of substrate and sprinkle copper or sulfur to prevent the appearance of fungi.
  4. Finally, we spray with water and place the seedbed outside, in full sun.

If everything goes well they will germinate throughout the spring .


A faster way to get birch specimens is by cuttings taken at the end of winter. For that what we will do is cut a branch of about 40cm, impregnate its base with rooting hormones in powder (we can buy them here ) or with homemade rooting and then plant it in a pot with universal substrate.

We place it in semi-shade, and in 2-3 months we will have a new birch.


If we want to make sure we get a new birch, we can multiply it by air layering in spring. The procedure is as follows:

  • The first thing we will do is cut a bark ring 1-2cm wide to a branch that looks healthy.
  • Then, we spray it with water and we impregnate it with rooting hormones in powder.
  • Now we take a dark plastic bag, open it at the end, and place it on the branch by tying a side with a rope or wire.
  • Then, fill the bag with universal culture substrate previously moistened with water and tie the other end of the bag to the branch so that the soil is not lost.
  • Finally, we water with a syringe frequently.

In 2-3 months it will emit its own roots and, later, we will be able to separate our new copy from the mother plant.

Resistance and Resilience

Resists frosts of up to -18ºC ; on the other hand, it can not live well in climates with temperatures above 35ºC.

Is Birch Tree Available As bonsai?

Yes of course. The birch bonsai is one of the, that in fact, more can be found for sale in the nurseries. Their care are the following:

  • Location : outside, in full sun.
  • Watering : frequent. It does not resist the drought.
  • Substrate:  100% akadama (you can acquire it here ).
  • Subscriber : from spring until the end of summer with a liquid fertilizer for bonsai (like this one here) Flower 10724 – Bonsai liquid fertilizer, 300 ml following the indications specified on the package.
  • Styles : fits almost all without problems: forest, formal vertical, informal vertical.
  • Pruning : it should be shaped when it is still young, removing those branches that stand out from the style.
  • Transplant : every 2-3 years.

What uses does it have?


It is a tree with a high ornamental value. It looks great in the gardens , either as a solitary specimen or in groups. Although it does not give much shade, it is perfect for, for example, having a natural screen.

birch tree leaves

Properties of the birch

According to Webmd website, It is a very complete medicinal plant, whose properties are: antiseptic, antifungal, depurative, anti-inflammatory, febrifuge, astringent, antihemorrhagic, healing and analgesic. This means that it is used to:

  • relieve headache
  • fluid retention
  • delay or prevent hair loss
  • fever
  • treat urinary tract infections
  • Take care of the skin
  • drop
  • treat arthritis, rheumatism and osteoarthritis
  • depurativo
  • relieve the pains

The dose is:

  • Internal use : prepare an infusion with a small spoonful of dried birch leaves per 200ml of water. Let it rest for 3 minutes, strain and finally drink.
  • External use : the essential oil that is extracted from the sap is very concentrated, so its use is recommended under the supervision of a professional.

The birch is a very interesting plant, but it is important not to take an infusion for more than two weeks in a row . In addition, if we are already taking drugs with anticoagulant action, we have irritable bowel syndrome or colitis we will not be able to take it.

What did you think of this tree now? Please let us know in the comments

Don Burke

I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide.  I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.

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