Mostard (Sorbus torminalis)

Sorbus torminalis is a very decorative tree, ideal for you to enjoy in a medium or large garden since it is a plant that takes up a lot of space. In addition, it is easy to take care of, since with a little attention it will look great.

So if you are looking for a good size plant that provides good shade, then I will tell you what are the characteristics and care of this tree.

Origin and characteristics

Our protagonist is a deciduous tree (loses its leaves in autumn/ winter) native to the Caucasus, northwestern Africa, Turkey and northern Syria. In Spain we can find it in almost the entire Peninsula except in the southwest. It lives in forests of oaks, holm oaks, pines and gall oaks. Its scientific name is Sorbus torminalis, although it is known as wild sorbo, wild rowan or mostajo.

It reaches a height of up to 25 meters, with a more or less straight grayish-brown trunk that thickens up to 60cm in diameter. The leaves are simple, alternate, with a serrated margin and a very long petiole. These are 5-12cm long by the same width; they have the underside paler than the upper surface, and do not have the dense tomentum of other Sorbus. The flowers, which appear between April and July in the northern hemisphere, are white and small. The ripe fruit is oval, brownish, about the size of an olive.

In many points, such as Portugal and the communities of Valencia, Murcia, Madrid, Extremadura, Castilla y León, Castilla-La Mancha and Andalusia it is protected.

What are their cares?

If you want to have a copy, we recommend you provide the following care:


The Sorbus torminalis has to be outside, in full sun. It is very important for him to feel the passing of the seasons, the sun’s rays, the wind, the rain. Inside the house he would die in a few months.


  • Pot: it is not a plant that can be grown in a pot throughout its life, but in its youth it can be with universal cultivation substrate mixed with 30% perlite. You can get the first here and the second here.
  • Garden: grows in all types of soils, but prefers fresh, fertile and deep ones.


The frequency of irrigation will vary greatly as the seasons go by. Thus, while in summer it will be necessary to water more often, the rest of the year irrigation will be more sporadic. Therefore, the best thing to do is to check the humidity of the soil or substrate before proceeding to give it water, for example by doing any of these things:

  • Use a digital moisture meter: when you enter it, it will tell you instantly what degree of humidity is that soil that has come into contact with the meter. Introduce it again in other areas (further from the plant or closer) since the soil does not dry out on all sides as quickly.
  • Insert a thin wooden stick to the bottom: if when you take it out it comes out practically clean, you can water since the earth will be dry.
  • Dig about 5-10cm around the plant: this way you will know how moist the soil really is (and not just the surface, which when drying very quickly tends to create a lot of confusion for the gardener).
  • Weigh the pot once it is watered and again after a few days: this can obviously only be done when it is young. Since wet soil weighs more than dry soil, this difference in weight will help you know when to water.

Anyway, to give you more or less an idea, it is recommended to water about 3 times a week in summer and every 5-6 days the rest of the year.


From the beginning of spring to the end of summer, it is advisable to fertilize it with organic fertilizers, guano being highly recommended as it is organic, very rich in nutrients and quickly effective. You can get it in powder here and liquid (for pot) here.


The Sorbus torminalis is multiplied by seeds in autumn (need to be cold before germinating), following this step by step:

First phase: stratification

Stratification consists of sowing the seeds in an area where they can be cold. It can be natural, sowing them in a pot with a universal growing medium and then placing them outside; or artificial, for which you have to do the following:

  1. First you have to take a tupperware with a lid and fill it with vermiculite (you can get it here ) previously moistened.
  2. The seeds are then placed on the surface, and covered with a layer of vermiculite.
  3. Finally, sprinkle with copper or sulfur to prevent the appearance of fungi, water it again with a sprayer, and put the closed tupperware in the fridge for three months. Once a week it must be removed and opened so that the air is renewed.

Second phase: sowing

If we have stratified the seeds naturally, we will not have to do anything else; but if we have put them in the fridge, after three months we have to plant them in pots and place them in semi-shade.

They will germinate throughout the spring.


Withstands cold and frost up to -18ºC.

What uses does it have?

Apart from being used as an ornamental, it has other uses:

  • Fruits: they are suitable for human consumption.
  • Wood: in carpentry and joinery it is used to make pieces that have to suffer prolonged friction.

What did you think of Sorbus torminalis ?

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