Trees

Albizia

The Albizia are very dear trees and shrubs in the gardens, both large and small, that produce flowers very bright colors. In addition, they multiply very easily by seeds, so having a specimen is not only possible but also a pleasure .

Its growth rate is usually rather fast, although without reaching the extreme. Would you like to know everything about them? 

Origin and characteristics

Albizia schimperiana// Image – Flickr/ Scamperdale

Our protagonists are trees and shrubs, usually deciduous, belonging to the genus Albizia, which is made up of about 140 accepted species originating from tropical and subtropical regions. They are characterized by having bi-pinnate leaves, with small greenish “pinnae” or leaflets.

The flowers are hermaphroditic, formed by a campanulate-cylindrical calyx and a cylindrical corolla with five triangular lobes at the lower end of the tube. The stamens, which sprout in great numbers, have long filaments with tiny anthers. And the fruit is a linear or oblong legume that contains ovoid or orbicular seeds.

Main species

The best known and most popular are:

  • Albizia julibrissin: known as the silk tree, silky-flowered acacia or Constantinople acacia (not to be confused with plants of the Acacia genus) is a deciduous tree native to Southeast and East Asia that reaches a height of up to 15 meters. It produces pink inflorescences and resists up to -20ºC.
    There is a variety with brown leaves called Albizia julibrissin ‘Summer Chocolate’.
  • Albizia lebbeck: known as the eastern ebony or siris, it is a deciduous tree native to the tropical south of Asia that reaches 18-30 meters in height. produces yellowish-white flowers. It does not resist frost.
    It is used as a medicinal plant since it is astringent, and effective against coughs, flu, gingivitis or abdominal problems.
  • Albizia procera: it is a deciduous tree native to South and Southeast Asia that reaches a height of 15 meters. It produces whitish-yellow inflorescences and resists frosts down to -18ºC.

What are their cares?

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

Location

Albizia lebbeck// Image – Flickr/ Scamperdale

They are plants that have to be outside, in full sun. They can also be in semi-shade as long as the area is bright.

Don’t worry about its roots: they are not invasive, although it is advisable to plant them at a minimum distance of 4-5 meters from pipes, soil, etc., as well as other tall plants.

Earth

They grow in generally fertile soils, with very good drainage. So that:

  • Garden: the soil has to be loose, light, rich in nutrients.
  • Pot: from experience I advise mixing 60% mulch with 40% perlite. In this way, the roots will be able to get some of the nutrients they need for a long time. You can get the first here and the second here.

Irrigation

The frequency of irrigation will vary a lot throughout the year, since the soil does not dry out as quickly in winter as in summer. In addition, it must be borne in mind that they do not resist drought, but neither do waterlogging unless it is for a very specific moment (for example, if one day a year it rains torrentially and the ground remains almost bogged down for a few hours, they will not nothing will happen).

So to avoid problems, it is necessary to check the humidity of the soil before watering, especially if we do not have much experience caring for plants. For this what we can do is:

  • Using a digital moisture meter
  • Introduce a thin wooden stick
  • Dig about 5cm next to the plants

Anyway, in case of doubt we must know that, in general, it is necessary to water 3-4 times a week in the hottest season, and every 5-6 days the rest.

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From early spring to late summer, with organic fertilizers such as guano or compost.

Multiplication

Albizia multiply easily by seed in spring, following this step by step:

  1. The first thing to do is pour water into a glass and put it in the microwave for a few seconds, until it boils.
  2. Then, we put the seeds in a small strainer, and then put it in the glass for a second.
  3. Then, we put the seeds in another glass with water at room temperature and leave them there for 24 hours.
  4. The next day, we fill a pot of about 10.5cm in diameter with mulch mixed with perlite in equal parts and water.
  5. Next, we place a maximum of three seeds on the surface, and cover them with a thin layer of substrate.
  6. Finally, we spray and leave the pot outside, in full sun.

In this way, the first seeds will germinate in 10-12 days (maximum one month).

Rusticity

It depends a lot on the species. The most resistant to cold and frost is A. julibrissin, which is capable of living in areas up to -20ºC, but there are others, such as A. polyphylla or A. saponaria, which can only live in warm tropical climates.

Albizia niopoides var. niopoides// Image – Wikimedia/ David J. Stang

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