Garden supplies, plants, garden

Flowering Trees


Erythrina caffra Erythrina caffra

Flowering trees in a riot of color are typical of the tropical regions of the world. They adorn not only the native forests but city streets and home gardens. Many do not realize that, with proper selection from a wealth of flowering trees from areas with subtropical or Mediterranean climates, they can achieve a similar kaleidoscope of color as a canopy for the garden. Instead of planting trees that offer no color except the greens of their leaves, we can select from the many trees available, including the delicate pink of Albizia julibrissin the golden cassias, the blazing red and orange Erythrinas lavender-blue Jacaranda and many others. Trees are the basic, long-lived plants around which we design the rest of the landscape. We must remember that they are not only the providers of shade but can be used to enhance the garden with their flowers and fruits. During their flowering sea­son we are rewarded with a colorful display that adds distinction to the garden and excitement to the landscape.

Flowering trees that delight the tourist in Hawaii or the Caribbean area, such as the golden shower tree, Cassia fistula and Royal Poinciana, Delonix regia are not adapted to a Mediterranean climate with cool winter rains, but may thrive in other subtropical areas, particularly those with heat buildup in summer and summer rains.

Some may be best adapted to coastal zones and others to interior valleys. Some will be best in Mediterranean climates, others are more tolerant.

The use of flowering trees in southern California has been promoted for many years and the results are now visible in the avenues of Erythrina caffra and Jacaranda, in commercial sites, and in the Civic Center, Los Angeles, California. Each home gardener can add to the beauty of the landscape by planting one or more flowering trees.

Flowering trees and shrubs are no more difficult to grow than non-flowering ones, and their bouquets offer double dividends. Flowering trees, in addition to their jewel-like beauty, may make beautiful shade and street trees. Some trees, such as the Jacaranda, spread carpets of color on the ground with their fallen petals. The small chore of removing them is a small price for their beauty. Proper placement will eliminate even this problem.

Tips for Growing Trees:

  1. Select the best species for the site; never plant a tender plant in cold areas, sun-loving plants in shade, or vice versa.
  2. Assure good drainage.
  3. Dig a hole considerably larger than the container. For a five-gallon-size plant, mix in one cup of bone meal in the bottom of the hole. Partly fill the hole with topsoil or a mixture of sandy soil and well-rotted compost, never manure.
  4. Tamp firmly so ground will not settle after planting.
  5. Soak the plant, allow to drain, then remove from can and plant at the same level as the surrounding ground. Fill the balance of the hole with soil mixture, firm down again, and water thoroughly.
  6. Keep a basin around the plant at a distance from the trunk. Never slope the basin so that the base of the plant is lower than the sur­rounding ground. To do so invites oak root fungus and other trouble.
  7. Deep-water by slow soaking the ground every week or two, depend­ing on weather, size of plant, and soil. Few deeper soakings are much better than frequent shallow waterings. A wilted plant may be revived, but a rotted root is dead!
  8. Fertilize only as needed. Many plants from Australia and South Africa resent overfertilizing. Original bone meal usually suffices for first year or longer.
  9. Prune for shaping and to remove dead wood. Flowering plants should be pruned after flowering unless fruit is also showy, never just before their blooming season.

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