Gigantic, exotic and gargantuan, baobab tree is special. Learn how to grow a baobab tree as growing baobab tree is not that difficult if you understand the basics. You can also make a baobab bonsai, it looks superb.
What is a Baobab Tree?
Baobab is a low maintenance tree and regarded as world’s largest succulent. It can also be grown in pot, baobab bonsai is famous and is particularly well suited for beginners and if you have a large backyard, you can grow it outside. The baobab tree flourishes on poor soils, tolerates heat and has the ability to store large amounts of water, to survive in drought.
USDA Zones: 10 – 12, can be grown in other zones in pots with care in winter
Other Names: Adansonia (scientific name), boab, boaboa, tabaldi, bottle tree, upside-down tree, and monkey bread tree.
Height: up to 30 meters
Bloom Color: White
Even gardeners without green fingers can make it with a little patience, to multiply the baobab tree. This is done in two ways:
Growing Baobab from Seed
Before sowing, the Baobab seeds needs soaking at room temperature. For this, soak the seeds for one day in warm water. After that, scarify the baobab seeds on sandpaper to expose their inner white layer.
Dry seeds indoors for a day before planting. The germination rate of baobab seeds is low, so sow 3 times more seeds than required.
Sow baobab seeds 1 to 2 inch deep and keep the soil temperature above at least 15 degrees Celsius. It is important to keep soil evenly moist, but not kept wet.
Once the roots are formed, baobab can be planted into individual pots or on the grounds. The pot you use should have a minimum diameter of seven centimeters.
The germination of baobab seeds is sporadic, their germination can take anywhere from a week to a month. The cultivation of baobab from seed requires some patience. Because in some cases, the germination can take several months.
Propagation from cuttings
Baobab tree can also be grown from cutting. For this, take cutting in spring from the tree. The cuttings should have at least three leaves.
After taking a cutting, let it dry for a few days to reduce the chances of fungal attacks and stem rot. After that, plant the cutting in soil mixture of sand and peat.
Location and Soil
Growing baobab tree requires at least 6 hours of direct sunlight, it appreciates as much sun as given. If baobab receives too little daylight, it grows slowly and spindly and leaves turns yellow.
In order to create the optimum soil conditions for the baobab, soil must have good drainage and should be sandy. To make baobab soil at home, mix 3 parts of compost, 2 parts of sand in 1 part soil.
However, best to buy premixed cactus soil. This allows better aeration of the soil and prevents the roots rot.
Watering and fertilizing
Watering requirement of baobab is moderate to low as it is native to arid areas of Africa and it should be done carefully. If you’re growing baobab in container, choose one with good drainage holes, so that the excess water can seep out from bottom.
Overwatering should be avoided. Before watering the plant again, always check if the soil is dry. If it is moist, do not water. As baobab is very tolerant to droughts, do not water if unsure.
Mature baobab tree on ground does not need any fertilizer. Fertilize young and potted plant with liquid succulent fertilizer that is high in potassium and low in nitrogen every month.
Taking care of a baobab is simple. The sturdy exotic plant loves warm, sunny and bright location. Larger specimens survive longer drying sessions. Seedlings, on other hand need more water and should be kept moderately moist. Baobab tree if grown successfully, rewards you not only with its ornamental thick trunk and rich green leaves, but also with large white flowers and edible fruits.
Knowing how to grow a baobab tree is not as difficult as overwintering it especially if you’re living in extremely cold climate. You’ll need to do a lot of care to overwinter it.
Place it indoors, in a bright and warm position near a windowsill. Try to keep temperature around 10 C, lower than this will stunt baobab.
In winter, baobab tree drops its leaves and goes to dormancy. During this time water sparingly, watering in winter can cause root rot.
Also stop to fertilize. In the spring, place it back at its usual location. Resume watering when buds begin to swell.
If you are growing baobab trees in pot, repotting is necessary. The growth of baobab roots is very strong. Therefore, the tree requires enough space to unfold. Repot baobab when plants seems root bound, roots starts to appear on upper surface.
The baobab tree can be pruned throughout the year except winter. It’s easy, simply remove the shoots, which are located under the main crown. If possible, make a cut near bud. So a new bud of the branch will be ensured.
In order to cut individual branches summer is the ideal time.
Diseases, pests and other problems
Some common pests that attracts on baobab tree are mealybugs, spider mites and fungus gnats.
Baobab Tree Facts and Adaptations
It has strong branches, impressive trunk and fleshy leaves.
Baobab tree forms large white flowers after a few years of growing, it also produces fruits that taste well and provide energy.
Fruits are rich in calcium and slightly acidic.
Baobab tree is drought tolerant and has the ability to store large amounts of water in its trunk and roots.
It is forgiving, robust and low-maintenance plant.
Baobab tree is a long living tree, it can live up to 1000 of years.