Plant of the Week: Leucaena leucocephala
White Popinac

Leucaena leucocephala

Leucaena leucoccephala is an evergreen shrub or small tree. It has been widely planted in the tropics for fodder and firewood. It is quickly becoming a nuisance tree out competing many native species. It is a native of Central America.

Blooming Time: Summer. Flowers are globose, pedunculate heads to 1 inch across.

Culture: Leucaena leucocephala need full sun and intermediate to warm temperatures. They are very fast growers (3 to 4 feet a year). Pot size and selective pruning can control their size. Ours at the greenhouse is in a 2-gallon pot and is only 6 feet tall at 8 years. We use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts loam to 1 part peat moss to 1 part sand. The soil needs to be kept moist at all times. We fertilize once during the year using a balanced fertilizer. Pruning is done in late winter.

Propagation: Leucaena leucocephala is easily propagated from seed.. Seeds need to be scarified or treated with boiling water. Pour boiling water over seeds and let them stand for 48 hours or until the seeds have imbibed water. Germination occurs in 7-14 days at 70° F.

Leucaena leucocephala was featured as Plant of the Week October 20-26, 2000.

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Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2017 All rights reserved.