Abroma augusta, or Devil's Cotton, is an evergreen tree native from Asia to Australia. They will reach 10 feet (2.5 m) in height with very little spread. The leaves will reach 8 inches (20 cm) across and are 3-5 lobed with very distinct palmate veins. The leaves and stems are covered with soft bristly hairs that are very irritating to the touch. The bark yields a jute-like fiber.
Blooming Time: In the greenhouse, plants bloom from late spring to early summer. Dark maroon flowers are formed in terminal panicles. Individual flowers are up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) across.
Culture: Abroma augusta need full sun to partial shade with a rich well-drained soil mix. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 1 part loam to 2 parts sand or perlite. Plants are watered, then allowed to dry slightly before watering again. They are fertilized weekly during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer. They are very fast growing, so repotting should be done when they outgrow their containers. Care should be taken when repotting because of the irritating hairs. Wrapping newspaper around the trunk helps to prevent exposure to the hairs. During the winter months, water should be somewhat restricted, but not to a point where the plant loses its leaves.
Propagation: Abroma augusta is propagated from seed. Seed germinate in 21-30 days at 72° F (24°C).
Abroma augusta was featured as Plant of the Week May 28-June 3, 2004.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
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. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.