Trochodendron aralioides, or Wheel Tree, is an evergreen tree native to the mountains of Japan to South Korea and Taiwan. In nature, the trees reach 60 feet (20 m) in height. The leathery, dark glossy green leaves are clustered at the tips of branches. Leaves are obovate to 5 inches (12.7 cm) long with serrated edges. They are very slow growers and they make outstanding container trees. Our plants, at a little over 5 years old, have attained a height of 5 feet (1.5 m). They are hardy in the landscape in USDA zones 6-8.
Blooming: Trochodendron aralioides blooms in late spring in the greenhouse. The small green petal-lacking flowers are about 0.5 inches (1 cm) across and not particularly showy.
Culture: Trochodendron aralioides need full sun to full shade with a moist well-drained soil. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 1 part loam to 2 parts sand or perlite. To this mix we add 14-14-14 Osmocote slow release fertilizer to each 0.01 cu yards of soil mix. The plants will tolerate wet soils, but cannot take any amount of drought. The plants in containers are kept moist at all times. We fertilize them monthly during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer. During the winter months, the plants are moved to the cool room to overwinter. The temperatures run at 48°F (9°C) during the nighttime hours. The plants are never allowed to dry thoroughly during the winter months.
Propagation: Trochodendron aralioides is propagated by cutting taken in spring or from seed.
Trochodendron aralioides was featured as Plant of the Week October 6-12, 2006.
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.