Chorisia speciosa or Floss-Silk Tree is a deciduous tree native to Argentina and Brazil. In nature, the tree will reach about 50 feet (15 m) tall with a spread of about 30 feet (9 m). Trees in container will be much smaller. The light green palmately compound leaf with lanceolate leaflets will reach 5 inches (12.7 cm) long. Trunks are initially green turning grey with age, and have very stout short irregularly placed spines. They are of easy culture and make outstanding container trees. Their size is easily controlled by container size and selective pruning. They are hardy in the landscape in USDA zones 9-10.
Blooming: Trees bloom in the greenhouse in early to late spring. The 3 inch pink flowers open before the leaves show. The flowers are very showy.
Culture: Chorisia speciosa need full sun to partial shade, with a well drained soil mix. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 1 part peat moss to 2 parts loam to 2 parts coarse sand. The plants are well watered and allowed to dry before watering again. We fertilize the trees monthly during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer. The trees are fairly fast growers and care should be taken to keep them within bounds in container. During the winter months, the trees are kept at 48°F (9°C) and allowed to lose their leaves. During this period, we water the trees only once a month until new growth starts in the spring. During this period, we prune and re-pot the trees to keep them inbounds.
Propagation: Chorisia speciosa is propagated by seed. Seed will germinate in 21-30 days at 70°F (21° C). I have not had any luck with getting cuttings to root.
Chorisia speciosa was featured as Plant of the Week March 21-27, 2008.
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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. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.