Delonix Regia or Royal Poinciana

Discussion in 'Indoor and Greenhouse Plants' started by Nath, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. Nath

    Nath Active Member

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    Does anybody have any information on how much cold weather these trees will tolerate please? I have some seeds that I want to try out and know that from what I have read and seen that they can grow very quickly and very quite tall too. I want to start my seeds of but am just wondering what to do for the best as I'm happy to keep them in the conservatory for a while, but I guess that they will quickly out grow it especially with the spread that they have. I would love to have a couple in my garden but am just worried that they won't toelerate the UK's cold and damp winters.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Nath
     
  2. Chungii V

    Chungii V Active Member

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    Depends on how cold. They do well in cool temperate regions but I don't know about snow. Here they loose leaf and flower and reshoot all in about a month or two but we don't have real seasons.
    They are very quick growers from a young age and it's best to keep re-potting them regularly. Fertilse in spring and prune to promote a single leader to the height you want them to have their canopy at.
     
  3. bertoli55

    bertoli55 Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi, I have a bonsai Delonix regia which I grew from seed. It is about 20 years old and is grown outdoors. Our winters are mild by UK standards - July is our coldest month and the mean minimum is 9C - but still it is cold enough for my tree to lose it's leaves for about three months and it hasn't flowered yet.
    I'm not sure how they grow in your area but here one in the ground would quickly cover a whole yard, in the right conditions they are massive trees.
    ciao bertoli
     
  4. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Nath, if you have summer at all they will get huge... Just a warning. I'm not sure if they'll survive a Nottingham winter outdoors, but since you have a conservatory I don't think you'll have any problems.
     
  5. bertoli55

    bertoli55 Active Member 10 Years

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    Even as bonsais they are tricky to contain. I should have mentioned that mine hasn't flowered because I'm always pruning it to keep it at a manageable size.
     

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  6. Chungii V

    Chungii V Active Member

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    Nice plant Bertoli, Now Nath, imagine an tiny ant under that and you'll get an idea of a scaled down version of what a person would look like against a fully grown specimen.
     
  7. Nath

    Nath Active Member

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    Thanks guys for all your info. I had heard that they grow very quickly. These days winters here are quite mild and we see minimums of around minus 1 to 3. I have experimented with so many tropical plants that I would have expected to die from the cold and they are growing nicely my Savila's (Aloe's) have survived 2 winters to date and I have 6 different species of palm tree that are growing fine even my citrus trees are surviving, but I planted their root stocks under a foot of concrete where the frost can't get at them or too much wet, my worry is not so much the cold as the damp when winters are wet. I have plenty of room in the garden for Poinciana but I believe they prefer dry conditions such as we normally have in Mexico City or in the Canaries where we saw them growing in abundance. The only two places I have seen them growing actually, I've never seen them in mainland Spain. I had 20 seeds in my pod so I will experiment and sow 6 and see how many come up and then see if I can't aclimatise them little by little over the course of 3 or 4 years. My only snag with the plan is I'm not quite sure how quickly they grow spread and so don't quite know how long I could feasibly keep them in the conservatory for? Unless I try the bonsai method like Bertoli55. Chungii how much do yours grow a year??
     
  8. Chungii V

    Chungii V Active Member

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    In a pots at least 3-4 foot per season until hitting a decent size and slowing up a little. Keeping in mind a growing season here is about 9-10 months. They will hold up growth once they become root bound and seem to somewhat stay at a slowed state.
    The seedling grow quiet quickly too. We did a small trial at work with planting seed one time by doing different treatments. The best was simply to add water crystals to the mix and keep it moist. We tried plain, soaking, scarifying, and mixes with and without water crystals.
    As for weather we get generally good rainfall (but it's not all that reliable). I think they do better in well drained soils and do well with water but I don't know how they'll cope with wet winters when they are in their dormant period, I guess if you can provide good drainage so it won't sit in water.
    If you intend to keep it in a pot that should be okay but you'll not get the full effect for a few years and you'd have to occasionally root prune and repot once you get it to a size pot you like.
    I have grown them in up to 80L bags which are a decent size and grew 10 foot + plants. Just keep in mind that being in a pot the roots are actually given more exposure to the air temperatures.
     
  9. Chungii V

    Chungii V Active Member

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    Forgot to mention they like to have lots of light and a good fertilising when they are growing. Strike the the seed in a semi-shade position until they are big enough to pot up.
     
  10. Nath

    Nath Active Member

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    Well I have to report that after just one week, one of my seeds has sprouted and is already over half an inch high. I'm amazed as my first experiment was to plonk 6 of the seeds stright into compost in a pot and sit it on top of the boiler in the bathroom, no soaking or scarifying and already I have the first one growing. Maybe its because they are fresh out of a fallen seed pod and havent had time to harden yet, I can't say but I didnt expect immeditae results. I'll let you know how they carry on.
     
  11. Nath

    Nath Active Member

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    Sorry that should have said immediate results. Must be this rather nice red wine I'm enjoying.
     
  12. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Congratulations! I'm sure the nice red wine is in order.
     
  13. Nath

    Nath Active Member

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    It certainly was yesterday thanks. I must say I'm surprised at how quick my seedling is growing, theres nothing from the other 5 seeds yet but this one seems to be growing for the other 5 seeds as well right before my eyes. Is that usual or will it slow down once it gets established in its pot?
     
  14. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    I would expect it will slow down once it begins to be rootbound, but not before that. Certainly, here when seedlings are growing it's kind of overnight from seed to sapling.
     
  15. aesir22

    aesir22 Active Member

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    Hi everyone,

    How glad am I that I found this thread! It is currently active, about the subject I want, started by a member who lives only a little further south than me :D

    I too have been growing royal poinciana. I clipped the end off the seeds, put them in the heated propagator and waited. That was on Saturday. Below is the pic of the seedlings at four days old. They are pretty quick aren't they! I'm used to citrus lol which don't grow this fast.

    My questions, if anyone could please help, are:

    1. How long should they stay in this propagator? (am worried at the roots getting constricted at the bottom)

    2. I planned to put them in pots, then sit them in the propagator to keep soil temps a little higher and humidity good...is this an alright plan?

    3. What size pots should I use? I am used to citrus that like to be a little rootbound lol

    4. What kind of potting mix would they do best in?

    5. I have heard conflicting views on watering and fertilizing. What would be best for this tree in a container?

    I'm really excited about these, they really are beautiful trees!

    Thanks in advance for any help offered.
     

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  16. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    1. They should come out at the 4-leaf stage, at which point they will have sufficient root to sustain them in pots.
    2. Great idea. My observation is that these things grow best in our coastal and jungle environments, which are high-heat and high-humidity.
    3. Start them off smaller, as you would for a citrus, and change pots when the growth rate slows. Rootbound-ness will restrict and over time stunt the growth of a Poincianna.
    4. Something with very good drainage. 1/2 compost with 1/4 coir or peat and 1/4 sterile sand would do the trick, and so would cactus mix.
    5. Water it when it gets dry to about 1" down, fertilize in the summer with a balanced mix to promote growth, and once the tree is a few years old, a higher-nitrogen mix to promote flowering. Only fertilize in the summer. If the tree seems to want to go dormant in the wintertime, drop your watering schedule a bit.

    Poinciana are almost foolproof trees, they just grow very very fast and will eventually fill whatever room you have them in. Be ye warned.
     
  17. aesir22

    aesir22 Active Member

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    Thanks for the quick reply there :)

    They have one set of leaves - the embryo ones I assume, and are opening another set on one of the seedlings. Maybe two sets lol. They will probably be taller than me by the time I come home :) They are indoors at the moment because winters get cold here. I was thinking of introducing it to the conservatory in the winters to avoid the freezes. It gets cool in there, but not freezing.

    When you say 4-leaf size, do you mean 4 leaves in total or four TRUE leaves?

    I use kitty litter for my citrus (made out of fired clay, same as turface to my knowledge) Would a mix of 50/50 compost to kitty litter be suitable? I presume the compost should be peat-free?

    The watering will be easy enough - not too different from citrus - perhaps the poinciana needs slightly more water retention. And only feed in summer, not a regular monthly, water soluble feed? Makes life easier :D
     
  18. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Four true leaves. Sorry, I forget that some people count the cotleydons; I never have.

    Poinciana grow in the absolutely cruddiest soils I have ever seen here, all sand and clay, and sometimes quite salty sand. So I wouldn't worry too much about weekly or montly feeding; they're very resilient plants. Your compost/kitty mix will probably work just fine.
     
  19. aesir22

    aesir22 Active Member

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    Lol cool. I usually speak in true leaf terms also. Sorry to ask another question, but am wondering over their temperature tolerance. I know they don't like the cold lol, but how low can they go? And would they fare ok in my conservatory in the colder months over here?

    I think they will need transplanting before the weekend :) Does the tap root need clipping or should I let it grow?
     
  20. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    They'll probably be fine in your conservatory; I can't grow them well in Quito, but that has more to do with altitude than it does with temperature. I have no idea what their bottom temp is, as I've never attempted to grow one outside of the tropics.

    Let the tap root go! If you clip it you can cause a host of problems for the tree later on down the road.
     
  21. aesir22

    aesir22 Active Member

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    Thanks for the responses lorax. Its off to work I go now unfortunately, will need to buy some pots while I'm there :)
     
  22. Nath

    Nath Active Member

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    Glad to see I'm not the only one in England crazy enough to grow these beautiful trees. My seedling is now 3 inches high in just a matter of days. I have started mine of in 8 inch pots so it shouldnt get root bound for a bit yet. I too am used to growing citrus but I like what I've seen of these so far, it grows right before your eyes. I have them on the boiler at night and then put them in a sunny window by day. So far I have only watered when the pot is getting a bit light telling me its time to add some water. When we go home to Mexico City this year for a month I am going to take some seeds to see how quickly they grow during the time we are there and then get the family to send me photo's and updates on how high and what spread they grow at in the heat of a Mexico summer, just as another experiment. aesir22 let me know how yours get on further north and if they can survive the Durham weather. Its a beautiful part of the country but the weather can be a bit bleak up there at times. In Nottm we seem to be in a little micro climate, it snows all around us but rarely at all here. When the rest of the country suffers floods we are usually dry its weird. Last year people at work kept telling me that it was raining down south and we had it dry and sunny. I guess thats why my palms and aloes are doing so well in the garden. My orange trees are going outside next year as last year when I was in Barcelona it was minus 6 and the orange trees were laden with fruit and not bothered by the cold at all. I am planning to plant them deep enough and then ecncase the roots under a 6 inch layer of concrete as that has worked with my Palms. Wether a Poinciana will stand the cold is another matter though.
     
  23. aesir22

    aesir22 Active Member

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    Just home from work. They have grown in the 8 hours I was away lol. And they need watering. I bought compost and pots for them today, they will need transplanting this weekend I think.

    I know what you mean about notts lol I always have meetings down there. You do have more sun than us! The citrus I have here are fine though, even though we are a very cloudy county lol. I know of some people who have citrus strong enough to brave the outdoors through winter, but not many. I don't think a royal poinciana would survive them by what I have read.

    Anyway, things to do, plants to water :)
     
  24. aesir22

    aesir22 Active Member

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    Still growing :) First set of true leaves established, next set are opening up. Am going to pot them up tomorrow after work - They are getting too tall for the propagator lol and the soil is too shallow for the roots - they are starting to slant to one side under their own weight lol
     
  25. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    If you do get a successful one, you could name it Yggdrasil.
     

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