Bladder Tree, Koelreuteria paniculata - care and cutting

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The bubble tree or Koelreuteria paniculataas its botanical name is, is still a rarity as a garden plant. Due to its unusual growth and the balloon-shaped fruits, it is a beautiful eye-catcher, which does well with little care. If it is the right one!
Choose the correct location
The bladder tree prefers a sunny location, but is only partially heat resistant. The chosen place should therefore get a lot of light but at least be spared from the blazing sun. The walking shadow of a house or other trees is ideal. If there is no protection, direct shade should be provided, at least in young Koelreuteria paniculata. For example by fleece, jute or awning. Alternatively, young bladder trees can be cultivated in a bucket during the first few years and thus converted if necessary.
In the substrate, the bubble tree is extremely frugal. Barren, calcareous soils are optimal. They should be well drained and loosened to depth. A mixture of garden or Kübelerde and sand is already suitable. If you want to save initial fertilization, you can add compost to this combination.
The culture in the bucket
Depending on the species, the bladder tree can reach a height of up to eight meters. However, the plant grows slowly and can therefore be cultivated in the tub at least in the early years. However, the chosen vessel must be so large that the roots receive sufficient space.
If the Koelreuteria paniculata is cultivated in the bucket, the maintenance effort is slightly higher. Even then, the bladder tree is a sturdy plant that can largely be left to its own devices. Only watering and fertilizing occurs regularly during the warm months.
to water
Freely planted in the garden, the Koelreuteria paniculata quickly becomes a self-sufficient. Additional watering is therefore only necessary if the summer is very dry. Of course, the culture in the bucket looks different, it should always be watered when the top layer of the substrate has dried through. Normal tap water can be used as irrigation water because the bladder tree tolerates lime well.
Although the bubble tree is growing so slowly, it requires a relatively large amount of nutrients during the summer. However, this need should not be met by a gift. Instead, it is recommended to fertilize three to four times. And at a distance of six to eight weeks. This should start at the end of March or beginning of April. The last fertilization should not take place later than August or early September. If this appointment is missed, the nutrient should rather be omitted. Too many nutrients only lead to the fact that the bladder tree can not adjust in time to the resting phase in winter and thus becomes more susceptible to frost. Suitable agents are compost and mineral based inorganic fertilizers. It is especially recommendable to mix these directly with each other or to give them alternately. Then you have to water abundantly, so that the roots do not suffer burns.
To cut
The care once again benefits that Koelreuteria paniculata tends to grow slowly. Only 20 cm increase in height and about 15 cm in circumference are expected per year. The blend can therefore be kept within limits and must not be done every year. If the tree is to be blended, the spring, exact March or April should be chosen. It is favorable to proceed rather gently and restrained and to shorten the branches maximally by a quarter of the entire length. If you want to fully experience the natural shape of the bladder tree, you should only clear out dense areas. Then the Koelreuteria paniculata first takes a spherical shape. Later, the crown develops into a screen.
Hibernate outdoors
Bubble trees tolerate short-term temperature drops of -15° C, but take damage if this condition lasts longer. Cold protection is therefore strongly advised. And should involve the whole tree. In addition, abundant autumn leaves are accumulated in the area of ​​the flat-growing roots. An overlay of straw, brushwood and mats or slats may follow. This layering makes sense, especially when the winter is very hard. The crown should be wrapped in garden fleece. Other substances are less recommended because they do not allow enough light and air to pass through. At least during the first years and with very old bladder trees, it is also useful to wrap the trunk of the bladder tree with jute strips. On the one hand, these provide protection against excessive sunshine, which can damage the bark, especially in winter. On the other hand, frost is kept away. Tip: Koelreuteria paniculata is at risk of late frost. First shoots freeze quite often. That's no concern, though.The bubble tree will quickly replace them, even without additional care.
Hibernate in the bucket
Bubble trees that are cultivated in the bucket should not overwinter outdoors. Although this is possible with sufficient protection but on the one hand very complicated and on the other hardly perform without damage to the plant. So it's better to spend the bubble tree inside. Here he should of course be frost-free, ideal are 5° C to 10° C. Warmer and Koelreuteria paniculata do not get into the necessary hibernation. Colder and the tree is frostbitten or completely absorbed. For this it is necessary to set the bucket bright. Although the foliage is thrown off, the plant still needs light. Occasional, economical casting is required.
Tip: The ideal time to bring the bubble tree indoors is at temperatures between 5° C and 10° C - around October. Outside, the bucket may migrate again when the last frost is over.
Worth knowing about the bubble tree soon
The bladder tree is a low-maintenance plant, which can convince above all by unique fruiting bodies, form and the luminous coloring in the autumn. Because the plant is also easy to clean, it is even suitable for beginners in plant care. It blooms in midsummer with bright yellow flowers that stand in up to 30 cm long panicles. From these flowers develop capsules with the seeds that look like lanterns.
Location and care

  • Koelreuteria thrives best in a sunny spot in the garden, where it is a bit sheltered from the wind.
  • In terms of soil conditions, it is quite undemanding and can handle well on nutrient-poor soil.
  • There it grows even better than on humus soils, so it is best not to be fertilized at all.
However, the lantern tree does not tolerate too dense soil, so in this case the soil should be made slightly more permeable with gravel or sand before planting. The need for water of the lantern tree is moderate, which is why it usually only needs to be poured in very hot summers and otherwise gets by with the rainwater. As a rule, he survives shorter periods of drought without damage.
To cut
  • The bladder tree has a round crown in the early years, which becomes umbrella-shaped in later years.
  • It can grow up to ten meters in the course of the years, but grows slowly with 10 to 20 cm.
  • However, a tree that has become too big over time can be cut back if necessary.
  • However, it should be noted that the more a tree is cut out, the more it expels.
  • Therefore, it is recommended to shorten the branches and twigs only a little to sustain the growth of the tree.
  • The lantern tree can withstand temperatures down to -15° C and therefore needs no protection against the cold in winter.
  • At a young age, however, the soil around the trunk should be covered with a layer of leaves or mulch.
  • The trunk is protected against excessive winter sun by wrapping with jute or other natural materials.
In a bucket, however, the roots of the tree are more at risk, so in this case, the bucket should be wrapped with an insulating material or overwinter the whole plant in a frost-free room. This room may be quiet dark, because the bladder tree throws off its leaves anyway in the fall and needs until the new budding in the spring only little light.

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