Baobab tree as a houseplant - cultivation and care

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Baobab tree as a houseplant - cultivation and care: cultivation

The African baobab tree is still relatively rare as a houseplant, which is difficult to understand: The German gardeners love the "most exotic exotics" usually the most, and the Baobab tree is in this regard in any case ahead. Moreover, he remains so far away from home so easy to maintain that he would have to be a bestseller. Exactly here is the puzzle solution, baobab trees are hard to buy and the cultivation of plants is not for everyone. In this special case, however, really worth a try, and the baobab tree also pleasing uncomplicated:

Profile: Baobab

  • Mallow family, subfamily of the cotton family (like Kapok and Balsa trees)
  • Home mainly in the African tree savannah
  • Characteristic tree of the African landscape
  • With heights around 20 m, but stays much smaller in our cool climate
  • Can therefore be cultivated with us as a container plant
  • Stores water in the trunk to weather the dry season
  • Therefore, it rarely needs to be watered and otherwise it does not require much care
  • For an exotic in the German household surprisingly frugal and robust
  • The chic potted plant grows up to 2 meters high
  • However, must be dressed, since barely traded


Monkey bread trees are easy to grow from seeds, and even unusually high germination rates should be achieved. But only if you treat the seed and seedling properly:
  • Baobab seed can be found on the internet in quite a large selection
  • The seed has no seasonal dormancy
  • So he does not have to be stratified, the breeding can still be started at any time
  • Purchased seeds in cultivation soil give an average germination rate of 20%
  • Air upward, the following treatment increases the germination capacity:
  • Pour seeds with hot water and soak for 24 hours
  • Meanwhile, buy and prepare potting soil
  • Planting soil: Nutrient-poor soil, as seeds in the seed coat have their nutrients with them
  • Especially important for exotics who can not do anything with our soil organisms
  • In addition, good air permeable, because the seeds need to germinate oxygen
  • These requirements are met by various commercially available cultivators with or without coconut fiber
  • After soaking, the seeds can be seeded in the soil
  • The just before was well and evenly moistened
  • Distribute seeds evenly over the surface
  • You need oxygen, light and moisture to germinate
  • All this gets the seed when it is placed about 1 cm in the soil
  • Covering the culture vessel with transparent foil or glass increases the humidity
  • "Professional" room greenhouses have a lid to fold
  • Keep the soil moist, but not wet
  • Place the pots in a bright place with temperatures between 23° and 27° C
  • Ventilate at least every 3 days so that no mold forms on the ground
  • After 3 to 7 weeks, the seeds should germinate
  • This is followed by 4 to 6 weeks of rooting (little happens above ground)
  • When it starts to grow up, the seedling has made enough roots
  • The next 6 weeks no direct summer sun exposed
  • Carefully peck (6 - 8 weeks after sprouting)
  • In a mixture of 2 parts soil, 1 part loam (clay powder), 1 part coarse sand
  • very careful, young roots are more sensitive than the "princess on the pea"
All in all, it will take you about a quarter of a year to grow little monkey bread trees that can move to their first single pots.
Tip: Buy better? The search for baobab plants could take longer than the rearing of the seeds. The mass trade has not yet discovered the plant, in barter exchanges are very rarely offered baobab plants. The frequently helpful classified ad market is also not an option here: a test search yielded 122 results, 120 money trees (Crassula ovata, is actually also known as Baobab tree), a fat hen (Sedum sp.) And an echeveria (thick-leafed Echeveria); from the real baobab to see no more than seeds and scented candles. Cuttings can be raised a little easier and faster.

Seedlings tuning

If the seedling is a young plant in the single pot, you can actively help the monkey bread tree to the optimal Africa design.
With the baobab tree you invite a tree personality into your home, which is highly appreciated in Africa: The baobab is the pharmacist tree in Senegal, the local name comes from the Arabic word bu-hubub = pills. He sends all the pieces against all sorts of diseases, and the fruits are very healthy (they also make a career with us because they contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals in large numbers). For the Senegal, the baobab is so important that it shares with the Senegalese lion the place on the state coat of arms.
This tree assumes a typical growth form in Africa, this growth form stands for authentic Africa flair. Based on the coat of arms tree, you can already guess what is meant by "authentic growth form in Africa design": A wide-spreading crown of thick, creatively twirling branches in the air. Leaving the leaves dry in the dry season, the branch-crown then looks very much like a root sticking out of the ground - "a tree planted the wrong way around by the devil" (local myth).

Baobab monkey bread tree

Especially when your little baobab tree thrives really well, it tends in our latitudes, "to go past this form" in the direction of a long thin trunk with a few leaves that would nudge the ceiling in the near future. Because this would probably not look so good with a thicker trunk, experienced baobab and African fans force their young plants from the beginning to the junction.
Otherwise, the young plants are maintained as described the same, except that the soil should be kept permanently moist.


- everything at a glance -

Pot and substrate

As a plant pot, the good old clay pot is often accepted because it has a moisture-balancing effect. Can monkey bread trees often make good use of us: Their homeland "African tree savanna" is almost a desert in which a plant must thirst regularly, but certainly never stands in the wet; probably the most common care mistake of the local gardener is the "dead casting" of the plants from too much care.
The pot may have a narrow shape with a fairly deep depth because the baobab tree develops a carrot-like root of beet (only slightly longer at some point). For such a pot you may need a little more substrate, but the root can develop nicely freely. In addition, you rarely need to water, the depth remains moist for a long time and the surface dries quickly, all of which prevents rot.
A bit of desert should also remind the substrate:
  • not super nutritious
  • the better water permeable
  • like a unit earth with 2/3 sand or perlite
  • or cactus soil that is ready to buy
The baobab tree is replanted as needed and available space: every year a larger vessel grows roots and plants, as small pots as possible restrict growth a little. But if the roots break the pot, you'll need to repot; which is also possible in the same pot, but the plant gets new soil and root care.
Tip: In our world of consumption, each product is offered in 1001 variants, only the original (working, inexpensive) original product is hard to find. So it is with the simple clay pot, the small flower shop around the corner still has it; the garden center no longer necessarily if the competitor in China could present a better offer (not sealed for the plant). If you need a few pots, it is worth asking a flower pot manufacturer who has the simple pots in your area.


The tropical belt therefore has a tropical climate because equatorial sun shines almost vertically. With us, the sun shines weaker, the window panes also swallow light: The baobab tree stands well in the brightest and warmest place that you have to offer.
In the summer, the baobab should be used to recharge your batteries outdoors, in a dry, warm, rain-free place, and in the full sun (young plants gradually get used to the sun).
In winter, the baobab tree is maintained as the rest of the time in the house; more "limited supply" (because of rest phase) is not conceivable anyway. Only with the irrigation you have to pay even more attention now - if the baobab tree throws its leaves in the winter because of lack of light, he will drive out late in the spring and needs until then at most every four weeks little water.

Pouring and fertilizing

The savannah plant stores water at the natural site in the trunk when the rare rain falls. The trunk is composed of many sponge-like fibers that absorb the water and release it when needed, the pronounced root system also stores some moisture. The whole plant is therefore more likely to be undersupplied than over-supplied with water and should therefore be poured rather conservatively during the growing season.
How much water the baobab gets per irrigation depends on the location and the ambient temperature, the warmer (lighter), the thirstier. Pour once enough until the soil is well moistened and then again after a long watering break. If the surface of the earth at the top of the pot feels completely dry, you can still wait two or three days for the next irrigation with a deep pot. Usually leads to a casting rhythm with several weeks and the fact that the baobab is the perfect plant for traveling people.
When watering, you should be careful to remove runny water in the coaster; Waterlogging can seriously get the desert plant into trouble.Excessive supply is indicated by the fact that the trunk is getting thicker and still feels quite soft some time after watering. Then you should water less, until the trunk feels very hard again (the newly formed cells are mature), the baobab needs to drought periods.
The limit of scarce irrigation is reached when the baobab tree throws leaves in summer. Not a bad sign in itself; They have watered as gently as at the natural site, where the baobab often throws off the leaves as protection against evaporation. It just does not look that great on younger plants, but it does change pretty quickly with the young plants (a little more water for a short time, and they sprout again) and just does them good because they form many important fine roots during the survival fight.
Fertilizer actually does not need a baobab, its home soil is one of the nutrient-poorest soils in the world. Accordingly, "no fertilizer needed" is also usually the guide when you buy baobab seeds or seedlings from non-profit African organizations. When you buy from seed traders, they almost always recommend fertilizer feeds in the growth phase, once a month using low-nitrogen, potassium-rich foliage (cactus) fertilizers. However, if you then look at what concentration is recommended - both are right again; 1 gram per liter of water is 0.1 percent and almost "no fertilizer". Just make it dependent on how many nutrients the substrate you use contains (normal unit of flower usually more than cactus) and how long the baobab tree already grows in this soil and uses up nutrients. In the leafless state, a baobab should never be "faced with fertilizer".
Tip: After a few years of good care, monkey bread trees can develop their distinctive creamy-white flowers. Since these are quite large and the training costs the plant a lot of strength, you should support the baobab tree with a little flowering fertilizer, as soon as you notice flower buds. If your baobab denies the development of flowers, but that should also be no cause for annoyance, because the smell (stench?) Of the flowers is described as getting used to.

Cutting and multiplying

You do not have to prune baobab trees, but you can continue to artfully shape the crown as described in "Young Plants Tuning" and, of course, trim all shoots that grow weak, sickly, overly and / or in the wrong direction.
You can then use the healthy part of these shoots to attract more baobabs. The cuttings are placed in water at the bottom until roots form (may take days to weeks, because of mold danger, the water must be changed regularly) and can then be potted. Now it takes again days to weeks until the leaves expel again, during this time the earth must not dry out. When the baobab cutting begins to grow in the upper area, it is cared for like the big baobab tree.

Video Board: Growing baobab (time lapse video for first 6 weeks of adansonia tree).

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