Seidenbaum, Albizia julibrissin - Breeding and Care - Is he hardy?

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silk tree

The silk tree Albizia julibrissin is also called silk acacia or sleep tree. This is mainly due to its curious foliage, which reminds a little of the Robinia. As night falls, its leaves fold, a fascinating spectacle that returns on a daily basis. The sleeping tree grows as a tree or large shrub and can reach heights of 3 - 8 m, depending on the growth habit. At least as spectacular and unique are his, already visible from afar flowers with their long, silky shiny stamens.


After flowering, which lasts approximately from June to August, Albizia julibrissin forms about 15 cm long, bean-like fruit pods containing the seeds. The are germinable with appropriate storage up to 5 years. For the cultivation of a sleep tree self-harvested seeds or seeds from the gardening trade can be used. Even starved seeds must be freed from the dry fruit pods. Even if sowing is possible all year round, the early spring, from about February, is the best time.
  • Soak seeds first overnight or 12 hours in lukewarm water
  • The Vorquellen should facilitate germination and accelerate
  • Then fill the culture container with commercially available seedling soil
  • Mix the soil with sand or perlite for better permeability
  • Now spread the seeds on it
  • Seeds of the silk tree are light germs, therefore only minimally cover with earth
  • Moisten the substrate and keep it evenly moist until germination
  • Cover with translucent foil or glass creates optimal germination conditions
  • Remove the cover daily for a short time to avoid mold growth
  • Now place until germination in a light and warm place without direct sunlight
With a constantly moist substrate and temperatures around 25 degrees, germination usually takes place within a few days. Once the young seedlings have some leaves, they can be separated. If they have reached a size of at least 20 cm, they can be planted to their final location.


The silk tree Albizia julibrissin is most comfortable in warm and partially shaded to sunny locations without heat accumulation, be it in the tub or planted out in the garden. A place in direct or blazing sun should be avoided, it causes heat stress in this extraordinary plant. If she is too dark, she loses her foliage. What you do not get, are cold north and east winds. The wood of this plant is relatively brittle and fragile, which could lead to problems, especially in stronger winds or storms. Consequently, a sheltered location is of particular importance.
When choosing a location, you should also consider the final height of a maximum of 10 m and the sweeping crown shape of the sleeping tree, especially if it is to be planted near a house wall. In our latitudes, the silk acacia is kept mainly in a bucket and overwintered frost-free. In particularly warm locations, such as wine-growing areas, it can also be permanently in the garden with appropriate protection or planted there.


The soil should be loose, well-drained, nutrient-rich and humic. Heavy soils would favor waterlogging, which the silk tree can not tolerate as well as soil dryness. The permeability can be reduced by mixing in coarse fractions, e.g. Improve gravel, chippings or lavagrush as well as humus or abundant sand.
Sandy-gravelly and humus-rich as well as moderately dry to fresh soils with neutral to slightly acidic pH are optimal for this wood. In addition, the silk acacia has a good liming tolerance.
For a position in the bucket, a high-quality container potting soil is recommended, which can store both water and nutrients well. For better drainage or permeability of the substrate, coarse-grained fractions can also be added here. For better structural stability, the addition of Kokohum has proven itself, which additionally optimizes the storage capacity.
Tip: Planting in slightly sandy soil can improve the hardiness of planted sleeping trees.


Even if the summer-green, exotic-looking Albizia julibrissin can be planted out in the garden in some regions, it should always be kept in the bucket due to the limited frost hardiness during the first few years.
  • Water the bale thoroughly before planting
  • For planting in the garden, first dig out a planting pit
  • It should be about twice as deep and about three times as wide as the root ball
  • Loosen soil at the bottom of the plant hole
  • Depending on the nature of the soil, insert appropriate drainage material
  • When planting the silk tree, use a support post
  • Support pile ensures a straight growth and facilitates growth
  • Water thoroughly after planting
  • When planting containers, pay attention to sufficiently large pots and drain holes
  • The size of the bucket should be that of the root ball
  • He should provide sufficient space for the roots and not restrict them
  • Put a drainage layer of coarse gravel on the bottom of the planter
  • Fill in part of the substrate and plant
  • Fill the pot with soil up to approx. 3 cm below the edge and water

silk tree

Specimens in the bucket are about every 2-3 years, or as soon as the pot is vigorously rooted, in fresh substrate and a larger pot. It is completely sufficient if the new pot is about 3-5 cm in diameter larger than the old one. Even with a tub planting the attachment of a support is initially recommended. For example, this ornamental tree can unfold its full splendor in a bucket, as a solitary tree and a house tree or as interior greening in an unheated conservatory.

Care claims

Although the name Seidenbaum suggests otherwise, it has nothing to do with silk production. Its name refers more to the long, creamy-white, pink-colored stamens of elegant flowers that shine in the sun like precious silk. The tree or shrub belonging to the mimosa family is a bit more demanding in terms of care than most other ornamental shrubs. The main focus here is on the correct casting behavior and wintering.

to water

The water requirement of the silk acacia is relatively high. The soil should be constantly moderately moist throughout the growing season. Especially freshly planted trees or shrubs are watered regularly in the first weeks after planting, at best with rainwater. Considering the amount of natural rainfall, the soil should be deeply moistened about 2-3 times a week with an emphasis on 'deep'.
This applies to planted silk trees as well as potted plants, they also rely on a constant soil moisture. Container plants usually need to be watered daily in summer. If too little is poured, no water can penetrate to the lower roots, they die. However, not too much should be poured because too much wetness leads to root rot and also favors diseases and pest infestation.
Tip: On coasters and planters in potted plants should be avoided if possible, because they could favor the formation of root rot.


In contrast to the water requirement, the need for nutrients is rather low. A silk acacia planted in the garden is already satisfied with a thin layer of ripe compost in spring. The compost is distributed evenly on the root area. A special property of this plant enables them to provide themselves with nitrogen and to enrich the soil with it. This refers to a symbiosis with so-called nodule bacteria (nitrogen-binding bacteria), which enters the silk tree.
This natural fertilizer improves your resilience. When fertilizing potted plants, it is sufficient to administer a high-quality liquid fertilizer from April to September, about every two weeks.

To cut

Optically, the silk tree Albizia julibrissin is usually the most beautiful if it is not blended. Then the typical, umbrella-shaped overhanging crown, the luscious leaves and the graceful flowers are best shown. Nevertheless, thin and weak shoots, which mainly form in a housekeeping, can be cut out from time to time, which can then also serve to maintain the health of the plant.
Who wants to influence the shape targeted, or the tree has become too large, can cut it back without problem. If one cuts in or tilts young plants more often, that stimulates the growth. At the shortened shoot tips again many new shoots are formed, which in turn promotes the branching. Older, heavily hibernated plants can be cut back to the old wood if necessary. Best cutting time is in late winter, even before the new budding.


In the first years, silk trees should always be cultivated in a bucket and kept in a frost-free place, as they are only hardy for winter. Only with increasing age does the frostiness increase, so that they can then be planted out in the garden depending on the region and climate, where they can be overwintered with appropriate protection.
  • Once outside temperatures drop below 10 degrees, potted plants should enter the house
  • The move to a frost-free, cool and bright winter quarters is due
  • Temperatures during the winter at best about 8 degrees
  • During overwintering, this deciduous plant loses its entire foliage
  • Consequently, the hibernation can also be done a little darker
  • Supply silk tree with water even in winter
  • In doing so, pour significantly less and only sporadically
  • Root bales should never dry out completely
  • It is not fertilized in winter
Older trees and shrubs in the open air are hardy to minus 15 degrees and depending on the situation without protection.In younger specimens, the root area should be protected from frost by a cover with dry leaves and brushwood.
Tip: The stems of young sleeping trees should be shaded in the first years to protect against frost cracks in the bark with a fleece or conventional jute. Tear cracks occur especially when the plants are permanently exposed to the winter sun.

Multiply by cuttings

For an increase in summer you cut 10 - 15 cm long, not flowering, half lignified head drives and removes all leaves in the lower part. To accelerate the rooting, they are then inserted with the interface in a rooting hormone and then in small pots with moist Anzuchterde. The cover with a translucent plastic bag promotes a humid and warm microclimate necessary for rooting.

silk tree

Until rooting, keep the substrate slightly damp and place the pots in a light and warm place away from direct sunlight. Every now and then, the film must be removed and the whole thing ventilated to prevent mold growth and rot. If the first sprouting occurs, the rooting was successful and the cover can be removed. When the pots are completely rooted through, the young plantlets can be repotted.

Diseases and pests

root rot

As night falls, the silk acacia magically folds its leaves, a characteristic feature of this plant. However, if the nocturnal closing of the leaves is over, this can be an indication of root rot. It is usually accompanied by wilting symptoms of leaves and a musty smell near the ground. In most cases, the plant enters. Responsible for this is too much wetness.
Pot plants can be treated by immediate removal of water, loosening the substrate with gravel and treating with a suitable fungicide to combat root rot. If necessary, you can save smaller specimens by repotting them as quickly as possible, removing the rotten root parts and holding back with the casting.
In an advanced infestation, the affected plant is usually beyond saving. It is always best not to let it get that far by pouring as needed, avoiding highly compacted soils or improving them accordingly, and paying close attention to drainage in pot plants in potted plants.

Scale insects

An infestation with scale insects occurs especially during too warm hibernation at the same time to dry air. A louse attack can be recognized by the small brownish label, especially on the leaf axils. To combat the trade offers different preparations based on oil. Supportive you can wipe them with a cloth soaked in alcohol or a cotton swab or strip. In addition, natural enemies such as parasitic wasps and lacewings can be used, which like to eat this pest.
The silk acacia is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating and elegant ornamental shrubs. The leaves closing in the dark and the filigree blossoms are a real natural spectacle, which inevitably casts a spell on viewers. Although the cultivation and husbandry of this extraordinary plant are not easy, it is worth every effort, and thanks with its unique appearance.

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