How to Propagate Silk Tree Seeds
Silk tree trees, also know by their scientific name, Albizia julibrissin, are elegant additions to a garden. Often grown near homes as ornamentals, the tree canopy provides a light and breezy appearance, and diffused shading. The tree also produces bright pink, puff-ball flowers that are quite fragrant. Growing a silk tree from seed is relatively easy with a little preparation for the seeds.
Starting Your Silk Tree Seeds
Prepare a soil mixture by combining equal amounts of sand and potting soil.
Cut the drinking cups to about 3 inches tall and punch holes in the bottom for drainage. Fill the cups with the soil.
Obtain silk tree seeds from a seed pod of a parent tree and split open the pod to ensure that the seeds are free of damage or disease. Dispose of the empty pod. The seeds will be bean-like, brown and hard. Seeds also can be purchased at most garden centers or seed companies.
Place the seeds in almost boiling water in a bowl and submerge them in the water. Leave the seeds overnight to scarify and improve the chance of germination.
Plant the freshly treated seeds by placing one seed approximately 1 inch deep in each cup. Cover the seed with the soil mixture and water lightly. Repeat this for as many seeds as you want.
Place each cup into a medium-size, zip-top plastic bag and place it in warm place to encourage gernination. Keep the soil damp but not wet.
Check the silk tree seeds for signs of growth after about two or three weeks. After the seedlings have three to four leaves on them, transplant each seedling to a larger pot.
Sow Silk Tree Seeds
Gather silk tree seeds in fall and store them in cool, dry conditions until the following spring. Sow them in mid to late spring once outdoor temperatures warm to 70 degrees Fahrenheit and all frost danger has passed. Gently rub one side of a seed with a fine rasp until the light brown outer coat thins and takes on a whitish appearance. Do not scarify the seeds too deeply because this will kill them. Heat water on the stovetop and remove it when it begins to boil. Drain the silk tree seeds on a sheet of paper towel. Prepare planting containers while they drain. Poke a 1-inch-deep hole in the center of the compost mixture. Place one seed in the hole and loosely cover it with additional compost. Do not firm the growing media.
- Disposable drinking cups
- Medium-size zip-top plastic bags
- Potting soil
- Albizia Julibrissin
- Propagation of Albizia Julibrissin
- Washington State University Clark County Extension: Silk Tree
- Fine Gardening: Albizia Julibrissin
- The Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University: Propagation of Albizia Julibrissin
- United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service: Albizia Julibrissin