Native to the wet tropics of Africa, the African tulip tree, or spathodea campanulata, thrives in moist, rich soils and is well known for its lush orange-red flowers and unique hanging fruit which resemble fat sausages. Fertilizer for the tulip tree should replicate the nutrient makeup of items that fall onto and decay on the tropical forest floor, including carbon-rich dried leaves and nitrogen-rich green leaves, fruits and flowers. For this reason, organic fertilizers, soil-boosting amendments and organic mulch are preferred for feeding.
Topdress the soil around your African tulip tree once or twice per year with organic fertilizers. Lay down a 1-2 inch thick layer of well-aged livestock manure and quality compost to create a nutrient-rich soil. Use a flexible tine rake to scratch it in to the soil surface and level the amendments.
Mulch around the base of the tulip tree with organic materials that will break down and release macro and micro nutrients into the soil year-round. Use leaf mold, shredded bark, sphagnum peat moss or cocoa bean hulls or another organic material. Lay down the mulch in an even layer at least an inch thick and replenish each year as the materials break down and meld into the soil.
Water in the soil amendments and mulch each well at application. Maintain evenly moist to wet soil for your African tulip tree, never allowing the surrounding soil to dry out.