Ceiba speciosa, the Silk Floss Tree, is native to North-Eastern Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Southern Brazil. A spectacular large and fast-growing tree with very tropical-looking palmate foliage and an extraordinary bulbous green trunk studded with large triangular-shaped thorns, Ceiba speciosa is a remarkable plant. Mature specimens have extremely beautiful pink and cream lily-like flowers which are borne in great profusion and are followed by large woody pods that split open to release the long white flossy hairs of kapok.
Cold tolerant and capable of coping with a few degrees of frost when older, it can not really be considered hardy in the UK. Unless you live in the South-West in a favoured coastal location with an ideal microclimate and are very adventurous and maybe just a little mad, it is probably best to grow this plant in a large container and move it into shelter during the winter. It is drought tolerant and as a container-grown plant it will cope with a certain amount of neglect between waterings. Ceiba speciosa is one of those plants that is so special and so tantalisingly out of reach in terms of growing it outdoors that it makes one wish you could tow Great Britain a few hundred miles south, where - free from the limitations of frost and snow - it could grow into the magnificient tree it is. But, dreams aside, it does excel as a container plant and can be pruned as necessary. The roots too, should be pruned with any new repotting.
These are fantastic plants and an incredible bargain - already over 1.4m high !!
|Geographical Origin||North-Eastern Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Southern Brazil|
|Cultivation||Full sun. Moderate water. Grow in large container and bring in under cover in winter|
|Eventual Height||A large tree when in the ground, growing to 15m. Much smaller in container|
|Eventual Spread||9m as tree. Prune to size in container|
|Hardiness||Will take a few degrees of light frost - mature trees may survive for very short periods down to -7C with damage; in other words, it isn't hardy in the UK|
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