Delonix Regia Flamboyant Tree
The Flamboyant , also known as the Flame Tree, is one of the most popular tropical trees. Its cup aparasolada and its incredibly beautiful flowers, make it a plant much desired by all, whether or not we have a garden.
In the tropics you can find it in streets, parks, avenues, … in short, everywhere. Unfortunately, due to its sensitivity to the cold, those of us who live in areas with cool climates must settle for seeing it only in photos, or maybe not? Regardless of where you live, after reading this special article you will know what care you need, how to reproduce it, and much more.
Before entering into the subject, do you want us to know how is this magnificent tree? This way it will be easier to distinguish … although, it is true, the difficult thing is precisely not to recognize it. But it does not hurt to know how it is so that the place we choose to plant it, is the most appropriate. Let us begin:
The flamboyant, whose scientific name is Delonix regia , is a tree belonging to the family Fabaceae and subfamily Caesalpinioideae. With a life expectancy of 60 years , it is originally from Madagascar, where it is in danger of extinction due to loss of habitat. It has a rapid growth rate – if the conditions are favorable, it can do so at a rate of 50cm / year – until it reaches 12m in height, with an aparasolada cup of 5-6m in diameter. Its leaves are perennial, semi-perennial or deciduous depending on the climatic and cultivation conditions:
- Expires: our tree will lose leaves during autumn-winter in cold climates if the minimum temperature is below 5ºC, or in the dry season.
- Semiperenne: the flamboyan will partially lose its leaves if the minimum temperature stays around 10ºC and the maximum does not rise more than 18ºC.
- Perennial: if the climate is warm, with temperatures between 10 and 30-35ºC, and the rainfall regime of the place is sufficient for the tree to survive, as it would be in humid tropical climates, the flamboyán will always have leaves. Of course, you have to know that you will lose the oldest throughout the year, as they are leaving new.
The flowers, without a doubt, their main attraction, are large. They have four petals up to 8cm in length , and a fifth petal called banner, longer and stained yellow and white. The color we could say is red, and indeed, the type species ( Delonix regia ) has red, but there is a variety, the Delonix regia var. Flavida , which has a spectacular yellow-orange color. Sprout from the tree in spring,when the specimen has reached 5-6 years of age and, if there is luck and they are pollinated, they will soon begin to mature the fruits, which are pods that, when mature, are woody, dark brown and up to 60cm long 5cm wide. In its interior we will find the seeds, which are elongated, of 1cm of length more or less, and very hard.
The trunk has a smooth, grayish-brown bark from a young age. The roots are very invasive , so special care must be taken to plant it near pipes, floors, or any construction. The ideal is to put it at a minimum distance of 10m from the mentioned places to avoid problems.
In addition, it must be said that it is an allelopathic plant . This is a word that may sound very strange to us when we read it or hear it for the first time, but in reality it has a meaning that is easy to remember: allelopathic plants are those that do not allow practically any other grass to grow under their shade , as our protagonist, but also the Mediterranean fig trees ( Ficus carica ) or the eucalyptus, among others.
Applications of Flamboyan Tree Or Delonix Regia
The flamboyant tree or Delonix regia is used mainly as an ornamental plant in warm climates, as an isolated example to be able to contemplate it in all its splendor and enjoy its shade; You can also work as bonsai . However, in the Caribbean mature pods (with their seeds) are used as percussion instruments known as shak-shak, which is also known by the Spanish would be maracas. In Colombia, on the other hand, they are used to feed livestock .
Properties of flamboyant tree or Delonix regia
This is a tree that has interesting medicinal properties. In fact, it is used to relieve rheumatic pain, symptoms of respiratory problems and asthma . To benefit from them you can macerate the bark to later apply it on the painful area, or cook the flowers and then drink them as if it were an infusion.
How to reproduce the flamboyant tree or Delonix Regia
Would you like to have a beautiful tree in your garden? Take note:
The flamboyán reproduces in three ways: by cutting, by seed and by aerial layering .
Reproduction by cutting
The method of cutting is the fastest, since it will allow us to have an already grown specimen in a matter of a few months. To do so, you must wait until the fall, and follow these steps:
- Choose a thick semi-woody branch , at least 1cm in diameter, and measure 40-50cm long.
- Now, make a bevel cut (that is, slightly tilted outwards), and seal the wound on the tree – not the cutting – with healing paste.
- Moisten the base of the cutting with water, and imprégnalo of liquid rooting hormones , which you will find for sale in nurseries and gardening stores.
- Then, it is time to plant it in a pot with porous substrate , composed of 60% black peat and 40% perlite or coconut fiber. Perlite alone can also be used.
- Take a pinch of sulfur or copper -as if you spiced French fries- on the surface of the substrate. This will prevent fungi from damaging your cutting.
- Then give it a generous watering .
- Finally, it will be located in an area protected from the direct sun, and keep the substrate always slightly humid .
Reproduction by seeds
This is the method most used among fans ????. For this, you should of course obtain the seeds, preferably in the spring, that you will find on-line nurseries for sale or, if you live in a tropical climate, you can get them directly from the tree .
Once you have them, you have to proceed to scarify them . How? Very easy: with a sandpaper or, if at that time you do not have it, you can do it against the wall, or even with a piece of wood. You have to do a little pressure, and give several passes, but you have to be very careful not to overdo it. You will know that you will have finished when you see a dark brown color just at the point that has been most in contact with the stone or the sandpaper.
Now, they are placed in a glass with clean water , at room temperature, overnight. The next morning, you should see that the peculiar cover that covers them will have started to come off, an unequivocal sign that they have begun to germinate. In the event that this has not been the case, squeeze them a little – very little, 2 or 3 more passes – again, and put them back in a glass for one night. If all goes well, the germination process can continue in the nursery, which I recommend that it be a pot of at least 10-15cm in diameter and 6-8cm deep.
As substrate you can use black peat mixed with 30% perlite, but you can improve it by adding 10% organic fertilizer , such as earthworm humus. Anyway, after filling the pot almost completely, you have to place the seed in the center of it, and cover it with a little bit of substrate, enough so that the wind can not take it away in the event that it blows a lot. intensity.
And finally, a pinch of copper or sulfur will be applied and a generous irrigation will be given , so that the substrate is well soaked. We will put it in an area where the direct sunlight hits it, we will keep the pot always slightly humid but not waterlogged and, in a matter of 5-7 days, the cotyledons will appear, which are the first leaves that all the plants take out. Afterwards, the leaves of the flamboyan will do it.
Reproduction by air layering
In spring (April or May if you are in the northern hemisphere), with a cuttex you can sand a bit a thick branch, about 2-3cm in diameter, and impregnate that area with rooting hormones before covering it with a plastic bag. dark color (preferably black).
Then, with a syringe filled with water, the substrate is “watered”. This has to be done every 3-4 days, so after a month, the roots will begin to sprout . When you spend another month, you can cut your new tree.
Can grafts be made?
It is not a very common technique in these plants, but if you want to have orange and red flowers in the same tree, thanks to the graft you can get it. It is done as follows:
- A cut is made that goes from one side to the other of a branch whose thickness is at least 1cm. It must be deep.
- Then, the graft is introduced , which will be a semi-woody branch of another flamboyant.
- And then it is joined with adhesive tape for grafts.
If all went well, in a matter of two months at the most, the first outbreaks will come.
Flamboyant Tree care
This is a very special tree that has its place reserved in many gardens, although they are not of the suitable climate. It is very easy to take care of , as you are going to see:
Place in full sun . It does not tolerate shade, and may have problems in semi-shade.
Frequent in summer, during which we can water every 1 or 2 days if the temperatures are above 30ºC. The rest of the year we will decrease the frequency , and we will water once a week, maximum two.
Highly recommended, especially if you live in a climate that is not too appropriate for him. Fertilize it from spring until late summer with a quick-effect fertilizer, such as guano , following the manufacturer’s recommendations. In autumn and winter I advise you to give a monthly watering with half of the indicated dose of Nitrophoska (the fertilizer of the blue balls).
You can use black peat with pearlite mixed at 20% , or adding 10% earthworm humus.
During the first years of your youth, you can grow it in a pot, turning it into a bigger one every year , in spring.
It is very sensitive to cold, especially when young. Although in the Canary Islands there are some other adult specimens that have endured up to -4ºC, their ideal temperature range is between 10 and 35ºC.
How to grow flamboyant tree In weather winter
This is a plant that I fell in love with many years ago. I love its size, its elegance, the color of its flowers … everything. I know that I’m not the only one, and I’m sure there’s someone – maybe you? – who also lives in a climate that is not quite as good as it should be for the flamboyán, but who nevertheless wants to try it. So I’ll tell you how I managed to survive the winter.
Where I live, annual temperatures are between -1ºC (it can drop to -2ºC if a polar wave occurs) and 38ºC. Despite this, I have flamboyants. Why? Because every winter they are left outside but protected with plastic , and the substrate is always moist. Of course, it is watered only on the days that have the best time, since otherwise the roots would meet with water that is perhaps too cold, and there is no need to take risks.
Another important point is the “blue manure” that I mentioned before. If half a small spoonful of this fertilizer is filled, it is poured into the pots and then it is watered, the root system will remain at a temperature thanks to which it will be able to continue working , that is, absorbing water so that the plant can stay alive
Plagues and diseases of The flamboyant tree
The flamboyán is a tree that, fortunately, is not usually affected by pests and diseases. Even so, yes that occasionally you can see cottony mealybugs and aphids that are eliminated with insecticides that contain Abamectina and / or Piretrina; and if it is watered in excess, the fungus Phytophthora can harm it, which can be treated with any broad-spectrum fungicide.
And here our special on one of the most spectacular trees: the flamboyan. What do you think?