I know what you’re thinking, “how many times can this fool write about the coastal coral tree?” or “Does he make out with that tree?” well the answers are; infinitely and just a little. Not necessarily in that order. I can’t help it. When I first pilfered a branch cutting from an undisclosed location (definitely NOT in Robb Field in OB), I intended it to be a bonsai tree. I was living in a small but lovely beach apartment at the time, so it was all bonsai for me due to space constraints.
Now that I have a wee bit of land, I can spread some roots. My erythrina caffra (coastal coral) couldn’t be happier that I did either considering the insane growth that this tree has undergone in the last few years. To force this beast into a tiny bonsai pot would seem cruel.
And this year is no exception. She is just now beginning to wake up from her short winter slumber. All winter long she has been busy sending out miles of hungry roots and storing vast amounts of sugars for what is promising to be a vigorous growing season. Now she is putting out a lovely display of flowers right before she comes into full leaf.
She starts off after winter with her flowers before the leaves really set in. This allows all the pollinators to see the blooms without any bland and flavorless leaves getting in the way. Hummingbirds adore these beautiful blooms. Here’s another tree that is rocking a very impressive bloom with some rando walking a cute dog.
After the bloom, it’s onto branch and leaf growth. In my case, at an insane rate. My lady is also developing a beautiful trunk as well. With a little help of some aggressive pruning. Here’s how I pruned her a couple years ago…
Here’s what the trunk is looking like as of today…
To give you a wee bit of perspective between January 2015 and today, this is what the trunk looked like after that pruning. Notice that the wounds are almost invisible at this point.
This winter, I made another pruning decision. There was an oddly placed lower branch that I allowed to grow for the last two years unfettered. You can see it’s tiny version in the image above. I wanted it to be both a clone for the backyard as well as leave a nice stump for future tree climbing and a potential tree house.
I wanted to branch cutting for cloning to be about nine feet tall so it would have a long slender trunk in the back and a tall wide canopy for shade. You can learn how to clone these special trees right here:
Here’s the branch cutting after I followed all the steps listed in the link above. Can you see her on the left side? A tall drink of water.
And she’s already taking root and putting out new growth. I just planted her about a month ago!
But let’s get back to the amazingness of this girl’s growth. I’ve never before had any plant that was as vigorous as this one. I wanted a stately specimen tree for the front of the house that would be the envy of the block. I also wanted a nice shade tree to keep the house cool during the long hot summers here in SoCal. She doesn’t disappoint!
Four years ago, she was sitting in a pot thinking it was almost bonsai time. Let’s take a little stroll down memory lane with some progress shots shall we? Yes, we shall.
This is only four years and it’s already grown so much! It just blows my mind. The original branch cutting was about five feet long. I know I keep coming back to this tree, but I can’t recommend strongly enough that if you have the growing zone and the means, you need to give this stately tree a try! Mind Your Dirt has provided you with everything you need to successfully do just that! Then you and I can be erythrina caffra buddies and dance naked under her gentle curves and robust canopy. Sensual!
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