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Zones 12-25, 27, H1, H2
Full Sun
Regular Water

Ceiba speciosa

Floss Silk Tree
Deciduous, Evergreen, Trees


Native to South America. Heavy trunk is studded with thick spines; it is green in youth, turns gray with age. Leaves divided into spoon leaflets like fingers of a hand, drop during autumn flowering or whenever temperatures fall below 27°F/ –3°C. Large, showy flowers somewhat resemble narrow-petaled hibiscus blooms. Fast drainage and controlled watering are keys to success. Water established trees about once a month during growing season; ease off in late summer to encourage more flowers. Need little pruning except to remove wayward or dead growth.

Ceiba speciosa

Grows 3 to 5 ft. per year to 30 ft. tall and wide, then slows down. Biggest specimen is a 90-year-old, 90 footer at California's Hotel Bel-Air. Trunk is thorny. Palmate leaves drop briefly in fall; 4- to 6-inch pink flowers come on in late summer (hot climates) or fall.  Flowers look like narrow-petaled hibiscus, and are followed by big masses of seed-holding cotton. Flowers appear after trees are 7 to 10 years old, then become more profuse every year.

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