Albizia - Fabaceae - How to care for and cultivate Albizia plants
HOW TO GROW AND CARE FOR OUR PLANTS
The species belonging to the genus Albizia they are all shrubby and arboreal plants, particularly decorative for the beauty of their leaves and flowers, they are very widespread as ornamental plants.
Species: see the paragraph on "Main species"
The genre Albizia (or albizzia) belongs to the large family ofFabaceae (formerLeguminosae), where we find about fifty species all spectacular plants both for their leaves and their flowers.
They are plants native to subtropical Asia and are real trees that resemble the Acacias, with umbrella-shaped foliage, erect stem that bears numerous very branched branches and with smooth bark that tends to wrinkle with age.
In most species of Albiziathe leaves are deciduous, bipinnate, arranged alternately and are composed of numerous very small leaflets, deprived of petiole.
The flowers are very particular, hermaphrodite, varying in color from white, to yellow, to pink depending on the species.
The fruit of the plant is a fairly large legume or pod.
There are about 50 species in the genus Albizia among which we remember:
L'Albizia julibrissin, is known by several names:silk tree or Acacia of Constantinople or gaggia arborea.
It is the most widespread and cultivated species with spread branches that form a large umbrella. It is a plant characterized by deciduous leaves and globose inflorescences formed by white flowers tinged with pink gathered in panicles in the terminal part of the branches and characterized by very long and colored stamens.
In nature it is a plant that reaches even 10 m in height with light green, bipinnate leaves composed of 8-12 pairs of fins each bearing numerous small leaves.
It blooms during the summer period.
There Albizia lebbeck it has the typical characteristics of the species and the flowers are yellow tending to green and gathered in inflorescences with semi-perennial leaves.
There Albizia lopanta it has smaller dimensions than the previous ones, it is very fast growing but it is less long-lived than the other species of the same genus. The flowers, which appear at the end of spring, are yellow in color with inviting spike inflorescences.
The Albizia they are plants that must be grown outdoors, in the garden or on a terrace where they will give a beautifully decorated corner thanks to their stupendous blooms.
It is a plant that adapts very well in temperate climate regions such as Mediterranean ones even if it is a plant that resists the cold well. The A. Julibrissin species is the most resistant, down to -10 ° C. In any case, if the temperatures drop for too long, it is good to protect the plants with transparent plastic sheets.
They are plants that live very well in full sun and even in partial shade.
They should be planted between autumn and the end of winter (October-March).
They are not plants that require special care and are very resistant to both salt and pollution.
The watering of theAlbizia they must be abundant but without exceeding (the ground must not be soaked) being very careful not to let the water stagnate which is not tolerated in any way.
During the winter, when the plant has lost its leaves, watering should be drastically reduced.
TYPE OF SOIL - REPOT
The Albizia they can be grown both in pots and in the ground.
If grown in pot, make sure that at the time of its arrangement the pot that it hosts is large in order to avoid too frequent repotting.The ideal type of soil is a good fertile soil, slightly acidic with the addition of a little sand coarse which favors the drainage of irrigation water as it does not tolerate water stagnation. It is also important to place pieces of earthenware on the bottom of the pot which will prevent the drainage holes from becoming clogged.
Every year, if you grow them in pots, take care to remove the surface layer of the soil for at least 5 cm and replace it with fresh soil.
When the Labizia plant begins to bloom it is advisable to fertilize it either using an organic fertilizer or a good liquid fertilizer. During the other periodile fertilizations must be suspended.
However, keep in mind that you must not exceed with fertilizations, especially with nitrogen as they are nitrogen-fixing plants (like all Fabaceae): the roots of the plant are infected with particular bacteria (genus Rhizobiumspp.) which form real nodules (colonies of bacteria) at the level of the roots that fix nitrogen and transfer it to the plant and at the same time receive the other nutritional elements from it.
The flowers typically begin to appear in late spring and the fruits begin to ripen in autumn when the leaves fall. The seeds can be kept apart to be used to make new plants.
The plant of Albizia it can be pruned at the end of winter - beginning of spring to contain the foliage and to eliminate any damaged branches.
Remember to clean and sterilize the tools you use for cutting to prevent them from becoming a vehicle for parasitic diseases.
The multiplication ofAlbizia occurs almost exclusively by seed. In carrying out this type of propagation, keep in mind that sowing has the disadvantage that, when genetic variability takes over, it is not possible to obtain plants equal to the mother plant.
MULTIPLICATION BY SEED
The multiplication by seed takes place in spring. The seeds before being sown will be left in warm water for 24 hours. They germinate after about two months at temperatures around 19 ° C.
Young plants of Albizia the first year of life they must be kept in a protected environment to be then placed in their final home only the following year, in late spring or early summer.
PARASITES AND DISEASES
The Albizia they are not plants particularly prone to diseases.For some years it has been observed that they are attacked by an insect, the
psylla (Acizzia jamatonica)belonging to the family
Psyllidae, which in Italy and Europe is becoming particularly harmful.
It overwinters on the plant as an adult and during the vegetative phase it completes several generations so that on the plant it is possible to find all the stages (egg, larvae, adults).
The damage is caused by the fact that it sucks the sap of the plant causing defoliation. In addition, it produces abundant honeydew and wax, soiling the foliage.
Remedies: it is necessary to intervene with washing products based on fatty acids (potassium salts) which act by contact damaging the cell walls, especially of the larvae, thus causing their death. It is a product used in biological and integrated pest management as it does not leave residues in the environment because it is immediately biodegraded. In consideration of the fact that the psylla makes several generations a year, it is necessary to do different treatments based on the presence of the larvae. After these treatments, adults can be eliminated using specific insecticides, such as rotenone.
Until a few years ago the species Albizia was counted in the genre Acacia but then elevated to a genus in its own right as it presented different morphological characteristics.
The genus was honored to the Florentine naturalist Filippo degli Albizzi, who first, in 1740, introduced it to Europe from Constantinople.The bark of the
Albizia anthelmintica, another species of the genus, in the poorest areas of Africa is used by shepherds to treat animals against internal parasites even if, from various studies carried out, it appears that it is not particularly effective.
Online bibliographic sources
(es) NCBINational Center for Biotechnology Information