Albizia

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JTh

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Albizia
« on: June 27, 2011, 05:56:01 PM »
I have planted Albizia (Albizia julibrissin) several times (at least four?) in Halkidiki, but I never had any success, they all died. I see it everywhere around here, so I just don't understand why mine will not survive. I don't know if they have been pampered too much or too little, but the biggest prooblem is probably that I am not here most of the year (but usually in the spring and the autumn, and the whole month of July), so there are periods when it does not get any water. The soil is good for olive trees (rather clayey), but I have tried to mix it with soil I have bought to make it lighter. Our place is 200 m from the sea and it is quite windy here. Could anybody give me some advice before I kill another one?
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as a virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS  since 2004. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.

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John

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Re: Albizia
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2011, 04:12:21 PM »
Move to London, they are to be doing very well here.
John
Horticulturist, photographer, author, garden designer and plant breeder; MGS member and RHS committee member. I garden at home in SW London and also at work in South London.

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Fleur Pavlidis

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Re: Albizia
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2011, 05:40:46 PM »
I've found that Albizia dislikes being transplanted and so takes ages to settle and doesn't thrive in shade. I didn't succeed until I planted one in my village garden at 450 metres altitude where it settled in immediately and is now a fully grown tree after 9 years. It has mothered a self-seedling which is two metres tall after 2 years. Here in Attica I've got two struggling. One has definitely decided to stay and has flowered for the first time but it's 6 years old and stunted. See it here with an iceberg towering above it - this faces south by the way so isn't shaded.
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They are all on automatic irrigation. The soil in the village is deep whereas here it's shallow and stony.
MGS member, Greece. I garden in Attica, Greece and Mt Goulinas (450m) Central Greece

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JTh

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Re: Albizia
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2011, 08:20:53 AM »
Thank you both for your advice, I don't think London is an option, but I see that I just have to keep trying. It is in full sun all the day, but the soil is not very deep, we dug as far down as we could without using dynamite. Automatic watering is not possible here.
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as a virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS  since 2004. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.

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John

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Re: Albizia
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2011, 11:35:27 PM »
Sorry about my flippant remark though they are doing seriously well in London. I do suspect that your failures are due to drought whilst trying to establish and poor soil conditions at least with regard to depth of soil and access to naturally available moisture.
John
Horticulturist, photographer, author, garden designer and plant breeder; MGS member and RHS committee member. I garden at home in SW London and also at work in South London.

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JTh

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Re: Albizia
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2011, 06:58:10 AM »
Thank you, John, your first reply actually just told me that some London rain would have been good for my albizia.
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as a virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS  since 2004. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.

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Alisdair

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Re: Albizia
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2011, 10:20:38 AM »
We had an Albizia in the irrigated part of our hot Greek garden, and was getting drip irrigation every 2nd night in the dry months. It grew and flourished for about ten years. As plants establish I cut down on their water, and two years ago, following that policy, I turned off the Albizia's supply altogether. I reckoned that as the soil in that part of the garden was good and deep it would be able to survive. However, though thoroughly established it is not really able to cope without irrigation. In the first water-less year it lost some branches, and after last year's very hot dry summer it died back much more, looking very pitiful.
So at least in our hot Greek conditions Albizias definitely need summer watering, even when established in a good depth of soil.
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

Christine

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Re: Albizia
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2011, 11:06:46 AM »
My experience with growing Albizia in France bears out Fleur and Alisdair's advice that deep soil is the key. I tried to grow one in several spots in my garden, all in full sun, and the only success was in the small area where the soil is reasonable. Where the soil is compacted clay with poor drainage, even when we dug a very large hole the roots were unable to fight their way down far enough.
The successful tree was watered regularly for the first 3 summers and now, after 10 years is watered copiously at 6 weekly intervals if there is no rain. It is also surrounded by grasses and perovskia which shade the roots and protect the ground from drying out.

HansA

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Re: Albizia
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2011, 08:36:20 AM »
Albizia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate' grows fine in my garden on Mallorca, but I have to guide it as the plant I grow has the tendency to grow more wide than high.
It is growing next to Vitex agnus-castus which flowers about the same time.
bulbgrower on the balearic islands, spain
landscape architect

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Alisdair

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Re: Albizia
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2011, 08:46:59 AM »
Lovely picture, Hans! Do you give the albizia water in summer?
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

HansA

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Re: Albizia
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2011, 08:56:31 AM »
Thanks Alisdair, I water this area where it grows not regulary (mainly because of Strelitzia reginae and Clerodendrum ugandense which are growing there also), perhaps once every two weeks.
bulbgrower on the balearic islands, spain
landscape architect

Chantal

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Re: Albizia
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2011, 02:17:44 PM »
I'm trying Albizia "Summer Chocolate" for the 3rd time. I found in love with this plant in California where I met it for the first time. I give it à weekly irrigation but, as Hans said, it grows larger than higher. I mean: it looses each winter a bit of the upper branch and it is a very strange habit.
Chantal Guiraud
Montpellier-France
MGS Seed Coordinator

"The flowers of spring are winter's dreams told in the morning at the table of the angels" (Khalil Gibran)

Daisy

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Re: Albizia
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2011, 03:37:33 PM »
I grew Albizia julibrissin from seed in 2003. The poor thing had to sit in a pot until last year when I finally planted it in my new garden, in full sun.
It grew lustily and flowered well last year for the first time, but this year, it has grown a lot but hasn't flowered at all.
There is another albizia in the village. That one doesn't get watered at all. It stays a small tree, but flowers well.
I have stopped watering my tree, but it is bound to get some when I water nearby plants.
Daisy :)
Amateur gardener, who has gardened in Surrey and Cornwall, England, but now has a tiny garden facing north west, near the coast in north east Crete. It is 300 meters above sea level. On a steep learning curve!!! Member of both MGS and RHS

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JTh

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Re: Albizia
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2011, 03:49:06 PM »
The albizias around here have very flat, wide crowns and don't get very tall, that's exactly what I like, they are like wide umbrellas. I can't imagine that they would suffer from gettiing some water from the plants nearby, but, Daisy, maybe your tree did not flower because it got too much fertilizer?
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as a virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS  since 2004. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.

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John

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Re: Albizia
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2011, 09:48:38 PM »
I have just got back from the Netherlands where we were visiting nurseries. The first picture was taken some distance from the tree as there was a canal in the way. This was growing happily on very peaty soil where the water table was less than 30cm below. On the nursery the owner jumped on the ground to show us how it bounced as it was totally saturated and effectively a peat bog. This was in Boskoop.
The second picture was of a young tree at a drier site at Hessenweg. It couldn't be any wetter than the first! They are really very hardy but need their wood ripening sufficiently to not get damaged and flower well.
John
Horticulturist, photographer, author, garden designer and plant breeder; MGS member and RHS committee member. I garden at home in SW London and also at work in South London.