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Transplant brachychiton acerifolius into the garden

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I would like to transplant this brachychiton acerifolius,grown from seed into the garden although I have very little space left. It seems to survive southern England temperatures of no more than -3 to -5c in winter in its present state - sometimes covered

I grew this tree from a seed picked up in a street in South Africa 6 years ago and am very keen to keep this tree going. Here in southern England temperatures rarely get to below about -5C. in winter. Until this year I have wheeled it into the front south facing garden for the summer, but for the last year it's remained at the back of the house as per picture. I have no greenhouse or shed suitable to winter it in. Would it be safe to transplant it into the garden and would I ever get it to flower?

On plant Brachychiton




Hi Jacqueline welcome to GOY. Lovely tree. I am not surprised you want to keep it going.

I don't know anybody, or even OF anybody who has tried to grow this in the U.K. so I think you may have problems getting sound definite advice on GOY unless an expat that knows it spots this. I have however tried a few trees from warmer climes and can offer you what I know based on these.

I generally do better with zone 9b plants (I live in zone 8b but my micro-climate in one area of my garden is 9a so I try to push it) if they are planted out, not in a pot. I do however mulch the area round the plant with very deep straw or bark chippings for the winter and whilst they are small enough I cover them with a thick layer of fleece if a frost is expected.

I think this tree is actually happiest in zone 10a or b so you are pushing it even in south England. You don't actually say where you are except 'Southern England', but unless you are in west Cornwall or the Scilly Isles I think you have done well to keep it so far.

These trees can grow very large in their native USDA zone and usually the bigger a tree gets the more resistant to harsh weather it gets but I would give it all the help you can. A sheltered, south facing wall would give it it's best chance but even if it survives I really can't see it flowering. But I am only guessing. You never know. I like to go for it myself. Depends how pioneering you are.

You could try contacting Kew Gardens to see if they can help. Good luck with it.


18 Nov, 2008


Do you know, if you Google Brachychiton acerifolius, your question comes up 3rd!! How cool is that! (Sorry, got carried away with technology for a moment) )

19 Nov, 2008


Wow. Thanks Volunteer. I really didn't know that. (YAWN!) LOL.

19 Nov, 2008


hi Jaquiline, I have five of these trees at the moment, all grown from seed, my oldest 2 are 12 years now, and 3 youngsters at 4 years. They make fantastic houseplants and like you i have overwintered the 2 bigger ones outside once. They took temperatures of about minus 3 but with a lot of foliage damage and the tips of the branches burnt, BUT that didn't stop them shooting back in the spring. Now though i don't like to risk the bigger 2 outside, the 3 smaller ones overwinter in an unheated greenhouse, and get a bit of frost sometimes there, which damages foliage and shoot tips but they bounce back. I'm in North London BTW. You could try it outside, but i don't think it'll work unless like sarreceniac says it's against a sheltered wall, or in a side passage between 2 buildings. Even if it survived i doubt it would flower but again am not sure. What i have found is that they react really well to hard pruning in the spring. In April, i take mine out of their pots, cut off about a third of the outer roots, and hard prune the tops, occasionally cutting the top right off and replanting the bare trunk back in the same pot with fresh compost. I then keep them warm and bright till they begin to reshoot and then put them out for the summer. The oldest ones have really thick trunks now!

2 Dec, 2008

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