Illawarra flame tree in full bloom

Growing Illawarra Flame Tree Flower From Seed

Brachychiton Acerifolius – Tips on Growing Illawarra Flame Tree

The Illawarra flame tree is native to Australia’s northern tropical and subtropical regions. This is one of the major attractions that you can have growing in your garden. Its bright attractive flowers cover up the entire tree and this is a sight to behold in your eyes.

Illawarra flame tree in full bloomThe scientific name of the flame tree is Brachychiton acerifolius. Other common names are flame kurranjong and flame bottle tree. This tree belongs to the family Malvaceae and its genus is Brachychiton. This small to medium sized tree is a common sight in most areas of Australia. Its major presence felt is in the Queensland area flowering naturally in spring to early summer while deciduous or sometimes flowering with just a few of its leaves. Flowering with the Jacaranda tree and often planted together to create a great contrast of purple and red makes a spectacular combination.

Why Won’t My Illawarra Flame Tree Flower?

The Illawarra flame tree will only flower in favourable conditions. The best flowering is triggered after a dry mild winter season which naturally doesn’t always happen therefore, this tree doesn’t always bloom annually.

Most Australians are linked with the Illawarra flame tree through our Australian singer Jimmy Barnes the lead vocalist of rock band Cold Chisel with his hit song “Flame Trees” the main line sings “Oh the flame trees will blind the weary driver”.

Illawarra Flame Tree Description

The Illawarra flame tree height is between 10 to 40 metres and it can grow to a width of 5 to 15 metres. It is deciduous the Illawarra Flame Tree leaves are variable that are oval shaped and have 3 to 5 lobes. The size of a leaf is about 10 to 30 cm long. The tree has the tendency to shed its leaves at the end of winter and before the flowering season. This is the time of year, you can finally appreciate the tree’s distinctive, all-olive-green straight trunk and limbs. The green leaves will turn yellow before falling off and giving way to bright sprays of red coloured flowers. The Illawarra Flame Tree flowers are bell-shaped and form clusters at the end of the tree branches. They have a waxy look and grow to a size of just 1 to 2 cm long. Each flower has about five petals. The fruits are dark brown, pod-like, and are boat-shaped.

Beware parts of the Illawarra Flame Tree seed pods have thin hairs or minuscule bristles that can cause irritation to the skin so please wear gloves when preparing the seed for germination.

How to Propagate Flame Tree Seeds?

  • Put the Brachychiton acerifolius seeds in a small bowl of hot water. Let the seeds stay in this water for 24 hours.
  • Make the pot to plant the seeds ready first. Add seed raising mix to the pot until it is 3/4th Add water to the soil mixture until the top layer gets fully dampened.
  • Remove the seeds from the hot water. Dry it completely using a paper towel.
  • Plant 2 to 3 of the seeds in the prepared pot. The seeds just need to be pushed with your finger into the soil. It just needs to get 1 to 1 ½ inch into the soil.
  • Place the pot in a water tray and place it in a warm area in your home.
  • The seedlings will start to show up in about 2 to 3 weeks’ time.
  • The seedlings can now be shifted to an area in your home where it can get at least 6 hours of light every day.
  • Once the seedlings grow to about an inch tall, make sure that you have just one Brachychiton acerifolius seedling in a pot.
  • Once the seedling gets well established and two to three leaves start to appear, they can be moved outdoors.
  • Consider the size of the tree at its mature size and its tap root before planting into the garden.

Illawarra Flame Tree Care

Caring for the flame tree as it loves to grow in well-draining loamy or clayey soil.

  • They need full sun or partial shade to grow and help them flower.
  • In temperate climates, it can tolerate light frost.
  • It is important to water the plant well for up to 12 weeks after being installed to your garden.
  • Adding a slow-release fertiliser during the springtime could very well encourage the tree to flower.

It will take about 8 to 10 years for the spring flowers to show up on the flame tree. They are mainly suited to large gardens.




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