Pompon tree - 10 seeds

Pompon tree - 10 seeds


Dais cotinifolia (The pompon tree) is one of the best known and well-loved indigenous trees, tough enough to be used as a street tree and small enough to fit into most gardens. When in flower at Christmas it looks like a giant candy floss, as the tree transforms into a cloud of soft pink balls. Its natural home is the eastern part of South Africa where it grows on the margins of forests, wooded hill slopes and in stony kloofs.

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This is a wonderful tree for the garden, fast growing, fairly drought resistant once established and frost hardy. When planting, choose a sunny position and prepare it well by digging a large hole of about 1 m x 1 m, adding lots of compost and bone meal. Water the young tree regularly during the summer months until it is well established, which usually takes about two years. Placing a thick mulch of compost around the base of the tree helps to prevent water from running away, keeps the soil moist and cool, suppresses weed growth and slowly releases nutrients into the soil.

The tree grows easily from seed and usually seeds itself all over the garden. Sow seed in spring or early summer in seed trays filled with a well-drained medium. Cover the seed lightly with fine milled bark or sand, place in a shady position and keep moist. To improve the germination, treat the seed with a fungicide that prevents damping off. The young seedling can be potted up as soon as they are big enough to handle. The trees grow fast and reach their full height within 4 to 5 years, flowering from about their second year. The trees can be lightly pruned if necessary, young trees becoming very bushy if the leader is trimmed. Flowers are produced on the previous year's growth, so any pruning should be done after flowering.