Brachychiton is a genus that includes 20-30 species of shrubs or trees originating in Australia, which in optimal conditions can reach 20-30 meters in height, although they are usually kept within 10 to 15 m. They have a sinuous trunk, which tends to widen at the base, with a wide and disordered crown, usually pyramidal in shape. The leaves are large, bright green, shiny, with an entire margin or deeply lobed. Brachychiton Populneus produces greenish flowers, gathered in panicles.
Brachychiton acerifolius, or bottle tree, is highly valued for the showy red-purple spring flowering. Brachychiton rupestris is the most rustic and resistant species, slow growing. The flowers are replaced by the fruits: large semi-woody capsules, inside which there are large seeds. Some species are small and fear the cold and are grown as houseplants.
Brachychiton acerifolius, better known as bottle tree or flame, prefers very sunny locations. The adult specimens of this genus of trees do not fear the cold, but the young plants must be repaired in winter, to prevent the frost from ruining them. If they are placed in the ground, it is possible to intervene with the woven fabric to cover the leaf apparatus and the mulching material or dry leaves, to repair the root apparatus from the consequences of the harsh climate.
The Brachychiton acerifolius, or flame tree or bottle, does not need large amounts of water, so it is advisable to water sporadically by supplying large amounts of water, to favor a correct development of the roots.
At the planting and then every autumn bury a mature fertilizer at the foot of the plant, then water it abundantly, so as to provide all the nourishment necessary for a better development.
Check that water does not form at the base of the plant which could cause root rot.
Brachychiton acerifolius plants love rich, loose, very well drained soil, possibly with an acid pH. It is occasionally useful to fertilize the flame tree with fertilizer for acidophilic plants.
To perform the multiplication of this kind of plants in spring it is possible to sow the seeds of the previous year, to make them germinate in seedbed filled with peat and sand in equal parts; keep the substratum always damp until complete germination; young plants should be grown in pots for a few years before they can be planted. When handling the seeds, pay attention to the stinging hair that covers them completely, it is advisable to wear gloves.
Flame tree, Bottle tree - Brachychiton acerifolius: Pests and diseases
It may happen that incorrect cultivation techniques favor the onset of chlorosis and root rot in the bottle tree.
It is good to check that at the base of plants of this kind radical stagnations do not form, which can be the main cause of the onset of root rot. The soil must be well drained and allow water to flow.
For chlorosis it is necessary to intervene by supplying the plant with specific supplements that will restore optimal conditions.