How to Grow Ailanthus Excelsa | Tree of Heaven Care

Last Updated: 19.10.2023

Ailanthus Excelsa, popular as the Tree of Heaven, is an evergreen specimen that can be great for any garden! Here are the details to grow it!

Ailanthus Excelsa

We’re going to explore a fascinating plant known as Ailanthus Excelsa. This unique species has gained attention for its vibrant yellow flowers and potential medicinal properties. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, learning how to grow and care for Tree of Heaven can be a rewarding experience.

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Ailanthus Excelsa Information

Ailanthus excelsa is a tree species that is commonly found in tropical and subtropical regions of Asia, including India, Pakistan, and China. It is also popular as the tree of heaven due to its rapid growth and ability to colonize disturbed areas. The Tree of Heaven can grow up to 25 meters tall and has a broad canopy with large, pinnate leaves.

Additionally, Ailanthus excelsa is used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments, including fever, dysentery, and respiratory problems. Its wood is also helpful for furniture, construction, and fuel. However, the tree is considered invasive in many areas outside of its native range and can outcompete native vegetation.

Common Names: Tree of heaven, Chinese sumac, and Pi-Nari Maram

Here are some common names of Ailanthus excelsa in Indian languages:
Hindi: अर्क (Arka), बीर (Beer)
Bengali: আমলকি (Amloki), বাক্সবর (Baksobar)
Telugu: అరక (Araka), నాలివేప (Naliveepa)
Tamil: சிம்பிளி (Simpili), குளியமரம் (Kuliamaram)
Kannada: ನೇರುಕೇರೆ (Neru Kere), ಮಾಲಾಬಾರಿ ವೆಂಕೆ (Malabari Venke)
Malayalam: നേരിയാമ്പു (Neriampu), പേരിലവപ്പ് (Perilavappu)
Marathi: अर्क (Arka), वेंकट (Venkat)
Gujarati: વાળીનો વૃક્ષ (Valino Vruksh), આર્કા (Arka)
Punjabi: ਅਰਕ (Arka), ਵੇਂਕਟ (Venkat)

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How to Propagate Ailanthus Excelsa?

Ailanthus excelsa can be propagate through seeds or cuttings. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to propagate this plant:

Propagation by Seeds

1. Seed Collection: Firstly, collect mature seeds from an Ailanthus excelsa tree. The seeds are contained in clusters that resemble winged samaras. Harvest the seeds when they are fully developed and begin to turn brown.

2. Seed Preparation: Remove the seeds from the samaras and separate any debris or damaged seeds. Clean the seeds by rinsing them in water to remove any remaining pulp or impurities.

3. Stratification (optional): Ailanthus excelsa seeds have a hard outer coat that can benefit from stratification, a process of cold treatment to simulate natural winter conditions. If desired, place the cleaned seeds in a moistened paper towel or sand, seal them in a plastic bag, and refrigerate them for 30-60 days.

4. Sowing the Seeds: Fill seed trays or pots with a well-draining seed-starting mix. Plant the stratified or non-stratified Ailanthus excelsa seeds at a depth of about 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) and cover them lightly with soil. Keep the seeds spaced apart to allow room for growth.

5. Watering and Care: Moisten the soil after sowing the Ailanthus excelsa seeds and ensure it remains consistently moist throughout the germination period. Additionally, place the trays or pots in a warm and well-lit area, such as a greenhouse or a sunny spot. Germination typically occurs within a few weeks to a couple of months.

6. Transplanting: Lastly, once the Ailanthus excelsa seedlings have developed several true leaves and are large enough to handle, they can be transplanted into larger pots or directly into the ground. Choose a location with suitable sunlight and well-draining soil. Provide regular watering and care to support their growth.

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Propagation by Cuttings

1. Cutting Selection: Firstly, choose healthy and mature branches from an Ailanthus excelsa tree. Select semi-hardwood cuttings that are about 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) long. Cut just below a leaf node to promote root development.

2. Cutting Preparation: Remove the leaves from the lower half of the Ailanthus excelsa cutting, leaving a few at the top. Optionally, dip the cut end in a rooting hormone powder or gel to enhance root formation.

3. Planting the Cuttings: Fill pots or containers with a well-draining potting mix. Insert the cuttings into the soil, burying them about halfway. Firmly press the soil around the cuttings to provide stability.

4. Watering and Care: Water the soil thoroughly after planting the Ailanthus excelsa cuttings. Place the pots or containers in a warm and brightly lit area. Additionally, maintain high humidity by covering the cuttings with a plastic bag or using a propagation dome. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.

5. Root Development: Over time, the cuttings will develop roots. You can gently tug on the cuttings after a few weeks to check for resistance, indicating that roots have formed.

6. Transplanting: Lastly, once the Ailanthus excelsa cuttings have established a good root system, usually within a couple of months, they can be transplanted into larger pots or directly into the ground. Choose a location with suitable sunlight and well-draining soil.

By following these propagation methods, you can successfully propagate Ailanthus excelsa and grow new trees. It’s important to note that Ailanthus excelsa can be invasive in some regions, so check with local authorities before planting it.

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Requirements to Grow Ailanthus Excelsa

Ailanthus Excelsa 3


Ailanthus excelsa thrives in full sunlight to partial shade. It can tolerate a wide range of light conditions but prefers direct sunlight for several hours each day. Additionally, choose a location that provides adequate sunlight for the tree’s growth.


Ailanthus excelsa is adaptable to various soil types but prefers well-draining soil. Tree of Heaven can grow in sandy, loamy, or clayey soils. However, it can tolerate poor soil conditions and is often found in disturbed areas. Ensure good drainage to prevent waterlogging.


The Tree of Heaven is drought-tolerant and can withstand periods of limited water availability once established. However, during the initial growth phase, water Ailanthus excelsa regularly to help it establish a strong root system. Additionally, provide deep watering to encourage deep root growth.

Once established, it can tolerate dry periods.

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Tree of Heaven thrives in sub-humid subtropical and tropical regions with lowland to mid-elevation climates. Typically, these areas experience annual temperatures ranging from 16 to 21°C, with highs of 27 to 35°C. The average annual rainfall ranges from 400 to 2000 mm, and a dry season lasting 6 to 9 months is also common.

This plant is well-suited for the warm and tropical climate of India. Tree of Heaven can tolerate high temperatures but may also withstand mild frosts. It is generally hardy in USDA zones 7-11.

Ailanthus Excelsa Care


Ailanthus excelsa is adaptable and can grow in nutrient-poor soils. Tree of Heaven does not require regular fertilization. However, if desired, you can provide a balanced, slow-release fertilizer during the growing season to support its growth.

In addition, avoid excessive fertilization, as it can lead to excessive vegetative growth.


Ailanthus excelsa can grow rapidly and may require occasional pruning to maintain its shape and size. Additionally, pruning can be done during the dormant season to remove dead or diseased branches, thin out crowded areas, or shape the Tree of Heaven.

Ensure proper tools and techniques are used to minimize damage to the tree.

Pest and Diseases

Ailanthus excelsa is generally resistant to pests and diseases. However, Tree of Heaven can occasionally be affected by insect pests such as aphids or caterpillars.

Regularly inspect the tree for any signs of infestation and treat them promptly with appropriate insecticides or organic remedies. Additionally, monitor for any signs of diseases, such as leaf spot or powdery mildew, and take appropriate measures to control them.

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