How to Grow Butea Monosperma | Sacred Tree Care

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Last Updated: 17.10.2023
Chandrima
Written by
Chandrima, a flower enthusiast and writer at India Gardening with over 5 years of content writing experience. She combines her love for flowers with her background in gardening and literary expertise to create informative content. In addition to her passion for gardening, she's an aspiring traveler and nature lover.

Butea Monosperma stands out with its clusters of red orange flowers! Here’s all you need to know about growing Sacred Tree! 

Butea Monosperma 1

Also known as the Flame of the Forest or Palash, Butea Monosperma is a species of flowering tree in the Fabaceae family. It is native to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. This tree holds cultural and ecological significance and is popular for its striking flowers and medicinal properties.

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Butea Monosperma Information

Butea Monosperma is a deciduous tree that typically grows up to 40 to 50 feet (12 to 15 meters) in height. It has a spreading crown and a short trunk with light gray to brown bark that becomes rough with age.

The leaves of Butea Monosperma are compound,  measuring about 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 centimeters). The leaflets have margins and a dark green color, providing a pleasant canopy during the growing season.

The flowers of Butea Monosperma appear in clusters at the ends of branches before the leaves emerge, usually during late winter or early spring. They are large and fiery orange to scarlet red, giving rise to the common name “Flame of the Forest.” Each flower has five petals and a long, protruding stamen, creating an attractive display.

Various parts of Butea Monosperma, including the leaves, flowers, bark, and gum, have uses in traditional medicine. The tree is popular for its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties. Its extracts are popular for treating respiratory ailments, digestive disorders, and skin diseases and even as a diuretic and contraceptive.

Butea Monosperma plays a vital role in the ecosystem. Its bright red flowers attract birds, bees, and butterflies, making it an essential nectar source. The tree also fixes nitrogen in the soil, enriching its surroundings and supporting the growth of other plants. In addition, the leaves provide fodder for livestock.

Butea Monosperma has cultural and religious significance in several Asian countries, particularly India. It is associated with festivals, folklore, and traditional ceremonies. The tree’s fiery red flowers are often used in religious rituals and decorations during spring festivals, symbolizing the arrival of a new season.

Common Names Butea monosperma in different Indian languages:

Hindi: पलाश (Palash)
Tamil: பழுக்கு (Pazhukku)
Telugu: మోడు (Modu)
Kannada: ಮುಟ್ಟು (Muttu)
Malayalam: മുത്ത (Muthu)
Bengali: পলাশ (Palash)
Gujarati: ટેસુ (Tesu)
Marathi: पाळस (Palas)
Punjabi: ਤੇਸੂ (Tesu)
Odia: ତେନୁ (Tenu)
Urdu: پلش (Palash)


How to Grow Butea Monosperma?

 

The tree is native to tropical and subtropical regions and thrives in warm climates. If you are in a colder region, growing the tree in a greenhouse or as a container plant might be a better option. To grow Butea Monosperma from seeds, you can follow these steps:

  • Collect mature seeds from a healthy Butea Monosperma tree. The seeds are usually found in woody pods that turn brown when mature. Make sure the pods are fully dry before collecting the seeds.
  • Scarify the seeds to enhance germination. This can be done by gently rubbing the seed coat with sandpaper or nicking it with a knife. This process helps to break the seed coat and allows water to penetrate, promoting germination.
  • Soak the scarified seeds in warm water overnight or for 24 hours. This step helps to soften the seed coat and further aids germination.
  • Fill seedling trays or small pots with a well-draining potting mix. Plant the soaked Butea Monosperma seeds about 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) deep in the soil. Space the seeds a few inches apart to provide adequate room for growth.
  • Place the trays or pots in a warm, sunny location that receives partial sunlight. Maintain a consistent temperature between 21 to 29°C. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged during germination, which usually takes about 2 to 4 weeks.
  • Once the seedlings have grown several sets of tall leaves about 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 centimeters), they can be transplanted into larger pots or directly into the ground.

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Requirements to Grow Butea Monosperma

Butea Monosperma 2

Sunlight

Butea Monosperma thrives in full sun to partial shade. It prefers at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily to promote healthy growth and abundant flowering.

Soil

This tree prefers well-draining soil with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.5. It can tolerate various soil types, including sandy, loamy, and clay. However, it is essential to ensure good drainage to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot.

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Water

While Butea Monosperma is relatively drought-tolerant once established, it requires regular watering during the initial stages and dry periods. Adjust the watering frequency based on the weather conditions and moisture levels in the soil. Water the tree deeply, allowing the soil to dry slightly between waterings.

Avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root problems.

Temperature

Butea Monosperma is native to tropical and subtropical regions. It prefers warm temperatures and is not tolerant of freezing conditions. The tree can survive in a temperature range of -7 to 38°C.

Protect young or newly planted trees from extreme cold temperatures or frost.


Butea Monosperma Care

Fertilizer

Butea Monosperma generally does well in nutrient-rich soils but can benefit from occasional fertilization. Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring before new growth begins.

Alternatively, you can use organic compost or well-rotted manure to enrich the soil. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions or consult a local expert for the appropriate fertilizer dosage.

Pruning

Pruning Butea Monosperma is generally minimal and is primarily done to shape the tree and remove dead, damaged, or crossing branches. Avoid excessive pruning, as it may reduce flower production.

The best time to prune is during the dormant season, after the flowering period. Ensure that pruning tools are clean and sharp to minimize damage and the risk of disease transmission.

Pests and Diseases

Butea Monosperma is relatively resistant to pests, but it can occasionally be affected by sap-sucking insects like aphids, scales, or mealybugs. Monitor the tree regularly and take appropriate action if infestations occur.

Insecticidal soaps or horticultural oils can be used to control small infestations. Consult a local garden center or professional for specific pest control recommendations for severe infestations.

It is generally not prone to significant disease issues. However, Butea Monosperma can occasionally be susceptible to fungal diseases such as root rot or leaf spot. To prevent these problems, ensure proper drainage and avoid overwatering. If disease symptoms occur, consult a local expert for appropriate fungicidal treatments.

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