How to Grow Thespesia Populnea | Growing Portia Tree

Last Updated: 09.11.2023
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.

Thespesia Populnea offers beautiful yellow flowers, which makes it a must-have in any garden! Let’s have a look at how to grow Portia Tree!

Thespesia Populnea

Thespesia populnea is also popular as The Portia Tree, a popular ornamental that is native to many tropical regions. Growing it is not difficult once you know the basics of how to cultivate it. In this blog, we’ll provide tips and advice on how to grow Thespesia populnea successfully and enjoy its beautiful white, pink, and purple flowers that pair really well with its heart-shaped leaves.

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Thespesia Populnea Information 

Thespesia populnea, also popular as the Indian Tulip Tree and Portia Tree, is a species of flowering tree in the mallow family, Malvaceae. Native to coastal areas of the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean, it is commonly found in India, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. The portia tree is small to medium-sized and can grow up to 20-33 feet tall.

Its sap and seeds have been used in traditional medicine for centuries and have been studied for their potential anticancer, antifungal, and antimicrobial effects.  

Additionally, its compounds, including sanguinarine, berberine, and protopine, are believed to have pain-relieving properties. In short, Thespesia populnea is a versatile and multifaceted species that has been valued for its medicinal properties for centuries. 

Here are the Common Names of Thespesia Populnea in Different Indian Languages:

Hindi: पारीजात (Parijat)
Bengali: পারিজাত (Parjatak)
Telugu: పారిజాతము (Parijatamu)
Marathi: पारिजात (Parijat)
Tamil: பாரிஜாதம் (Parijatham)
Malayalam: പാരിജാതം (Parijatham)
Kannada: ಪಾರಿಜಾತ (Parijata)

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How to Propagate Thespesia Populnea?


From Seeds 

  • Firstly, collect mature seeds from Thespesia Populnea when the fruit is dry and starting to split open. 
  • Soak the seeds in water for 24 hours to soften the hard seed coat. 
  • Fill a container with a well-draining potting mix or soil. 
  • Plant the seeds 2-3 cm deep in the soil, with the pointed end facing downwards. 
  • Water the soil lightly and keep it moist but not waterlogged. 
  • Place the container in a warm, sunny location. 
  • Germination should occur within 1-2 weeks. 
  • When the seedlings have grown to 10-15 cm tall, Lastly, transplant them into larger pots or into the ground in a well-draining location. 

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Requirements to Grow Thespesia Populnea  

Thespesia Populnea 2


Thespesia Populnea requires full to partial sunlight to grow well in India. It can tolerate partial shade, but it prefers at least 5-6 hours of direct sun daily for optimal growth and flowering.

In areas with very hot summers, it is recommended to provide partial shade during the hottest part of the day to prevent leaf scorching, especially when the tree is young.


Thespesia Populnea can grow in a variety of soil types, including sandy, loamy, and clay soils, as long as the soil is well-draining. It prefers soil that is slightly acidic to neutral, with a pH range of 6.0-7.5.

Soil with a pH level outside this range can lead to poor growth and nutrient deficiencies in the tree. 


The Portia tree requires moderate watering during the growing season (spring to fall) and reduced watering during the dormant season (winter). Additionally, water Thespesia Populnea deeply once or twice a week, depending on the weather and soil moisture levels. Avoid overwatering as it can lead to root rot. 

Pro Tip: Water the plant only when the topsoil feels a little dry to the touch.


The plant thrives in warm, tropical, and subtropical climates with temperatures between 18-26°C. It can tolerate some winters, but prolonged exposure to temperatures that are too low, can cause damage to the leaves and stems.

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Thespesia Populnea Care 



Thespesia populnea or Portia tree does not require heavy fertilization. However, a balanced fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of 10-10-10 can be applied once or twice a year during the growing season (spring to fall) to encourage growth and flowering.

It is recommended to avoid fertilizing the tree during the dormant season (winter). 


The Portia tree does not require heavy pruning. Prune Thespesia Populnea in late winter or early spring to remove dead, damaged, or diseased branches. Additionally, light pruning can be done to shape the tree or to remove any unwanted growth.

It is important to use sharp and clean pruning tools to avoid damaging the tree. 

Pest and Diseases: 

The Portia tree is relatively pest and disease resistant. However, it can suffer from fungal diseases such as root rot, leaf spot, and powdery mildew in poorly draining soil or during prolonged periods of wet weather.

Additionally, to prevent fungal diseases, avoid overwatering the tree and provide good air circulation around the tree. Insects such as mealybugs, scale insects, and spider mites can also infest the tree.

Regularly inspect the tree for any signs of infestation and use insecticidal soap or neem oil to control the pests. 

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Thespesia Populnea Uses

The tree is used for a variety of purposes. It is used as a medicinal plant for the treatment of asthma, colds, and fever, as well as for skin ailments. People also use it as an ornamental tree in gardens and as a source of timber for furniture and boat building.

In some parts of India, it is used as a fodder tree. The leaves and flowers of Thespesia Populnea are also used to make herbal teas.

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