Brachychiton Is The King Of Bottle Trees. Home Care. Photo

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Brachychiton Is The King Of Bottle Trees. Home Care. Photo
Brachychiton Is The King Of Bottle Trees. Home Care. Photo

Video: Brachychiton Is The King Of Bottle Trees. Home Care. Photo

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Video: Brachychiton tree - grow and care (Bottle Tree) 2023, January

Among indoor plants, there are many crops with a thickened succulent stem, which are often called "bottle". But there is only one real bottle tree - this "legitimate" name bears a rather rare, valuable and very original brachychiton. Outwardly, this picturesque miracle really looks like a small bottle with a bunch of beautiful branches with carved leaves sticking out of it. Despite the fact that indoor brachychitons do not at all resemble their ancestors who came to us from Australia, this plant does not change its character even when grown in pots. Not a capricious and hardy brachychiton, it conquers with its modest requirements for growing conditions, and the beauty of greenery, and enviable endurance. This fan of frequent airing has rightfully earned the title of one of the most original Australian exotics in our interiors.

Rock Brachychiton at the Royal Botanic Gardens of Sydney
Rock Brachychiton at the Royal Botanic Gardens of Sydney


  • Australian competitor to classic bonsai
  • Types of brachychiton
  • Brachychiton care at home
  • Diseases and pests
  • Reproduction of brachychitons

Australian competitor to classic bonsai

Due to its appearance, brachychiton not only easily complements any collection of indoor bonsai, but is also able to completely replace expensive forms that require decades of formation in the interior, and sometimes even outshine them at home. This plant strikingly combines the beauty of silhouettes with attractive details and the ability to act as an almost sculptural accent. No other bottle-shaped houseplant, no matter how thickened on the shoots resemble vessels, can compete with brachychiton in the effect of a miniature miracle. The ability of this woody plant, exceeding 15 m in height in nature, to be surprisingly compact and miniature in a pot culture, is unparalleled.At the same time, brachychiton retains its mini-format for decades and is actually one of the most stable plants in modern collections.

Brachychiton (Brachychiton) is often confused with other plants with a thickened stem, in particular, with a jatropha, but once you have such a handsome man in the house, you will never again compare this culture with competitors. Brachychitons represent not so famous in indoor floriculture, but to most novice florists, the Sterculiaceae family is completely unknown. This is a plant whose foliage and trunk are equally beautiful.

The original bottle-shaped, with intertwined roots, the brachychiton's trunk really resembles a vessel and is typical, capable of storing moisture in the lower part, a trunk with a dense smooth bark. But the roots of the bottle tree are also quite remarkable. Rod, powerful, they often stick out from the soil, raise plants like legs, only adding unique beauty to it. Indoor brachychitons are often grown by artificially stimulating various curvatures and even interlacing of the stem, due to which the most bizarre shapes are obtained. But sometimes the twisting effect is formed precisely due to the roots protruding on the surface, which with age become as if a single whole with the shoots.

Brachychiton multi-colored (Brachychiton discolor)
Brachychiton multi-colored (Brachychiton discolor)

Types of brachychiton

In room culture, there are 4 types of brachychiton. At the same time, all plants are equally compact and retain their miniature size, and sometimes they are even dwarf forms. The shape of the leaves and flowering help to distinguish them. True, the latter to be observed in a room or greenhouse culture is a great rarity that can be expected for decades. But in nature, brachychitons also differ in height.

  • Maple-leaved brachychiton (Brachychiton acerifolius) is a branchy, evergreen tree that in nature can grow up to 35 m with a trunk width of up to 12 m. It is very easy to distinguish it from its fellows. Its leaves resemble maple greens. Shiny, leathery, bright green, up to 20 cm in length, they are divided into 3-5 lobes and with their graceful shape seem to emphasize the originality and solidity of the trunk. The flowers are coral red, shaped like lanterns, and gathered in liquid panicles of flowers.
  • Rock brachychiton (Brachychiton rupestris), even in nature, is a more compact plant, limited to a height of only 15 m. A characteristic feature of this species is that the trunk expands downward. It was the rock brachychiton that received the nickname of the bottle tree because of its shape, although today all other brachychitons are also called that. It has, in contrast to the maple-leaved, solid, dark green, leathery and shinier leaves.
  • Different-leaved brachychiton (Brachychiton populneus) differs from other species by oval, up to 10 cm long leaves with very elongated tips, found on the same tree with the same frequency as carved leaves divided into 3-5 lobes. Flowers in axillary inflorescences are distinguished by a bright inner red tone and a light outer color.
  • Brachychiton multi-colored (Brachychiton discolor) can be distinguished from the rest by the pubescent surface of the leaf plates, from below and completely flaunting with a whitish-felt coating. It is also distinguished by dividing into 3-7 lobes (whereas in other brachychitons, the leaves are divided by a maximum of 5 lobes), as well as by the fact that the leaves always sit on long petioles, and the shoots adorn not only with thickenings, but also grayish-green, and not gray-brown color of the bark. In nature, it is easiest to distinguish this species by its inflorescences. Reminiscent in shape, ideal exotic bells, painted in a bright pink-red tone, they are always collected in dense axillary panicles of inflorescences.
Brachychiton rock (Brachychiton rupestris)
Brachychiton rock (Brachychiton rupestris)
Brachychiton varifolia (Brachychiton populneus)
Brachychiton varifolia (Brachychiton populneus)
Maple-leaved brachychiton (Brachychiton acerifolius)
Maple-leaved brachychiton (Brachychiton acerifolius)

Brachychiton care at home

Despite their impeccable appearance and rather exotic appearance, brachychitons cannot be called difficult plants to grow. With gradual adaptation and good care, they can adapt to warm wintering, although they are more accustomed to cool conditions. Watering and feeding for this plant is standard, transplants are carried out only when the plants fully master the substrate available to them. At the same time, brachychiton perfectly tolerates dry conditions.

In fact, the only difficulty is providing access to fresh air, since bottle trees absolutely cannot stand the stagnation of the latter. The unique silhouettes of this plant and their graceful leaves will delight both experienced and novice florists with their beauty, because there are practically no difficulties in growing it. And the simplicity of reproduction makes it easy to get new plants from cuttings left after annual pruning.

Lighting for brachychiton

Accustomed to the hot Australian sun, Brachychitons also prefer the brightest lighting in indoor culture due to their origin. This plant not only loves the brightest locations in the house, but also adores direct sunlight. At the same time, the tolerance of midday rays in summer, which almost no other houseplant can tolerate, depends only on the conditions to which the plant was accustomed. If brachychiton is accustomed to more diffused lighting, then midday rays can leave burns on the leaves.

To understand whether shading is needed or not, it is enough to observe how the leaves of the plant behave in the summer on the south side. For brachychitons, both southern and western or eastern windows are equally well suited. This plant will not be able to grow inside the interior, it does not like artificial lighting at all. Even partial shade, not to mention a stronger shading, brachychiton cannot stand and immediately signals a lack of light with a change in color and a depressed appearance. It is better to accustom the bottle tree to any changes in lighting gradually, slowly and with as long as possible the period of stay in the intermediate zone.

Comfortable temperature

The temperature regime for keeping this exotic plant is easy to find. In the warm season, brachychitons prefer rather hot temperatures from 25 degrees Celsius, they feel most comfortable in the temperature range from 25 to 28 degrees. But these plants prefer to winter in a cool place, releasing the most beautiful leaves, if for a dormant period they were provided with a temperature of 10 to 16 degrees. But at the same time, brachychitons, if you even slightly lower the temperature with the transition to the resting stage, perfectly adapt to normal room temperature and are able to grow even in invariably warm conditions throughout the year. The only thing that is affected by a warmer wintering is the intensity of plant care, which will not allow reducing watering to minimum.

In growing brachychiton, the most difficult thing is not to ensure certain temperature indicators, but to satisfy the love of this plant for fresh air. Brachychiton literally cannot survive without him. He does not tolerate air stagnation in the room, he needs constant, daily ventilation, regardless of the season and the functional purpose of the room. Therefore, it is best to place this exotic in rooms that are already often ventilated, where it is customary to open a window or balcony, combining your habits with the preferences of this plant. Brachychitons are not afraid of drafts; they need to be protected only from cold air currents in winter.

Brachychiton planted in open ground
Brachychiton planted in open ground

Watering and air humidity

It is not for nothing that brachychitons have a stalk that stores water. They can forgive you for some carelessness, in particular, they will not suffer if you miss one or the other watering due to a busy work schedule or an unexpected trip. Of course, the more systematic the care of the plant, the better. Watering this plant too abundantly is not worth it. In the spring-summer period, all brachychitons are watered with the frequency with which the substrate dries out: the following procedure is carried out only after the top layer of the soil about the pots has dried. But the winter watering regime directly depends on the air temperature in the room.

With a cool winter, brachychiton is rarely watered, providing practically dry conditions with scant and infrequent procedures that maintain the viability of the plant. During wintering in normal room conditions, watering is only slightly reduced, allowing the upper and partially middle layer of soil in pots to dry out (that is, focusing on the same indicators as in spring or summer). The most important thing when switching to a winter watering regime during a cool winter is to make the transition as smooth as possible, gradually reducing the substrate moisture.

Pay attention to the quality of the water. It should be not only soft, but also necessarily the same temperature as the air in the room (when kept cool, it should be cool enough, and a little lukewarm in summer with heat).

The biggest pleasant surprise the brachychitons have prepared for those who do not like spraying and other methods of increasing air humidity. This plant is able to put up with anything, even the driest air in apartments and does not need any procedures for correcting humidity indicators. The only exception is the effect of heating devices on brachychiton, near which it is better not to place plants, or to specifically protect them from hot air currents, supplementing the measures with regular spraying.

Feeding for brachychiton

The classical approach to feeding is quite suitable for such an exotic as brachychiton. In autumn and winter, these plants do not need fertilizers, and in the period from March to September, feeding for it is carried out quite rarely and with restraint. For a plant, the frequency of procedures is 1 every 3 weeks. It is best to use special fertilizers for succulents or universal complex fertilizers for brachychiton.

Brachychiton pruning
Brachychiton pruning

Pruning brachychitons

Since plants already need to be placed in the brightest locations in the house, it is simply impossible to increase the illumination for brachychiton due to seasonal reductions in daylight hours. And plants in our climate inevitably stretch out, no matter how well they are looked after. It is this factor that determines the need to annually prune brachychiton. In the spring, as soon as daylight hours begin to increase, ideally in February-March, the extended shoots on the plant must be cut off. At the same time, do not rush to throw them away: the cuttings of the brachychiton root perfectly and allow you to get all new bottle trees every year. In this case, cropping can be used to form the crown, giving it certain silhouettes.

The haircut of this plant has its own nuances. If you are going to cut the shoots strongly, to old, lignified parts, and do not cut only the young parts of the branches, then the pruning must be stretched, try to cut one shoot at a time. The next branch can be cut only when the slices on the previous one are tightened. Under no circumstances should the entire haircut be carried out on old shoots at once.

Transplant and substrate

For brachychitons, it is necessary to select extremely loose soil mixtures with a sufficient degree of air permeability. As a rule, the substrate is prepared from equal parts of sod and leafy soil, humus, peat and sand, or peat and leafy soil are mixed in equal parts, adding twice as much sand.

Plants should be transplanted only after the roots of the brachychiton have completely filled the potted substrate. An annual or regular such procedure will not benefit brachychitons. In each specific case, it is necessary to focus on the rate of plant development.

The main difficulty in transplanting is to keep the root collar at the same depth at which the plant is used to growing. A deeper planting brachychiton will not stand, but a higher planting for exposing the roots and the formation of a more interesting shape of the trunk, highlighting the intertwined roots against its background can be carried out.

The containers for this plant must be selected very carefully. The shape of the bottle tree pot does not matter, but keep in mind that the diameter of the container should increase by no more than 5 cm compared to the previous container. But the materials from which the pots for brachychiton are made play a very important role. This plant, due to its shape and the fact that the above-ground part is much heavier than the underground, has insufficient stability and only heavy clay or ceramic containers are suitable for it.


Diseases and pests

Brachychiton is considered one of the most resistant plants, deservedly so. In room culture, the only thing that threatens them is the spread of rot as a result of too much waterlogging of the substrate or low planting. The usual appearance of rot on the trunk leads to the death of the plant, it is almost impossible to save it.

Common growing problems

  • the appearance of sunburn as a result of a very sharp change in lighting, rearrangement from diffused lighting to a hot southern location;
  • depressed state, pale, sluggish leaves with insufficient lighting, pollution of the room with tobacco smoke or with waterlogging.
Flowers of brachychiton maple-leaved (Brachychiton acerifolius)
Flowers of brachychiton maple-leaved (Brachychiton acerifolius)

Reproduction of brachychitons

Because of the annual pruning, brachychiton is very easy to propagate with apical cuttings. Cuttings with a length of at least 10 cm are suitable for rooting. After treatment with a growth stimulant, they can be rooted in sand or in a mixture of peat and sand. In order for the process to be successful, it is very important to maintain the temperature above 24 degrees Celsius and be sure to cover the cuttings with a cap or film, periodically removing them for airing.

Brachychiton seeds are propagated less often. Germination requires the same hot conditions and shallow or shallow seeding.

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