Albizia julibrissin 'SUMMER CHOCOLATE'®

Albizia julibrissin
Albizia julibrissin 'SUMMER CHOCOLATE'®
silk tree, false acacia
SIZE/TYPE small tree
LEAVES deciduous broadleaf
COLOUR OF LEAVES burgundy red
COLOUR OF FLOWERS combined:cream and deep pink
LOCATION full sun
SOIL TYPE neutral to alkaline
SOIL MOISTURE REQUIREMENTS dry and sharply drained (xeriscape)
USDA zone (lowest) 6b   (down to -21°C)
FOR ZONE 5+6 Code of winter protection zone 5+6
FOR ZONE 7 Code of winter protection zone 7
BELONGS TO CATEGORIES Deciduous broadleaf
Summer blooms
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A spectacular new variety of silk tree comes from Japan and is called Summer Chocolate®. It was discovered in 1990 as a seedling in a controlled planting of Albizia julibrissin in 1990. It was patented in the USA under PP 13,822 in 2003. It is considered a rarity for lovers of exotic-looking plants of milder climates.

Named Summer Chocolate® it offers a stunning feature – deep burgundy foliage. The alternate leaves are bi-pinnate, delicate and persistent in the colour shade. This is what differs this albizia from other plants with burgundy foliage: Summer Chocolate® leaves emerge almost greeny-yellow and turn deep burgundy-black when mature, whereas in case of most other plants their leaves emerge as bright red and fade to paler shades. Albiza leaves close for night and for periods of rain.

The flowers are a bit deeper pink than on the species. They are corymbs, or one would say hairy spheres with creamy white bottom and bright pink top. The buds are light green. It flowers profusely only on fully insolated locations.

Silk tree makes a wide shrub or a small tree with spreading, dome-shaped crown. It is relatively fast growing and to ensure that new growths will have time to ripen we do not recommend fertilizing (unless selective flower-encouraging solution used). If you need to prune it do so after the danger of all frost in spring. Albizia will not flower if you cut more than a third of last year's growth but will make long shoots.

Give it a good mixture of semi-fertile, well-drained soil. It must never stand in water. It likes full blasting sun and the more heat it can take the more it will flower. So find it such position sheltered from winter wind. Mulch well for winter but let the sun warm up the soil above its roots in summer. It can take long periods of drought once established, however, sufficient moisture in summer months will ensure denser and healthier foliage. It is hardy to -20°C (USDA zone 6b) and can withstand short spells of lower temperatures. If the branches are injured after unusually cold winter it readily regerated from older wood.

Last update 11-12-2008

Gleditsia triacanthos
Albizia julibrissin
  • STANDARD QUALITY - Plants of this group are 1st class quality with number of branches and overall density adequate to their size and age, considering they were container grown.
  • DE LUXE QUALITY - This label guarantees a luxurious quality of manually selected plants that, compared to their height and age, are exceptionally dense and beautiful.
  • EXTRA - These plants are usually mature and bigger specimens with exceptional overall appearance.
  • STANDARD (as described in the plant form) means a tree with a trunk of 190-210 cm and a crown at the top, unless specified differently. The commercial size for trees is their girth measured in the height of 1m from ground.
  • HOBBY - These plants are of the same quality as our standard-quality plants but younger and therefore cheaper.
  • SHRUB - a woody plant with branches growing bushy from the ground level.
  • HALF-STANDARD or MINI-STANDARD - a small tree with shorter trunk, its size is usually specified.
  • FEATHERED - These are trees with branches growing already from the base of the trunk and up along the stem.
  • GRASSES and PERENNIALS - Sizes given usually read the diameter of the pot or the clump, as specified.
LARGE PLANTS over 150 cmspecimens, screening and hedging shrubs

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