Silver tree


Silver tree

Leucadendron argenteum

Scientific name

Sunny spot preferred; Granite & Shale Fynbos; Requires granite or shale-derived soils. Size: Medium

Propagation instructions

By seed

Trees can be propagated from seeds or cuttings. The best time to sow seed is in autumn, the start of the rainy season in the Cape. Sow fresh seeds in open seedbeds or trays filled with a well-drained medium and place in a sunny position. Broadcast the seed evenly, firm down and cover with clean sand or milled bark to the depth of approximately 10 mm. Keep the soil moist. Germination takes about 3 to 6 weeks. Seedlings are ready to transplant into individual containers when the first pair of true leaves appear. Use a medium with good drainage, water thoroughly and place in a well ventilated, sunny position to grow on. The young seedlings grow fast and should be ready to be planted out after a year.

By cutting

The silver tree has the reputation of being difficult in cultivation, mainly because it is very susceptible to the root rot fungus Phytophthora and like most members of the protea family dislikes soggy soils, still, humid air and strong fertilizers. But, they are actually quite easy to grow if they are treated correctly and have been known to thrive far from their natural home.

Before planting, clear the site of weeds and dig in well-matured compost. Dig individual holes large enough for the root ball of each plant. Plant them about 1 m apart. During the first two years the plants must be watered regularly. By mulching with compost or wood chips to a depth of 50 mm, weed development is kept to a minimum. It is important not to dig around the base of a tree, or inside the drip line to avoid damaging the roots, as the root-rot fungus infects the plant via broken or damaged roots. Other advantages of mulching are that the soil is kept moist, soil temperatures are kept down and the plant receives nutrients as it decomposes.

Plants in pots or bags should be planted out or potted up into bigger bags before the roots grow through to prevent damaging the roots.

When growing silver trees, remember that they are very sensitive to any root disturbance and do not dig around their base or inside their drip line. Unfortunately once it is noticed that a tree is infected, the roots will already have been badly damaged and it is too late to save the tree.

References and further reading

PlantZAfrica profile »

Wikipedia page »

Seedbank Quantity
Arundel Seedbank 34
Total 34
Nursery Quantity
Amsterdam 20
Mother Nursery 2
Total 22

This table below shows how many plants we are trying to obtain for this species.

Site Area Quantity
Site #64 Mowbray 6
Site #15 Rosebank 10
Site #66 Mowbray 20
Site #64 Mowbray 12
Total 48

Can you help grow this species?

We are in need of this species! Can you help? Maybe you have this species at home, or perhaps you can collect seeds or cuttings (if applicable) from friends or from a public space. If so, why don't you help establish this species in areas where it is much needed!

I can help!

Important characteristics

Conservation status: Endangered

This species was selected because it has various important characteristics.

This is a bird-friendly species

It can be used as a construction material

Sensitive roots

Drought-resistant

Fragrant

Pioneer species

Leucadendron argenteum is indigenous to: Peninsula Shale Renosterveld

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