Growing Coral Trees In The Yard
Coral trees are tropical, deciduous ornamentals often used for shade but really prized for their coral-red flowers that coat the bare branches in spring. These trees are cultivated for a variety of purposes such as shade, natural fences and wind barriers. Parts of the coral tree are also used medicinally in certain cultures. The native habitat of the coral tree includes eastern Africa, India, islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, Southeast Asia, and southern China in warmer areas. It can be found growing in cultivation all over the parts of the world with tropical climates. It does not usually survive in areas where there is any frost. It prefers a climate with a dry winter and rainy summer, but it can tolerate a range of tropical humid climates. It prefers sandy soil and lower elevations with lots of sun, but will grow in a variety of conditions. Some species of coral tree can grow as tall as 80 feet (24 m), but a height ranging between 33 to 66 feet (10 to 20 m) is more typical, and they tend to spread out near the top.
The bark is usually grayish and in many species the branches have black spines that resemble tiger claws. The leaves are usually large, green, and come in a variety of different shapes. The trees are deciduous and leaves fall off during the dry winter season. Flowering usually occurs in late winter or early spring before the leaves return and the flowers often grow in large, showy clusters with brilliant colors, the most common being bright red or reddish orange. The seeds most often grow in colorful long pods located just below the flowers and are often poisonous.