The Balsa Tree is a large, fast-growing tree that is native to the American tropics. It has large, cordate leaves and large, white flowers. The flowers are pollinated by bats, monkeys and other mammals. Grows up to 90 feet in height. It is evergreen or deciduous in the dry season. It is well-known for its very lightweight wood that is used in modelmaking and crafts. Hardy in zones 10-12.
Growing Instructions for the Balsa Tree
The seeds have a hard seed coat that has to be treated, or scarified, in order for water to enter the seeds so that they can sprout. 1. Scarify the seeds by nicking or sanding the seed coat. The seeds can be sanded with sandpaper, a nail file or an emery board. 2. The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Use a sterile seed starter mix, if available. It prevents soil pathogens from damaging the seeds and the seedlings. If not available, then make a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. 3. Put the soil in a pot. 4. Sow the seeds on the soil. 5. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil. 6. Water the seeds. Keep the soil moist but not wet. 7. Place the pots in an area with warm temperatures in full sun or part shade. 8. When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.