Golden shower tree that you can grow easily for gardens, pot planting and bonsai. Cassia fistula, known in many other names, is a native of south East Asian countries.
Truly the plant grows well in Kerala and other tropical places. Golden shower is the state flower of Kerala, preferably like jack fruit, which is the state fruit.
Golden shower tree-a short description
Really cassia fistula is a flowering tree, that grows up to a maximum height of about 15 metres.
This drought resistant plant can thrive in dry climates with full sun, but is frost intolerant.
Owing to the low growth rate, it takes about ten years for the plant to produce flowers. However blooming starts within five or six years under favourable conditions.
Bright yellow flowers seen as drooping bunches is really awesome. During the months of April and May, the tree blooms to the fullest, mostly without any leaves.
Long cylindrical pods develop from flowers that gradually turns black on ripening.
Golden shower tree for gardens
Generally we can find golden shower trees in parks or other such public places. Definitely as an ornamental tree, along with other flowering trees like gulmohar, pride of India, asoka etc.
Spacious gardens are really ideal for such large trees, so that we can enjoy its beauty to a maximum. However, we can grow them in home gardens as dwarf, through proper pruning.
In a like manner, golden shower tree is ideal for pot planting as well as for making bonsai.
Favourable factors for the plant in Kerala
Loamy or sandy soil, availability of rain etc. are the favourable factors that make the plant to thrive. Surprisingly the western ghats of Kerala, is having all these in abundance.
Likewise we can find the trees in the plains as well as coastal areas.
Ritual importance of golden shower flower
Onam and vishu are the most important festivals of Kerala associated with harvesting. Vishu is celebrated during the first day of the Malayalam month Medam that falls during the mid April.
Also it is the time when the cassia fistula trees are in full bloom.
Preparation of kani is one of the most important parts of vishu celebration. Truly it is the first thing to be seen in the wee hours of the day.
Traditionally people believe that good luck and prosperity for the coming year is based on the vishu kani.
Among other auspicious things, cassia fistula flower is one of the the most important items for the kani. Other things are holy lamp, gold, money, cereals, new clothes, etc.
Surely there are slight variations in this, according to different regions.
Moreover ,there is an interesting story behind the importance of golden shower flower for vishu celebration. Main character in the story is Indian deity lord Krishna, in the form of a kid.
Though the pulp taken from the fruits, is used as a laxative, it is not advisable to consume it without proper guidance.
Golden shower tree for gardens-how to grow
We can propagate the plant through the germination of seeds, that are collected from mature ripe pods. Normally it takes about 20 to 30 days for the seeds to sprout.
Likewise we can buy seedlings of the plant from nurseries.
Rarely we can find saplings underneath large trees, that are also ideal for replanting. But take care against breaking the roots while collecting the saplings.
Planting golden shower tree directly in soil
First make pits of dimensions about one foot for your golden shower plant. Then fill it with a mixture of compost and garden soil. After that we can plant our sapling in it.
When the plant reaches a height of about five feet, we can start pruning. Certainly a sharp knife or pruning shears is fine for this.
Regular pruning on an yearly basis helps to keep the plant to the required height.
Pot planting golden shower tree
Similarly we can grow our golden shower tree in pots. Large ceramic or terracotta pots are good for this.
Filling the pot with a medium, preferably a home made potting mixture prepared in the following ratio is fine.
Never forget to water the plant plant moderately on a regular basis after planting. Keep the pot in shade for a few days and gradually move to direct sunlight.
Definitely you can prune your plant as stated above, for retaining its beauty and health.
|Compost or dried cow dung||25%|
|Neem seed powder and bone meal||25%|
Golden shower tree bonsai
Surely it is one of the most beautiful flowering tropical bonsai, that we can make easily. Especially like ixora, adenium, tamarind, etc. that are other tropical flowering bonsai trees.
To start training, we can follow the steps as stated above for pot planting. After that we can decide which branches are to be retained for transforming it to a bonsai.
Using a pruning shears we can remove all the extra branches.
Further, we can start wiring our bonsai by bending the branches gently to the required directions. Soft copper or aluminium wires are good for this.
Then repot your golden shower tree bonsai every two or three years. For this, take out the whole plant out of the pot and remove 2/3 of the roots using a pruning shears.
After that, fill the pot with fresh medium and repot your bonsai.
A few years of careful training can change your golden shower sapling to a beautiful bonsai.
Finally, you can transfer your bonsai to an original bonsai pot.
Doubtlessly it can make your garden as well as balcony amazing. Especially along with other bonsai trees like ficus benjamina, ficus microcarpa, fukien tea tree, etc.
Never forget that the health and beauty of your bonsai always depend on the way you care it.