Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Floss Silk Tree
Ceiba speciosa

Family: Bombacaceae
Genus: Ceiba (SAY-buh) (Info)
Species: speciosa (spee-see-OH-suh) (Info)

Synonym:Chorisia speciosa

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

28 members have or want this plant for trade.


over 40 ft. (12 m)

30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Fall


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:
Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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By Ulrich
Thumbnail #1 of Ceiba speciosa by Ulrich

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There are a total of 119 photos.
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13 positives
4 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive aloeAnn On Jul 3, 2014, aloeAnn from Nipomo, CA wrote:

I bought this as Chorisia speciosa. It was in a #10 can and the whole thing fit inside the car. Now it is well over 30' tall. Mine has never bloomed (16 years!) but it is in a dry garden w/ no summer water. It froze back to the trunk the first winter, but re-sprouted. The growth after the freeze has noticeably fewer thorns.

Don't plant too close to a building, this is the tree that had to be removed from next to Mission San Luis Obispo. It was damaging the foundation, but there was a big stink about the removal of a "heritage tree." Actually it was only 50 years old!

Positive rntx22 On Mar 20, 2013, rntx22 from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I started mine from seed in 2008. Found it to be quite tough here in zone 9 through drought, freezes, multiple transplants, and even a hurricane! No blooms yet, but this fall it will be 5 years old & has gotten pretty big so I'm hopefull.
You can read about its progress from germination till now in my journal -

Neutral anitafb On Oct 14, 2012, anitafb from Johannesburg
South Africa wrote:

I absolutely love this tree and have been trying to germinate its seeds without any success. The first time I tried, i basically just put them in soil. Needless to say nothing happened.
This year I thought I was being clever by pre soaking them in water on a heat pad. Checked today and they have jelly like substance oozing out. What should I do? Please could somebody give me some advise.

Neutral SunnyFlorida201 On Dec 26, 2011, SunnyFlorida201 from Naples, FL wrote:

I have a ten year old seedling that has not yet bloomed. Is there hope?

Positive alcwret On Nov 30, 2010, alcwret from Fort Myers, FL wrote:

Bought this tree from Edison/Ford Estate in Ft. Myers, Fl. It was in a pot and was about three feet tall. Grows very fast here in East Fort Myers - close to Labelle. Is roughly 12 feet tall now.Has bloomed this, its second year since planting. Going to try and propagate from seed. Spectacular tree!

Positive Manton On Jul 10, 2010, Manton from Ojai, CA wrote:

The silk floss does very well in Ojai-Sunset Magazine Zone 23

Neutral Ballyhoo On Dec 11, 2009, Ballyhoo from Bedford, MA wrote:

Please disregard my last posting. I just found out the thorny trees I saw were Honey Locust.

Neutral markdeutsch On Jun 10, 2009, markdeutsch from Pass Christian, MS wrote:

I've had limited sucess so far. The 20 degree farenheit mininmum temperature here does serious damage to young trees, but I think as the mass increases. it will be more cold tolerant.

Positive blondhavmofun On May 14, 2009, blondhavmofun from Orlando, FL wrote:

i have two of these trees and love both of them they both seem to be fast growing, i thought it would keep the squirrels from the bird feeder didnt work. i just got seeds so as to try to grow more i love them.

Positive birdbrain16 On Apr 26, 2009, birdbrain16 from New Orleans, LA wrote:

I have a variegated form of this plant I grew from a seed four years ago. Variegation is very variable thru the leaves. This tree has not bloomed yet, so I don't know if flower color is affected. Fertilization causes the plant to revert to all green in new leaves. When the excess nitrogen is used up, new foliage again comes in variegated. I am currently trying to propagate with stem cuttings. If they root, I will have limited numbers for sale.

Negative dayflower On Aug 17, 2008, dayflower from Gonzales, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I have had this tree for at least 5 yrs here in S. Louisiana and it has grown slowly, and never bloomed, so I really don't think its a good choice for our area. I recieved it as a novelity trade thru DG. It freezes back each yr but does come back in the spring and gains a little more height each yr.

Positive NaturalMagic On Oct 11, 2006, NaturalMagic from Fort Pierce, FL wrote:

There are at least five (4 pink, one white) blooming here in Fort Pierce, FL this year. They're beautiful!

Positive IslandJim On Nov 21, 2005, IslandJim from Keizer, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

One of the nice thing about this tree is that it blooms at this time of year [November] when few other large conspicuous plants do.

Positive brugmansialover On May 25, 2005, brugmansialover from Santa Maria, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Man I love this plant!!! I bought one in a five gallon last year for 8 bucks, it was very nice.. Well I took it to my parents house, and there it gets really cold in the winter, about 22 degrees... Well all the limbs froze back to the trunk.. I thought I was dead for sure.. Well when spring came, it had new shoots.. Since I live in a place where it doesn't get 22 in the winter, I took it back to my house, I get about 32 in the winter.. And its been growing fast since it was branch less. It has formed a nice round head, and I hope it blooms for me this spring.. I am always fertilizing it with Miracle Gro Bloom Booster.. When the first set of leaves came out they were kinda yellow, but since ive fertilized with the bloom booster, they are now nice and dark green.. I really recommend fertilizing your tree with bloom booster, it seems to speed the tree up a little and make its leaves a nice dark green.. We will see if the fertilizer will help the blooms be bigger and more profound!!! I will update when it has bloomed! I love love love this tree...

Positive dmutinda On Jan 14, 2005, dmutinda from Nairobi
Kenya wrote:

26 Weeks later. The seedlings I planted of this tree are growing rather fast. I'll upload the photos of the seedlings and the trees around our area especially now, they are flowering.
I may plant them in two weeks time when the rains start.

Positive DawnRain On Jul 6, 2004, DawnRain from Bartow, FL wrote:

I planted a small seed grown tree next to the house and had to move it. In doing so it broke with only a very small bit of root. The tree was about 12 ft tall. I planted and kept watered a few days then forgot it and really expected it to die, but it never even wilted. It is 4 years old and had its first bloom only a month ago. Seed came from a pink parent, but the bloom was a pale yellow with a deep pink blush in the center that faded out into the bloom. Very pretty. This tree is also a thornless variety like the parent.

Positive swamptreenelly On Dec 16, 2003, swamptreenelly from Newark, CA wrote:

Tree is catching on in Northern California, We have a few specimens on Roadside Arboretum in the Fremont, Ca. area. Don't plant to close to concrete walks, Trees will completely heal over from lawn mower wounds. Some of these trees will have different growth forms. They do grow fast from seed and treat trees with fungicide if bark becomes infected with some kind of fungus. Trees regenerate a new crown if vandalized in parks. keep a nice well around tree to avoid mower damage. Most people will seek this tree when seen in flower. There is a white flowering form available.

Positive palmbob On Sep 26, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is a great tree for Southern Calfornia- easy to germinate, and you can get a good sized tree in just 3 years from seed (one that is taller than your head, at least). Then, in just 3 more years, it will be a monster. It looks particularly tropical in having a green trunk, sometimes completely covered with barnacle-like spines, and other times, no spines at all. The gorgeous, huge, pink flowers drop by the pound daily and are really annoying to park under (creates a difficult to clean off greasy substance on the glass of your windshield). Local feral populations of parrots dine on the fruits, that look a lot like giant avocados, in the winter and spring. Then they explode, sending all this cottony fibre into the air and drop 1X2cm brown seeds that are very easy to get another tree from. Lately I have seen more and more of these trees being planted by the city along highways and in medians of Los Angeles.

Had one I chopped down a few years back and just left one of the branches on the ground since it was particularly nice and spiny, about 2' long. Was going to use it as some thing to plant other plants around, when it shot up a whole bunch of new branches. It had rooted into the ground. So this is a plant that can 'easily' if not too easily rooted from hardwood cuttings.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Phoenix, Arizona
Sun City, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Aptos, California
Arcadia, California
Canoga Park, California
Chowchilla, California
Davis, California
East Palo Alto, California
Fullerton, California
Huntington Beach, California
Lompoc, California
Long Beach, California
Los Altos, California
Los Angeles, California
Manhattan Beach, California
Nipomo, California
Oak Park, California
Oakland, California
Ojai, California
Ontario, California
Palm Springs, California
Reseda, California
San Diego, California (2 reports)
San Francisco, California
San Jose, California
San Leandro, California
Santa Barbara, California
Spring Valley, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Upland, California
Bartow, Florida (2 reports)
Big Pine Key, Florida (2 reports)
Boca Raton, Florida (2 reports)
Brooksville, Florida
Delray Beach, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fort Myers, Florida
Fort Pierce, Florida (2 reports)
Haines City, Florida
Homestead, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida (2 reports)
Kissimmee, Florida
Longwood, Florida
Loxahatchee, Florida
Naples, Florida (3 reports)
North Fort Myers, Florida
Orlando, Florida (4 reports)
Pompano Beach, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Sebastian, Florida
Sebring, Florida
Stuart, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Venice, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Winter Park, Florida
Hana, Hawaii
Gonzales, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Pass Christian, Mississippi
Bayamon, Puerto Rico
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Aransas Pass, Texas
Austin, Texas (2 reports)
Brownsville, Texas
Deer Park, Texas
Floresville, Texas
La Porte, Texas
La Vernia, Texas
Richmond, Texas

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