Floss Silk Tree

Ceiba speciosa

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




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round


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:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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



Phoenix, Arizona

Sun City, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Aptos, California

Arcadia, California

Burbank, 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

Oceanside, 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 (2 reports)

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)

Ormond Beach, Florida

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

Houston, Texas

La Porte, Texas

La Vernia, Texas

Richmond, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 13, 2016, CEmmaGo from Ormond Beach, FL wrote:

I have a question. Recently, a large silk floss tree was lost due to a hurricane. The stump is still in the ground. Is it likely that young shoots will grow from this stump?


On Mar 23, 2016, Cal_Bear from Burbank, CA wrote:

Grows beautifully and spectacularly in Southern California where I live - and needs very little water. I haven't seen a one of these succumb to our mult-year drought but instead put out masses of orchid-like flowers starting about June-July and lasting through late fall.
I have one in my front yard that blooms in August, another outside my workplace window that blooms starting in October.
These have been planted along the freeways and around the local mall, some are "spiker" than others, the Silk Floss at my workplace has gray spikes all the way out to the end of the branches.


On Mar 22, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

A spectacular show in bloom. I've seen several in the area around West Palm Beach.

This is a large, fast-growing tree. According to research performed at the University of Florida, it's also among the most subject to wind damage. I'd avoid planting one within 100' of a building or other valuable structure, especially where hurricanes are a common threat. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/FR/FR17300.pdf


On Sep 14, 2015, bigthicket from Houston, TX (Zone 9b) wrote:

My mother kept a young, potted C. speciosa on her patio (in Northeast TX) for years, & brought it indoors every winter... when it finally grew too large to haul, she gave it to me. I planted it in Houston (midtown), & now it's huge & blooms in September every year. Butterflies & Hummingbirds use it.
It froze to the ground during our rough winter (low 20's) a few years ago, but grew vigourously back into a joined clump of 4 or 5 trunks. C. speciosa tolerates only a brief, mild frost... a hard freeze would kill it.
It is surprisingly fast-growing in full sun, heat, & humidity here. The leaves get singed & ratty-looking if droughty.


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!


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 -


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.


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

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


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!


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

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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 fertiliz... read more


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.


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.


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.


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 ... read more