Baobabs and “Wet Feed” – Watering and Soil

Baobabs do not like “wet feet” – their roots do not tolerate standing water for too long. Therefore, the pot in which the Baobab lives should be well drained. Before you put a Baobab in a pot or repot it put pebbles at the bottom of the pot. They support quick water drainage. Place a mixture of cactus soil and sand on top of the pebbles – this will facilitate quick water drainage, too. The sand should not contain salt – using sand from the sea is not recommendable because Baobab roots do not like salt in the soil. Baobabs are frugal creatures and do normally not need fertilizer. Mine are happy with the cactus soil from the hardware store around the corner.

On average Baobabs in pots need water once a week – depending on the weather conditions and whether they live outside or indoors. If they sit outside in a sunny and hot spot they need water more often. Pour water latest when the leaves show signs of water shortage (seem limp). It does not harm the Baobabs if the pot dries out completely because the trees can save some water in their trunks and branches. However, not too much because they are limited to their pots and cannot expand with their roots like their „wild“ conspecifics.

During their time of rest which usually starts in fall – around October – they drop their leaves. The amount of water needs to be reduced. The Baobabs living under the roof top in my studio during the winter period get water every other week. They do not sleep like our leaveless trees in Europe but rather have a resting period with a reduced metabolism. Baobabs still need water but in much lesser amounts than during warmer periods and whilst they carry leaves.

10 Replies to “Baobabs and “Wet Feed” – Watering and Soil”

  1. Hi, I love your site. I have successfully grown the baobab seedlings here in the Philippines and would like to repot them in a larger pot to grow bigger. Any tips?

    • Hi Sarah, congratulations for successfully growing baobabs from seeds – that is wonderful! With respect to repotting: how old are your baobabs at the moment? If they have just germinated I recommend that you leave them growing where they grow for at least half a year and even longer if possible. During their first three months they are busy growing their little tap root which helps them to survive in the wild. They are very sensitive to disturbances during that period. There is no specific time that is most suitable for repotting after that – choose any time… Hope this information helps. All the best & good luck with your lucky trees – Heike

  2. I managed to germinate 2 baobabs. They germinated about 2 weeks apart about 2 ish months ago. But the latter one has had weird curled/folded leaves pretty much since birth. I wonder what the cause may be? As far as I know they have been grown in identical conditions. And it’s still growing and not showing any yellowing/browning. The other one looks perfectly normal and healthy too. Any ideas?

      • Hi John, thanks for sending the link to the pic – did not see it at first. For one it was important information that you grow fony-baobabs and not digitata as the leaves look very different from each other. Second – it could be something in the soil, pests or a genetic variation or just the way this specific baobab grows. I assume that you have checked the leaves for pests? I have several adansonia digitata on my window sill and all but one have smooth leaves without folds/wrinkles. I have taken care of all of them in the same way, they grow in a combination of sand/soil of the same batch and – amazingly enough – one of them grows leaves with wrinkles/folds – in some areas. The tree is healthy and has “normal” leaves and the wrikeld ones. The new leaves when they come out show the wrinkles, the older ones do not. I would suggest that you keep on monitoring both trees and as long as the leaves to not get yellow-brownish spots keep on taking care of them as you have done. I would give them some more time. All the best – Heike

    • Hi John, thank you for contacting me and congratulations to germinating two baobabs successfully. It is very difficult to tell from far as I have not seen the leaves and I have no idea what you did in order to help them germinate… Maybe you could give a little more detail on that? All the best, Heike

  3. Hi I have two baobabs . My sister bought them a year ago. I planted them each one in a pot. Four months later I replanted them in bigger pots so there was more space for the roots. But the leaves began to fall. I live in Cali, Colombia and the weather hot most of the year. The temperature is between 28 to 32 degrees during daytime and 23 at night. I put pebbles and sand at the bottom of the pots . I water them once a week. But they are still without leaves. The stems were green but now they are getting darker. Could you please help me? I think my baobabs are sick. Teresa

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