Baobabs: Darlings leaves and canopy…

Baobabs love direct sunlight on the window sill in the living room. They sprout leaves once the days tend to get longer in February. To support the process do not water the trees for more than a week. Apparently this resembles the situation they would find in the “wild” – of course, there we are not talking about “no water for days” but rather no water for months… Baobabs in the “wild” sprout leaves days to weeks before the rainy season – where their surrounding tends to be very dry and hot. Having their leaves in place before the rain starts is obviously the best to protect their roots from damage or even rotting off. Baobabs manage to sprout leaves before the rainy season starts because they draw stored water from their trunks or thick branches.

In their natural environment, Baobabs keep their leaves for about three months on average. This has earned them their name “upside down tree” – because without leaves they look as if they stretched their roots into the skies.

If your Baobab does not carry leaves for many months on end (up to nine months in the wild) – no reason to worry: usually it is not dead but rather undergoes sort of a resting period. Your Baobab comes with a special feature: it carries a thin layer of chlorophyll cells underneath the top layer of bark. With this layer it can still photosynthesize – even without carrying leaves! The tree does not sleep – it’s “metabolism” is reduced.

Baobabs lose their leaves when the other trees outside do so, too: in Europe around October each year. I have never quite understood this rhythm – they behave opposite to their relatives in the countries they originate from – usually Sub-Saharan Africa. The trees adjust to the “cycles” or seasons in their new home: Europe. While we shiver in our “winter” it is summer – and rainy season – in their country of origin. As a matter of fact “high time” for them to sprout leaves – but on the windowsill in Germany they just drop their leaves like all the other trees outside.

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