Aralia spinosa and Tetradium danielli

ben773(5a)February 4, 2013

I read conflicting report about the cold hardiness of Devil's Walking Stick and Bee Bee Tree in zone 5a. I like to hear about your personal experience (not info perpetuated in the web)growing these plants. I like to grow them as bee forage. Do they grow and FLOWER in zone 5a? I'm in northern Illinois. Any personal and/or local experience (northern Illinois, Wisconsin or Zone 5a resident)is appreciated. Thanks.

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calliope(6)

I have two aralia.........I'm not zone five. Five/six cusp. But, I'm curious if you are very familiar with them in general. I wouldn't call them bee magnets, and I have a colony on site and can't say as I have ever noticed them working the auralia any more than any other bloom. Perhaps I have failed in proper pruning of the shrubs (and Yes, I'd call mine more mega shrubs than trees) but frankly their spines are nasty and I've never had the inclination to mess with them any more than absolutely necessary. They were procured through an arboretum, simply because they sounded interesting to me and it was a plant I don't see in the trade in this area. Let's just say they are non-descript enough in the flesh I never even noticed the fruit. I'll have to actually look at them closely next summer. One of mine is variegated, although sources say they only exists in the species.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 1:27AM
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lkz5ia

I have both, but are young plants. They have been around without dieback when the -20F lows hit for a couple winters, though may have been covered in a lot of snow. Bee Bee hasn't bloomed yet, but Aralia spinosa has already been blooming and spreading with root suckers.

Aralia elata I read suppose to be hardier, though had dieback on that in early years, think it grew out of it because the last -20F winter it didn't, and is already a lot taller than my spinosa and more spiny than it too and blooming later, too.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 9:42AM
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ben773(5a)

Thanks for the input calliope and lkz5ia.
BTW, lkz5ia - How old and big is your Bee bee tree? Did you start it from seed? What is your growing condition...part sun, full sun, dry or moist?
Regarding your aralias, how tall and how old are they when they first flower? Thanks.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 1:17PM
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Dzitmoidonc(6)

I have Aralia spinos., great bee trees. After the fruit forms, they become bird magnets. During bloom, I can hear the buzzing from 10 yards away.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 6:15PM
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lkz5ia

I planted them in their permanent spots back in 2010 I think, never bothered with mulch, grass growing by them, so they are still shorter than me(6'), full sun and dry conditions.

Aralia spinosa seems to spread out via suckers rather than being interested in the vertical growth game. It should flower within a year or two after you plant it, so flowers sooner than beebee tree, since that hasn't flowered for me yet. Another great thing about Aralia spinosa is great purple fall color, too.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 12:33PM
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ben773(5a)

Glad to hear from you lkz5ia. How about A. elata. If given a choice, which one would you plant? Also, which one attracts honeybee better? Thanks. First hand experience is so useful.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 7:52PM
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lkz5ia

As a guess, I think elata could attract more because flowers later, about month later than spinosa. Last year was end of August when flowered for me. But spinosa is less thorny and has great fall color, haven't had fall color on elata.
So get both, they compliment each other's flowering times.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 7:44PM
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jimbobfeeny(5a IN)

I personally would go with Aralia spinosa. I've got one, and it does well here in Zone 5. In a good spot, they will flower until Autumn.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 7:58PM
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ben773(5a)

Thank you to both of you for your input. lkz5ia, thanks for the pic also. Great fall color, almost like sasafrass. I ordered both seeds and they are stratifying in my fridge. I hope they germinate .

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 8:50PM
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ben773(5a)

lkz5ia - How old and how tall is your Tetradium? Where did you buy your plant. I read that they are fast growers. I just bought some seeds of Evodia hupehensis syn Tetradium danielii. Thanks.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 8:58PM
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lkz5ia

Yeah, they can grow fast, but when i transplant things out of my nursery they don't grow much first years, because conditions are polar opposite, I think planted in 2010 and probably only 5' tall, last year was the year things stood still or died, not much growth happening int that bad drought weather.. those first couple was from reeseville ridge nursery as tiny plants, but grown a lot more from seed, they are pretty easy from that, too.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 9:51PM
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ben773(5a)

lkz5ia:
Thanks for the info. BTW, I found a source of Aralia spinosa from ebay. Listed as bare root plant, about 12-18 ins, seller in Louisiana. I may give it a try just in case the seed route is too slow. I haven't given up hope based on your experience in IA.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 8:06PM
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jimbobfeeny(5a IN)

Bear in mind that a plant from Louisiana is probably not going to be hardy to zone 5. From what I read, Aralia spinosa is supposed to be fairly fast-growing from seed.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 6:32AM
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