Sophora microphylla
Weeping kowhai, Small-leaf kowhai
Type/Hardiness Herbaceous, Perennial, Tree, Shrub, Hardy
Flowering period Spring
Height
Light preference Full sun
Soil preference Moderately fertile
Sowing time/depth Any time, 0.2in/5mm
A very attractive small, semi-evergreen tree, native to New Zealand. Produces masses of pendulous, waxy, yellow blooms in spring. Needs a sheltered spot (against a wall is ideal) and full sun to grow as a tree, because although it is hardy to -15C/5F, it can be knocked back somewhat by frost, in which case it will develop a shrubby habit. Often grown as a bonsai.
Sowing and/or growing instructions
Can be sown at any time of year. Carefully nick the seed coat, then soak in very hot (some suggest boiling) water for 24 hours. Sow at 20-30C, no more than 5mm/.25in deep in good quality, moist (but not waterlogged) compost. A cold spell may help germination, which usually occurs in spring, but can be erratic, taking up to a year. Grow seedlings on in individual pots in the greenhouse for the first year, then keep in a sheltered spot outside until large enough to be planted in their final positions.
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