Monday, May 23, 2011

Plant Find: Ginkgo biloba trees

I have long admired the Ginkgo tree. I can pretty much name every place where I have seen one now - the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens, the Missouri Botanic Gardens and two here in town (one small tree in my neighbor's backyard and one near a park by our house). I have even been inspired by the Ginkgo to paint my first piece of art (maybe - it may or may not look like art once I'm finished).

Even though these trees are well known and well loved, they are really hard to find around here. The only ones I have seen for sale were very expensive at a local nursery. I got some seeds from a friend, but none of them have sprouted for me. Then I came across a real deal on eBay several weeks ago! For $14, I got two saplings between 18" and 24" tall each - shipping included! That's much better than the $150 I would have had to pay for a 6 foot tree here locally!

Leaves just beginning to emerge from the tip of the tree planted in the ground.
So I have two Ginkgos now. What will I do with two of these things? Not sure. For now, one is planted in our backyard near the corner garden. I have put a tomato cage around it to keep the pups from running it over while it is still small. The other is in a pot, where it will remain for the time being. I don't know how long it will be happy in a pot, but I imagine it is doable, considering some people train Ginkgos to be bonsai specimens. My two trees are already too big to be trained as bonsai, but maybe this one will still make a nice container tree. Of the two trees I now have, the one in the pot is growing more quickly than the one in the ground, possibly because it is in partial shade and just quicker to establish.

Ginkgo biloba leaves out and mature. This is actually the tree I potted.
The two plants were sent to me bareroot, wrapped in moist paper towel and had not yet produced any leaves, but they are already starting to pop out now, as you can see in the pictures above. Ginkgo trees have the most amazing leaf shape and really beautiful color in the fall, when they turn solid yellow. I am looking forward to that show every year.


  1. It is beautiful, and I assume they will take our winters? The leaves are so unique. Hmm....I am wondering if I have seen one around town. I will have to look into it and see if they flower in the spring. Glad you found them.

  2. It's so funny that they're rare for you guys. They're EVERYWHERE around here. It's really gross in the fall when the females trees set fruit and the whole city smells like vomit. The trees are so pretty though that it's worth it.

  3. I picked up some seeds from a park in Brooklyn NY and they sprouted. also saw a few months later saplings in a park under a tree. You could easily pick some for free... I heard they grow slowly. Nice trees. Allover in NYC.