The ginkgo tree, or Ginkgo Biloba, is one of the longest-living trees in the world. Some ginkgo trees have been found in China, their native homeland, that are 2000 years old. Although not all gingko trees can be grown in containers because of their height, there are many that will look lovely on your porch or in a small garden. If you don't have the room or inclination to plant a large gingko outside your house, plant a smaller cultivar of the gingko tree in a container.
Benefits to Container Growing
- Growing in containers gives you flexibility as a gardener, allowing you to move the tree many different places to aid both in growth and in fuller enjoyment of the plant.
- Growing in containers makes it easier to control the temperature around the tree.
- It is easier to make sure your plants are being well fed when they are in containers.
- Container grown plants are less likely to be diseased.
Choosing a Ginkgo Tree
The following varieties of Ginkgo biloba flourish well in containers.
- Gingko biloba "Chi-Chi" grows 6 to 9 feet tall with a dense bushiness.
- Gingko biloba "Saratoga" has a pyramid shaped crown, growing up to 9 to 12 feet tall.
- Gingko biloba "Mariken" grows only 4 to 5 feet high in a very compact shape.
- Gingko biloba "Horizontalis" has a wide-reaching habit and also grow about 4 to 5 feet tall.
Germinating Ginkgo Tress from Seed
If you decide you want to plant a gingko tree from seed, you can purchase seeds at many oriental stores, gardening shops or online. Gingko seeds should be germinated in moist, but not dripping wet, peat moss. Peat moss can leave a dirty dust when handling dry, so mix up your germinating mix out of the house. Place the peat moss in a Ziploc baggie or seed tray and keep at room temperature, out of the sun. Seeds should be pressed about 1/4 inch under the peat moss.
Planting Gingko Trees in Containers
Germinated seeds can be transferred to pots once they have produced roots and their first set of leaves. Plant in 4 inch pots in compost soil. Make sure your containers have plenty of holes for good drainage. Line the bottom with a couple layers of newspaper and a thin layer of small pebbles. If you purchase a seedling, plant in a pot no larger than twice the size of the pot that was previously planted in. Transplanting is difficult for gingko trees to adjust to. Help this process by misting daily with water and gradually introducing the gingko tree to sunlight. Repot only when necessary.
Caring for Ginkgo Trees
Even if your container is outdoors, rainfall will not always reach your gingko tree, especially once its leaf canopy has widened. Check the soil regularly and water when dry. Fertilize each summer with a slow-release fertilizer. Save any heavy pruning for mid-winter, trimming occasionally throughout the rest of the year whenever necessary.
Enjoy the ancient and unique beauty of the gingko tree!