How to Grow Albizia lebbeck Plants in your Garden

Albizia lebbeck is also known as Woman’s Tongue, Siris Tree, kokko, and perhaps most often as the East Indian Walnut.

It is a tropical tree that is native to Northern Australia, The Indomalaya Realm, and New Guinea.

Albizia lebbeck tree
Albizia lebbeck tree, also known as the Siris Tree, photograph by Forest and Kim Starr; CC.

It is a part of the Fabaceae family of plants, also known as the legume family. Indeed, this tree can be recognized by its legume, or bean-pod style, of seed dispersal.

Albizia lebbeck is commonly used in gardens as a shade tree and is a natural way to prevent soil erosion due to its shallow roots.

East indian walnut
Albizia lebbeck (Siris tree) leaves and flowers and seedpods at Launiupoko, Maui, Hawaii photograph by Forest and Kim Starr.

It is also great plant to grow if you wish to attract bees to the garden. It produces abundant nectar and pollen, thus acting as a bee attractant, and helps stimulate honey production in a bee colony.

The tree can grow up to 18 - 30 meters (60 to 100 feet) tall and holds clusters of dark to light green leaves.

Blooming in spring, it produces fragrant white flowers with long stamens that cover the tree.

The seeds are stored in a bean-like pod that can reach up to 30 centimeters (12 inches) long and holds six to twelve seeds.

Albizia lebbeck in bloom
Albizia lebbeck tree in bloom showing leaf features, image by Forest and Kim Starr; CC.

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing East Indian Walnut

As a tropical plant, Albizia lebbeck grows best in warm areas with hardiness zones 10 and 11.

East Indian walnut can be grown efficiently from seed and only requires to be soaked in boiling water for up to three minutes to properly propagate it.

The Albizia lebbeck tree requires full sunlight to grow, and while it prefers a more humid environment, it can thrive in drier areas with proper care.

It grows best in loamy, sandy soils that are well-drained and slightly acidic, but it can tolerate a more neutral or alkaline soil.

Established trees are drought tolerant and do not require excessive watering.

Pruning is only needed for cutting back decayed growth, as it is otherwise a low-maintenance tree.

Albizia lebbeck Growing and Care Guide

  • Scientific Name: Albizia lebbeck
  • Common Name: East indian walnut
  • Growing Zone: USA: 10 to 11; UK zone H1 - Tropical plant, indoors/glass only.
  • Life Cycle / Plant Type: Tree

Plant Details

  • Plant Height (Inches): 300 to 600
  • Plant Spread (Inches): 420 to 600
  • Time of Bloom: Spring
  • Flower Details: White
  • Leaf Foliage: Green
  • Fruit:
  • Growth Form: Rounded, Spreading or horizontal

Ideal Growing Conditions

  • Best Light Conditions: Full sunlight
  • Rate of Growth: Quick
  • Suitable Soil Types: Acidic, Alkaline, Clay, Loamy, Neutral, Sandy, Slightly alkaline, Well drained
  • Soil Moisture: Moist

Caring Conditions

  • Care:
  • Level of Maintenance:
  • Propagation: Seed (in four parts boiling water)
  • How to Prune:
  • Pests:
  • Diseases: Usually pest free

Further Information

  • Can Attract:
  • Tolerant of: Grass fires, drought, salt
  • Best Garden Use: Tree
  • Family: Fabaceae.
  • Closely Related Species: Beans, Peas.

  • Miscellaneous: Pest tolerant, Aggressive surface roots possible, Non-native to North America, Invasive, Naturalizing, Attractive flowers / blooms
  • Genus Detail: Albizia
  • Further Reading and References: Here and Non Native Plants Florida

Albizia lebbeck flower close up
Close up of Albizia lebbec flower, photograph by Iezalel williams; CC.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Albizia lebbeck. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Thermopsis and Fenugreek plants.