False Ashoka Tree Uses and Benefits
When you need a vertical accent in your landscape but prefer not to use the Italian Cypress, the False Ashoka Tree (also known as the Mast Tree or Polyalthia longifolia) offers several uses and benefits and is available from Palmco.
Palmco serves Florida and the contiguous U.S., providing a wide selection of palms, clumping bamboos, and ornamental plants in different heights, shapes, textures and even colors. We are proud of our environmentally conscious growing process and exceptional customer service that is known throughout the industry.
We farm more than 600 acres on Pine Island along the Gulf of Mexico on Florida’s southwest coast. This fertile setting provides a long growing season due to our abundant supply of water and warm Florida sunshine. Our location enables us to grow truly beautiful specimens such as the False Ashoka Tree.
About False Ashoka
The False Ashoka Tree, or Polyalthia longifolia “Pendula”, is a beautiful evergreen tree that is covered from top to bottom with graceful, shiny pendulous leaves. It grows in a symmetrical column to 30 to 45 feet and makes an excellent vertical accent for privacy screening, shade, living walls, or as a windbreak.
Polyalthia longifolia is native to India and Sri Lanka and is also called Mast Tree, Buddha Tree, Indian Mast Tree, and Indian Fir Tree. It belongs to the Annonaceae family – one of the largest families of flowering plants that is commonly referred to as the “custard apple” family.
The leaves of the False Ashoka Tree start out a coppery brown color, turn light green as they age, and eventually become a shiny dark green. They remain on the tree in all seasons, almost completely covering the trunk, and the natural color contrast makes a spectacular show when the trees are planted in groups.
Once a year in the spring, Polyalthia longifolia blooms with fragrant star-like pale green flowers that typically last for two to three weeks. This is followed by clusters of fruit that start out green but ripen to purple or black. The False Ashoka is known for attracting butterflies and birds.
How to Use the False Ashoka
False Ashoka Trees are an excellent substitute for the Italian Cypress, which seems to dislike Florida’s abundant rain and high humidity. Use them as:
• Focal specimens
• Container plants
• Avenue or driveway plantings
• Living fences or walls
• Privacy screens
• Tall hedges
• Noise pollution screens
• Wind screens
False Ashoka Trees are not very tolerant of cold weather (below 30° F), so they are best suited to USDA Zones 10a to 11. They are not recommended for use north of coastal Hillsborough County on Florida’s west coast or Indian River County on the east coast.
Plant them in full or partial sun in rich clay, loam or sandy soil, and make sure the soil is well-drained. Mature False Ashoka trees are drought-tolerant, moderately salt-tolerant, have no pest issues of note, thrive in bright locations, tolerate partial shade, and have very little leaf drop.
If you are a landscape contractor, developer, or landscape architect who is interested in the attention-getting False Ashoka Tree, buy it from Palmco. Call us at (239) 283-1329 to explore the many uses and benefits. We’re always thrilled to show off our spectacular plants!