Enterolobium cyclocarpum (Monkey Ear) is a deciduous tree that can exceed 20 feet in height and is native to Central America. It requires full sun, regular water and grows in USDA Zone 10-11. This tree produces white or off-white flowers in the form of green pompoms and is followed by a flattened, dark brown seedpod, curved into a circle about 3 to 6 inches long and resembling a strange ear. Most notably, the pods of this tree are used extensively as decoration and for crafts. The litter from the leaves is used for animal fodder.
In order to grow and thrive, Enterolobium cyclocarpum needs well-drained soil that is rich in nutrients. Fertilize the tree several times a year throughout the active growing season with a balanced fertilizer. The tree needs to be watered regularly and, if possible, mulched with organic material. It is important to provide ample water and to avoid letting the soil get too dry during the growing season. To encourage even growth, prune the branches in the spring and summer.
In cold regions, Enterolobium cyclocarpum is usually grown in a pot. Deciduous trees need a dormant period in winter, so they should be moved indoors. During the growing season, the pot should be able to retain moisture and should be fertilized once a month.