Polyalthia longifolia, also known as Telegraph Pole Tree, is a native plant to South India and Sri Lanka and a small tree typically reaching 10-20 ft in height with upright, columnar, and vertical branches. Its evergreen foliage is lance-shaped with wavy edges that droop along the branches, giving the tree an interesting profile.
A remarkable feature of this tree is its usage in ship masts, providing strength and stability. As noise pollution is a major issue, the plant's dense branches offer a great way of combating it. The Telegraph Pole Tree produces off-white to white-colored star-shaped flowers which makes it an attractive addition to many gardens.
When it comes to growing, this tree enjoys both full sunlight and semi-shade, and regular watering is essential for optimum growth. For those looking to grow this plant outside of its native climate, it is worth noting that Polyalthia longifolia can be grown in a pot in cold regions such as USDA Zone 9-11, as a mature plant it can withstand temperatures as low as the low 30s for a short period of time, making a beautiful evergreen all year round.
When growing the Telegraph Pole Tree in a pot in colder regions, it is important to ensure that the pot is large enough to accommodate the roots, and the soil is well-drained. It is recommended to provide the soil with organic matter such as compost and mulch, to provide constant moisture. Additionally, when temperatures drop drastically, it is important to provide the pot with a layer of mulch to provide extra protection. And don't forget to keep an eye on the plant for signs of pests and disease. With the proper care, Polyalthia longifolia can be a surprisingly hardy ornamental tree.