The Q&A Archives: Hardiness of Leucaena

Question: Several years ago, I received some Leucaena seeds from an organization whose purpose was to assist agriculture worldwide. I planted them and grew several small trees; I still have two. I set them outdoors in summer but bring them in during the winter, after cutting them back so I can handle them. (I am in Zone 5.) I have assumed that they would not survive the winter outdoors, since they were discussed as suitable for warm climates; but I would prefer to plant them in the open ground if I can. In appearance they are somewhat like a locust tree; the leaves are compound, and the leaflets fold up every night in perfect overlapping order and unfold again at daylight! Can you tell me if they are in fact hardy?

Answer: What a fun project! There are about 50 species of Leucaena, most hailing from the tropical Americas and one from Polynesia. One is found naturalized in Florida and there are some in Texas and New Mexico, but none further north than that according to Hortus Third. Based on that, I am certain it would not survive in zone 5.

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