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The Ceratonia siliqua, commonly known as the carob tree, is a small evergreen tree, originating in the countries bordering the Mediterranean. It has an erect, broad and stocky stem, very branched, with a round, dense and disordered foliage; the bark is greyish, smooth, often with numerous swellings. The leaves of Ceratonia siliqua are large, composed, dark green, thick and leathery, shiny; in summer it produces numerous reddish flowers, to which follow, on the female plants, clusters of long semi-woody fruits, green pods, which become dark brown when ripe. Each pod contains numerous seeds, edible, used in the food industry and in herbal medicine. The carob trees are widespread plants in the southern areas of our peninsula, they are small trees with a pleasant and slightly "exotic" appearance which makes them suitable also as ornamental plants.
Speaking of which are the ideal conditions and the best places for the cultivation of the carob, it is advisable to place the Ceratonia siliqua in a very sunny position; generally carob trees can withstand a few degrees below zero, but only for short periods. If the area in which they were planted is subjected to cold temperatures it is good to protect them with tnt protective cloths, especially with regard to young specimens, which appear to be even more delicate and sensitive to temperature changes. It is good that these specimens can receive several hours of direct sunlight a day.
carob trees are Mediterranean plants, adapted to withstand even very long periods of drought; water sporadically, wetting abundantly and in depth.
The plants of Ceratonia siliqua, generally, are satisfied with the water deriving from the rains, but, in the case of young specimens, it is good to intervene in case of prolonged drought. Plants grown in pots should be watered when the soil is dry.
In spring, bury the mature organic fertilizer at the foot of the plant.
Water stagnation can cause suffering to the plant, therefore, in case of watering, do not supply an excessive quantity.
These plants prefer poor, dry and very well drained soils; use a good universal soil, mixed with sand and lapillus or pumice stone with a fairly coarse grain size. However, they are rustic trees and can adapt to any type of soil, as long as it allows good drainage, as water stagnation is dangerous for the health of the carob tree.
The carob trees have a fairly vigorous growth, therefore the specimens grown in containers should be repotted every year.
These plants can be propagated by sowing in spring or autumn.
Carrubo - Ceratonia siliqua: Pests and diseases
Ceratonia siliqua plants are rustic plants, which are generally not affected by pests or diseases. Sometimes, however, they can be affected by scale insects; for this reason, it is good to use insecticidal products based on pyrethrin or natural methods, such as a mixture of water and Marseille soap, to be sprayed on the affected specimens, so as to eliminate the problem.
They can then present fungal diseases, mainly due to excessive humidity.