Parrotia persica, also known as Persian ironwood, is a deciduous tree mainly grown for its spectacular autumn display when its leaves turn shades of yellow, orange, red and purple. It's a wide-spreading, slow growing tree with bark that flakes away, creating an interesting texture and revealing younger bark below. Dense heads of red flowers will appear in late-winter and early-spring. The flowers of Parrotia persica do not have petals, instead buds open to reveal attractive red stamen.


How to grow Parrotia persica

Grow Persian ironwood in full sun or partial shade, in moist but well-drained soil. It does not require pruning, but you may like to lightly prune away dead or damaged branches in the winter months.

Where to grow Parrotia persica

Dense heads of red flowers in late-winter and early-spring. Getty Images

Parrotia persica can be grown in an exposed or sheltered spot, in full sun or partial shade. It is hardy, although frost can damage flower buds in the spring.

How to plant Parrotia persica

You can plant Persian ironwood at any time of year. Dig a hole that's the same depth as the root mass, but twice as wide. Remove the tree from its pot and loosen the roots slightly before planting. Place the tree in the hole and ensure that it sits no deeper than it was sitting in the pot. When you're happy with its position, fill the hole and firm the soil gently. Water the tree generously, particularly if planting in the summer, and add a stake.

How to care for Parrotia persica

Parrotia persica early autumnal foliage. Getty Images

When first planting, keep your tree well watered, especially in dry periods. Once the tree is established it will require very little care.

How to propagate Parrotia persica

Propagate Persian ironwood by taking softwood cuttings in the summer, or semi-hardwood cuttings in the late summer and early autumn. Both cuttings are taken from this year's growth.

How to prune Parrotia persica

Parrotia persica does not require regular pruning. It will naturally form an attractive shape, pruning is only required if you wish to remove dead or diseased branches. Avoid harsh pruning.


Growing Parrotia persica: pests and diseases

Persian ironwood is not susceptible to any pests or diseases. Frost may damage flower buds in early spring.

Advice on buying Parrotia persica

  • Parrotia persica may be available from your local garden centre or nursery, but you will have more options online
  • Always check plants for signs of damage or disease before planting

Where to buy Parrotia persica