The soap nut tree Sapindus Mukorossi aka Indian Soapberry is a very large tree that produces prodigious amounts of a soaponifying nut that you can use as a greywater safe laundry detergent, dish and hand soap. Mrs. Homegrown wants to rip out my beloved Mission Fig tree to plant the one that Craig at Winnetka Farms gave us last year. I’m going to chain myself to the fig.
That being said, I wish we had more room to plant our soapnut tree. Sapindus Mukorossi requires a fertile soil and a frost free climate. It’s a tall tree that can take as long as ten years to begin fruiting. A friend of mine has one growing in Altadena.
Sapindus Mukorossi needs lots of water. Craig has pointed out the perfect permacultural pairing for our dry climate–use the greywater from your washing machine to water your soap nut tree.
It can be a bit tough to get the seeds to germinate. Here’s some instructions on how to grow Sapindus Mukorossi from seed.
If you’re in LA you can buy a tree from the folks at Winnetka Farms.
I vote for Sapindus Mukorossi as LA’s next street tree . . .