How to grow the sausage tree (Kigelia africana) from seeds

germinating seeds of the sausage tree

The sausage tree owes its popular name to its fruits, which look like liver sausages. They can grow up to 50 centimeters long. Kigelia africana is native to most African countries (distribution map). The epithet “africana” in the botanical name indicates that the species is not hardy in Central Europe.

sausage tree Kigelia africana
The fruits of the sausage tree look like liver sausages. They are not edible, Kigelia africana is poisonous. Here in Germany it is called liver sausage tree (Leberwurstbaum).

How to grow

Kigelia africana can be grown from seed all year round. Before sowing, the seeds, which are about one centimeter long, must be soaked for at least 24 hours, preferably 48 hours.

Soaking and sowing should be done in a warm place, at temperatures between 75 an 86 °F (24 and 30 °C).

sausage tree seeds
The seeds of the sausage tree are about one centimeter long.

It is not necessary to use a special seed soil, mixtures for herbs or vegetables are also suitable. I used a coconut growing soil here, but only because I wanted to test it.

The substrate can be wet until the seeds germinate, then just keep it evenly moist.

To prevent the soil and seeds from drying out, the seed pot can be placed in a greenhouse or covered with a freezer bag.

sausage tree seedlings
At 75-86 °F (24-30 °C) the first seeds will germinate after one week.

Germination takes from one to several weeks, depending on the temperature.

The perfect location for growing young sausage trees is bright to sunny. As they grow larger, they can tolerate more sun.


The sausage tree is the only species in the genus Kigelia. Which belongs to the Bignoniaceae family. The best known plant in this family is probably the cigar tree (Catalpa bignonioides), a native of North America.

cigar tree Catalpa bignonioides
Catalpa bignonioides is commonly known as southern catalpa, cigar tree or Indian-bean-tree.
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