Mimosa tree is extremely fast-growing and quick to establish so it is therefore known to be quite invasive for some growers. Knowing where to plant it and how to maintain the tree can be the difference between having a good or bad experience overall.
If you’re looking for an easy to grow, fast-growing deciduous flowering tree that can provide canopies of shade as well as gorgeous texture and color in your garden, the Mimosa tree might be the perfect pick for you.
With its fern-like foliage and exotically striking hot-pink flowers, the mimosa tree is certainly a beauty but it does require some know-how to maintain and there are a few caveats to its ornamental qualities. Here is your ultimate growing and care guide for the mimosa tree.
Introducing the Mimosa Tree
The mimosa tree has been grown as a garden ornamental in the United States since the 18th century and it has now naturalized itself in 25 states. Commonly known as the Persian silk tree, Albizia julibrissin is native to regions of Asia and forms part of the Fabaceae family.
It grows best in hardiness zones of 6 to 9 here in the US. This tree is very hardy and adaptable, known to grow well in many different soil types and moisture conditions.
A word of caution is often given when growing a mimosa tree as it can spread easily and can quickly become invasive. They are also susceptible to a few diseases and pests.
For these reasons, it is often recommended to grow just one at a time. The Persian silk tree is a medium to large, fast-growing tree that can reach 20 to 40 feet in height and 20 to 50 feet in width.
It will require a little more maintenance as it is known to drop a lot of flowers, leaves, seedpods and branches that will need to regularly be cleared away.
Any seedpods will also need to be removed after the flowering season to prevent unwanted spreading. However, many growers would argue that it's worth it for an easy to grow deciduous tree that offers so much beauty and texture within gardens.
Mimosa tree, Persian silk tree, Silk tree
20 to 40 ft. tall, 20 to 50 ft. wide
Poisonous for Pets:
Seeds and seed pods are toxic to children, cats and dogs if ingested
Mimosa Tree Features
The mimosa tree is very attractive to pollinators like hummingbirds and bees where its fragrant, fluffy blooms form in a silky pink pom-pom like fashion.
Speaking of bees, be sure to check our comprehensive guide on the types of bees to understand how much benecial they are in the garden.
The foliage appears as tiny fronds similar to the leaves of fern plants where small leaflets offer a textured backdrop for the tree’s beautiful blooms that burst with vivid color.
The mimosa tree will showcase a broad open canopy silhouette that can provide shade and character to any outdoor space. The bark is light-brown and smooth in texture. These ornamental qualities are what have popularized this tree in the United States.
Check Your Locality
Albizia julibrissin may be illegal to plant in some states where it is considered an invasive species. These trees can spread rapidly and tend to damage paving and property if planted too close.
The seedpods can cause new growth almost anywhere they land so this tree can also cause harm to nearby plant life and native plants. Be sure to make sure you can plant these trees in your area, especially if you stay in the Midwest or South.
How to Grow the Mimosa Tree
There are many benefits to growing an Albizia julibrissin tree in your garden. They offer textured beauty in both their gentle foliage and fluffy flowers that can boost the appeal of any garden.
The mimosa tree is also easy to grow where it can tolerate various soils and environments from full sun to partial shade. It is therefore accessible to most growers regardless of experience.
The unique feathery shape of the leaves and canopy can create pleasing shaded areas in yards that will dapple and filter the sunlight across parts of the garden.
The mimosa tree can easily be grown from seed or by propagating the tree using cuttings. Be sure to plant this tree away from sidewalks, patios or other constructs as the roots are large and can lift cement.
Due to the large root system, it is also difficult to transplant a mimosa tree so be sure to choose your growing location wisely. These trees grow up to 3 feet per year in good conditions.
Propagating Mimosa Tree Using Cuttings
Cuttings should be removed using sharpened tools like a hand saw during late spring.
- Choose and cut away a 6-inch healthy stem or branch that has not yet bloomed.
- Remove all the leaves other than the top two to three.
- Dip the stem of the cutting into some water and then some rooting hormone. (Get the best rooting hormones here.)
- Place your cutting into a 4-to-5-inch container that is filled with rich, quality potting soil.
- Place the pot into a plastic bag then set it in an area that gets a good amount of indirect sunlight. Ideal temperatures for fast root development are around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Keep the soil moist and you can expect new root growth in about three to four weeks.
Growing Persian Silk Tree from Seeds
Due to the tree's spreading habit, harvesting seeds is not difficult. Collect your brown seedpods during the fall after the flowering season and store them in a cool and dry place until spring.
Before sowing, it is recommended to slightly scrape your seeds with a file or similar tool to breach the hard outer shell then place your seeds into an insulated container to soak them overnight in warm water.
- Dry your seeds and prepare a 3-inch pot with equal parts compost and perlite. (Learn how to make your own compost here.)
- Gently press the seeds 1 inch deep into your potting mix in the middle of the container.
- Water in and keep the mixture moist.
- Place your container outside in a shady but warm location.
- Germination can occur within a week or take several months depending on conditions.
Planting the Mimosa Tree
The Persian silk tree is adaptable, yes. However, by providing it with the right growing conditions and environments, you can ensure that you enjoy a year-round stunner that produces bountiful blooms each flowering season.
Mimosa Tree Sunlight Requirements
The mimosa tree prefers full sun but can tolerate growing in more shaded locations. Blooms and foliage density can be diminished by providing the tree with more shade than it is accustomed to.
Best Soil for Mimosa Tree
Albizia julibrissin trees can tolerate a wide range of soils including poorer soils. They are known to have nitrogen-fixing properties so they can thrive in soils that other plants may not.
Generally, these trees prefer well-draining, rich sandy soils but the use of loamy soils can also work great.
Temperature & Humidity
These trees grow best in warmer climates with higher temperatures. However, they can also tolerate and grow well in cooler regions with lower temperatures.
Young plants will struggle to survive frost over long winters. Recommended growing zones are zones 6 to 9.
How to Plant the Mimosa Tree
Now that you have a good idea of where you’ll be planting your mimosa tree in your garden, it’s time to take your developed tree cutting or small tree that has grown from the seedlings and plant it in the permanent location in your landscape.
Be sure not to plant the tree near sidewalks, patios, or driveways as the roots can cause damage as the tree establishes itself. If planting multiple Persian silk trees, space the trees at least 15 to 20 feet apart.
Planting Albizia Julibrissin in Your Garden
- Gently remove your tree from its current container and slightly tousle the roots loose.
- Try to prepare a soil mixture that resembles the mix you used when the tree began growing. You can place the soil from the growing container into your hole as well.
- Dig a hole that is at least twice as wide and to the same depth as the root ball of the tree.
- Position the mimosa tree gently in your planting hole and fill it with your remaining soil mixture.
- Water the tree well after planting to help the roots settle in the soil. It is recommended to water young, freshly planted trees about once per week with a generous soaking until after the first season.
Caring for Mimosa Tree
Once established, mimosa trees are tolerant to drought and they are generally pretty hardy plants. There are a few things you can do to support and care for your Persian silk tree to ensure you have a year-round ornamental that will wow guests and help keep maintenance to a minimum.
Watering Mimosa Tree
Albizia julibrissin is pretty adaptable when it comes to moisture conditions and can tolerate dry climates. After the first season, waterings can be kept to a minimum.
Some growers have reported greener, more luscious foliage if the tree is watered regularly in the growing seasons. Generally, supplemental waterings are not needed regularly.
What Fertilizer to Use
This tree's ability to grow so vigorously in a variety of conditions shows that supplemental fertilizing and feeding is not needed. You can add some organic compost to the tree base annually to help replenish nutrients, but this is optional.
Pruning Mimosa Tree
Pruning can be done in the fall or winter during the tree’s dormant periods. It is recommended to prune the top of the tree to a flat shape and then cut back branches to five or six buds on each.
Any dead, diseased or weak branches and stems can be removed at any time of the year.
No matter the zone you grow in, it is important to plant the mimosa tree so it gets as much full sun as possible and place it in a location that is protected from strong, cold winter winds.
These trees can tolerate temperatures down to around 25 degrees Fahrenheit but they tend to thrive more in areas where the winters are less harsh.
Litter & Seed Clearing
Albizia julibrissin trees are known to be messy and will require you to regularly clear dropped flowers, leaves, seedpods and branches. They self-sow quite freely so to prevent unwanted trees from spreading and taking over your garden, be sure to remove any seedlings and seedpods that pop up.
Mimosa Tree Pests, Problems & Diseases
Unfortunately, these bountiful beauties are susceptible to some issues. They are hardy and can fend off most diseases but mimosa wilt or fusarium wilt is their biggest problem.
Mimosa Fusarium Wilt
This soil-borne fungal disease can kill a mimosa tree quickly. If you notice the leaves of your tree are yellowing and wilting, this could indicate that your tree is suffering.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disease and the tree will need to be removed in severe cases to prevent the wilt from spreading to other plants in your landscape. In less severe cases, you can cut back the affected branches and water the tree regularly to encourage new vigorous growth.
Smaller, less threatening mites or aphids can be treated using general insecticidal sprays. However, these trees can harbor webworms which can quickly eat away at young plants. Mature trees tend to recover from webworms more effectively.
If you notice your tree is being infested by small, slender caterpillars that create webs on the foliage, this could indicate that you need to treat your mimosa tree with insecticides that specialize in treating caterpillars to prevent too much damage.
You can also remove and destroy any infected foliage and prune away diseased branches.
Mimosa Tree FAQs
What is the life expectancy of a mimosa tree?
Despite being fast and vigorous growers, mimosa trees generally only live for around 10 to 20 years.
How many years does it take for a mimosa tree to bloom?
Mimosa trees usually only start to bloom once they have grown to approximately 10 feet tall.
How toxic are mimosa trees?
The seedpods are very toxic and poisonous to most animals and children as well. Be sure to never let your children or pets put the seedpods or seeds into their mouths.
Interested in fast-growing trees that work great for smaller gardens? Check out our other useful guide here:
Wrapping Up Our Mimosa Tree Guide
So, there you have it, everything you need to know to grow and care for a mimosa tree. It’s ultimately a matter of personal preference whether you feel the beauty of this tree outweighs the higher maintenance and invasive tendencies.
Either way, these trees do have the potential to add spectacle and exotic lusciousness to any garden. Being fast-growing and providing growers with so many ornamental qualities, it's easy to see why the mimosa tree is still so loved and frequently grown in gardens across the US.