Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun to light shade. Best flowering in full sun. Prefers rich, light soils. Tolerates a wide range of soils, however, including poor ones. Tolerates alkaline conditions. Tolerates drought, but best growth occurs with regular watering. Thrives in high summer heat. Not reliably winter hardy in USDA Zone 5.
Native to Asia (Iran to Japan), mimosa or silk tree is a fast-growing, small to medium sized deciduous tree that typically grows in a vase shape to 20-40’ tall with a spreading, flattened, often umbrella-like crown. It has been widely planted in the U. S. as an ornamental and has escaped cultivation and naturalized in many areas of the southeastern U. S. and California. In the wild, it is typically seen growing in vacant lots, waste areas, clearings, wood margins, fields and along roads. It can be quite invasive in watersheds where water currents carry and distribute the seeds downstream. It is noted for its bipinnate compound dark green leaves (to 20” long) which have a fern-like appearance and for its fluffy pink powder puff flowerheads that cover the tree with a long summer bloom. Flowers are fragrant and attractive to bees. Sensitive leaflets close up when touched and at night. Flowers give way to flat bean-like seed pods (to 7” long) which persist into winter. Leaflets fall to the ground after frost, producing no fall color. Genus name honors Filippo degi Albizzia who introduced the genus to Italy in 1749.
Wilt is becoming a serious problem in many areas. Also susceptible to mimosa web worm. Self-seeding can produce numerous seedlings. Falling leaves, flowers and seed pods can pose significant clean-up problems if trees are planted near homes. Weak wooded limbs are susceptible to damage from strong winds and ice/snow.
Generally considered to be an attractive but inferior landscape tree. May be used as a lawn accent in areas where soils are poor or alkaline. Avoid planting in areas where wilt is a problem.