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Plant Profile: Persian Silk Tree (Albizia julibrissin)

A native of southwestern and eastern Asia, Persian silk tree is also called mimosa, and is a popular tree for small gardens where it can provide dappled shade with its feathery light green foliage and color in summer with its abundant clusters of pink powder puff-like flowers. Further interest is provided in fall by the long, green, pea-like pods that turn deep brown by season’s end. They split open to reveal seeds that are appealing to visiting birds. Use in a tropical garden with hibiscus and gardenias that will appreciate a little shade when temperatures rise. Avoid sites with extended periods of drought, wind or heat.

Type: Deciduous tree

Outstanding Feature: Flowers

Form: Vase-shaped

Growth Rate: Moderate to rapid

Bloom: Clusters of pink flowers with long silky stamens in summer

Size: 30’ H x 30’ W

Light: Full sun

Soil: Average, moist, well-drained, pH 6.5-7

Fertilizer: Apply ammonium phosphate (16-20-0) or acid food (6-10-4) in early spring to maximize bloom.

Hardiness: Zones 7-11

Care: Prune in late winter or early spring to maintain form. Deadhead flowers if pods are not wanted.

Pests and Diseases: Aphids in spring; susceptible to spider mites, whiteflies, cottony scale, webworm and mimosa wilt.

Propagation: Seed, semi-hardwood cuttings in summer, and root cuttings in winter

Outstanding Selections:

    ‘Rosea’ (deep pink flowers, smaller size)
    ‘Alba’ (white flowers)
    ‘Summer Chocolate’ (burgundy leaves)

Comments: Leaves and seed pods can be composted.

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