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
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
‘Rosea’ (deep pink flowers, smaller size)
‘Alba’ (white flowers)
‘Summer Chocolate’ (burgundy leaves)
Comments: Leaves and seed pods can be composted.