The Persian Silk Tree, The Mimosa
Common Name: silk tree, Persian silk tree, mimosa
Botanical Name: Albizia julibrissin
Growth rate: fast, but is short-lived
Form: broad, horizontal canopy like a parasol
Plant Type: deciduous tree
Mature Size: 5–16 m (16–52 ft)
Origin: Iran, Republic of Azerbaijan, Korea, China
Hardiness Zone USDA zones 6 to 9
Leaves: feather-like, bright green, bipinnate,18" x 10", folds inwards at night and in rain
Flowers: fragrant clusters of pink & white pompom blossoms
with thread-like stamens, late summer into fall
Fruit: brown, flattened pods contain several seeds
Bark: dark green-grey with vertical stripes when mature
Exposure: full sun
Soil: prefers dry conditions, good drainage & tolerates alkaline soils
Pruning: late winter to early spring
Uses: mixed borders, as an accent and as a specimen, small gardens, butterflies, bees
Cultivars: Pink Silk Tree (A.julibrissin f. rosea), 'Summer Chocolate' has dark bronze leaves with pale pink blossoms.
Comments: Mimosas are beautiful even when they are not donning their white and pink fragrant and fluffy blossoms. Their flowers are loved by both bees and butterflies. A canopy of fern-like foliage is delicate that As tree mature, their upright canopy expands horizontally resembling an soft- green umbrella.
Albizias prefer dry, warm conditions, which means they struggle with diseases in British Columbia due to our wet weather.
As tree matures, the trunk often divides into a V shape, where water collects, which causes rot. Roots are shallow but spread far. It's best to plant away from driveways, patios and other hardscaping. Branches tend to be brittle so plant in protective location away from wind.
Pruning tips: In late winter to early spring, remove branches that are too low, distorted, broken and ones that are too long. Since mimosas are disease prone and insect prone, remove infested parts any time of year and disinfect tools after each cut.