Mimosa tree, a superb flower tree!

Mimosa is one of the most beautiful winter-flowering shrubs, renowned for its exceptional bright gold yellow flowering.

Key facts about mimosa

Name – Acacia dealbata
Family – Mimosaceae
Type – tree

Height
 – 13 to 32 feet (4 to 10 meters)
Exposure – full sun
Soil – well drained and sandy

Foliage – evergreen
Flowering
 – January to March

Proper planting of the mimosa tree, its pruning and the care you’ll give it will help you have a magnificent mimosa tree, whether in pots or in the ground in the garden.

Planting a mimosa tree

Mimosa is planted preferably in spring or in fall in a sunny spot and, ideally, sheltered from wind.

If you choose to grow your mimosa tree in a pot for a deck, balcony or terrace, its fragrance will spread in the entire vicinity as soon as the first flowers unfurl.

Indeed, mimosa tree particularly loves sun-endowed emplacements that are protected from drafts, and especially well-drained soil.

In regions with harsh winters, your best option is to plant your mimosa tree in large pots so that you may bring them indoors over winter.

Growing mimosa in a pot

Mimosa flowers and branches in a pot.Mimosa is a shrub that will grow very well in a pot or large garden box, even though proper growing conditions must be provided.

  • Never use a pot that sits in a water retention device, the pot must drain freely at the bottom for the water to run off.
  • Start with a smaller pot for it to develop its root system.
  • Ensure it stays sheltered from wind.
  • Mimosa requires sun to bloom.

After 3-4 years, the time has come to repot it in a larger pot.

Soil mix for growing mimosa in a pot

Use a well-draining potting blend:

  • 10% river sand and for the rest, half-and-half flower potting mix and peat.
  • Add a few handfuls of compost on top

Pruning potted mimosa trees

Unlike a mimosa tree that is planted in the ground, which can be left to grow freely, a potted mimosa must be pruned.

  • The pruning is performed after the blooming.
  • Shorten all the branches, giving the tree the shape you desire for it: sphere, cone, etc…

Watering and fertilizer for potted mimosa trees

Mimosa shrubs grown in pots dry up much faster, and must thus be watered often.

  • Water regularly but not too much, so as to not drown the roots while still maintaining constant moisture in the soil.
  • Provide flower shrub fertilizer during the entire growth period.
  • Or use natural fertilizer every two weeks during spring and summer for nutrients.

Mimosa tree and winter freezing

Mimosa tree sporting flower buds in the middle of icy rain and snowstorm.Mimosa tree resists freezing if moderate, 23°F (-5°C) at the coldest. This is especially true when the bouts of freezing are short.

A mimosa grown in pots isn’t as hardy to the cold and must be brought indoors for shelter in a cool spot over the winter if it freezes in your area.

  • You can also put horticultural fleece to good use, wrapping the branches with the winterizing fabric at the onset of the first frost spells. Your mimosa tree will be effectively protected from freezing.
  • Also protect the base with a thick layer of dried leaf mulch.

When growing directly in the ground and if the weather freezes deeply in your area, protect your tree by implementing our advice on protecting plants against the cold.

Pruning and caring for mimosa

Once properly settled in with a developed root system, the mimosa tree calls for minimal care. The only thing you might fear is having a late deep frost spell hit the mimosa tree in full bloom.

Otherwise, mimosa is so vigorous that some people call it an invasive plant. But stand assured: regular care and pruning will restrain its rapid growth.

How to trim a mimosa tree

Pruning of the mimosa tree takes place after the blooming because if you cut the tree in winter, you won’t have a single flower.

  • Cut branches that have born flowers back lightly.
  • As soon as they appear, pinch suckers off. These usually shoot out at ground level, and they’ll weaken the rest of the tree.

If, at the end of winter, you notice branches that are broken and blackened because of freezing, feel free to cut them off because they, too, would weaken the tree.

Watering a mimosa tree

Mimosa isn’t a tree that requires much watering, except when potted, of course. However, it hates excess moisture that has a tendency to make the roots rot, eventually killing the tree.

Watering a mimosa tree planted in the ground

  • You must water in case of prolonged dry spells, but otherwise stocks of water contained in the tree itself should answer the mimosa tree’s needs.

Watering potted mimosa

  • Mimosa trees grown in pots require regular watering that is moderate in quantity during winter.  Only provide it when it isn’t freezing.
  • In summer and in case of hot weather, water in the evening to avoid having water evaporate immediately.

Mimosa tree, key points to know

Mimosa is known thanks to florists who sell it in January, when flowers are still in the bud: it already is fragrant enough to spread its scent throughout an entire house!

Its foliage is evergreen and its blooming has a fresh, appealing smell.

A winter-blooming tree, it is also particularly appreciated for the color of its flowers, the fragrance they impart and, most of all, its blooming period.

Winter’s deepest and darkest months is when this tree drapes itself in full color and releases its delicious spring-like fragrance throughout the neighborhood.

You can also take advantage of all this tree’s gifts on your terrace, balcony or deck if you plant it in a large garden box. Simply water it as soon as the soil turns dry.

Note that there is a certain confusion in terms: the tree that is commonly called Mimosa tree is actually an Acacia, whereas the tree that is commonly called acacia is really the locust tree.

Now, about varieties: over 1200 mimosa tree species have been numbered throughout the world, and the first ones were introduced in Europe first along the Mediterranean, then along the Atlantic. They’ve spread across the temperate hemisphere ever since.

Smart tip about the mimosa tree

Tall mimosa tree in full bloom.No need to add any fertilizer because a mimosa tree never needs fertilizer, even upon planting. An exception to this is when growing mimosa in pots: the soil must be replenished.

Simple mulch is enough and will keep water from evaporating and weeds from growing.

Your mimosa tree will happily stay small if you prune it often, and if you let it grow it can turn into a tall tree.


Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Dreamy mimosa branch shared by Tomoko Uji/Unsplash
Potted Mimosa by Nacho under © CC BY 2.0
Mimosa snow shared by nofrills under © CC BY-NC 2.0
Tall mimosa tree shared by Gaspard Lorthiois, own work ★

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  • Caroline Charalambides wrote on 12 August 2018 at 14 h 03 min

    You omit to give the type of compost/growing medium that should be used for growing Mimosa in a pot?

    • Gaspard Lorthiois wrote on 13 August 2018 at 13 h 19 min

      Hi Caroline! Sorry I forgot that – I just updated the article, thank you for reminding me! To answer your question, the best type of preparation is something that drains well. Potting mix and peat can be used to form the structure and river sand will ensure perfect drainage: 10% river sand and for the rest, half and half peat and flower plant potting mix. Add a couple handfuls of compost on top or use a natural fertilizer every fortnight during spring and summer for nutrients. Remember to water often!

  • Janis wrote on 20 May 2018 at 21 h 45 min

    My poor mimosa tree looks so sad but there is still some green under the bark so I live in hope!
    By reading your information I realise I might have “killed it with kindness” so have decided to talk to it instead and try and get its blackened branches back to life!
    Thank for the information provide…an excellent site. (even if it does die)

    • Gaspard Lorthiois wrote on 21 May 2018 at 9 h 58 min

      That’s the spirit, Janis! You’re very welcome, good luck with your mimosa tree!

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