Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin) is the head of a family of exotic, tropical looking trees that can be grown in non-tropical areas. The puffy flower/seeds will attract butterflies galore to the garden. Scientists have created cultivars-plants created by selective breeding- that have slightly different features than the mother plant. There are several different reasons for creating a cultivar. One if for looks or size. The others are to improve the breed, so to speak. With Mimosas, it has created varieties that have different colored flowers, grow smaller, live longer and are more resistant to disease.
Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin), the original Mimosa is hardy in USDA Zones 6 to 9. It is a native of Asia, ranging from Iran to Japan. The tree grows from 20 to 40 feet tall and 20 to 50 feet wide with dark green, fernlike leaves that grow up to 20 inches long. Pink, fluffy, fragrant flowers bloom in June and July and are a favorite nectar source for bees. The flowers are followed by 7-inch-long seed pods that remain on the tree into the winter. Plant in full sun or partial shade and a moist, well-drained soil.
Mimosa is a short lived tree, only up to 20 years or so. The tree is susceptible to infestations of cottony cushion scale, mites and Mimosa webworm. It also falls victim to
Mimosa (Fusarium) wilt, a fatal disease. Mimosa (vascular) wilt is contagious and so serious in some locations that it is against the law to plant new trees,
Albizia julibrissin’Alba’ has white flowers;
Albizia julibrissin’Rosea’ (‘Ernest Wilson’) has bright pink flowers, is hardier and longer lasting and from 10 to 15 feet tall.
Albizia julibrissin ‘Rubra’ has deep pink flowers.
Albizia julibrissin’Charlotte’, ‘Tyron’,
and ‘Union’ are supposedly more resistant to disease. These varieties have to be propagated by root cuttings. Seedlings will not have the resistance.
Mimosas do create a bit of a mess with all of the flowers, leaves and long silky seeds. It will tolerate a drought situation, but the leaf color will not be as green. Supplement the tree with excess water if necessary. The wood is brittle and can break off during sever storms and the roots are known to get under and raise up sidewalks and patios. The way the roots grow also makes it a hard tree to transplant. The tree is also banned in some areas because it is classified as an invasive weed in some areas.
University of Florida