Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin) is recognized by its fern-like leaves and delicate, wispy, feather-like pink flowers. Originally from Asia, Mimosa was introduced into the United States in 1745 as an ornamental plant. There are several drawbacks to planting Mimosa trees, not the least of which is its invasive nature.
Mimosa does best in locations that provide full sun. It can grow in a wide range of soil types with the only caveat being it prefers a low salt content. The wood is not particularly strong, so Mimosa trees should not be planted in locations subject to frequent or strong winds. Soil pH does not seem to affect Mimosa; it can grow in acidic or alkaline soils.
Mimosa flowers are quite fragrant. They last several months, from May to July, making them desirable for their long bloom time. The natural growth of Mimosa trees gives landscaping the appearance of gardens found in Japan. They are highly desired as garden and patio accents. Mimosa trees also repair nitrogen in the soil they grow in. They are highly drought-tolerant and therefore do well in dry climates.
Mimosa trees develop two to three taproot-like roots. The roots spread out, remaining close to the surface, and thus can disrupt sidewalks or pavement. Mimosas are small trees, typically reaching a height of 20 to 40 feet, providing dappled shade. For this reason, Mimosa trees might not work well as shade trees. Consider this lack of shade when choosing if or where to plant a Mimosa tree.
Mimosa trees have a short lifespan of just 10 to 20 years. Breakage of the weak wood might contribute to the short lifespan, because disease and pests can more readily access the tree. This short lifespan means the tree might have to be replaced more often than other types of trees. Also, it produces an abundance of seeds that send up new sprouts in almost weed-like fashion, requiring intense maintenance to control each year.
Because of its ability to disrupt pavement and its invasive nature, Mimosa is restricted in many areas. Once Mimosa escapes control, trees sprout up in dramatic numbers and crowd out native species. Complicating the problem is the fact that seeds remain viable for five years. Florida's Exotic Pest Plant Council has listed Mimosa as a Category II invasive plant. The Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health lists Mimosa among invasives it has catalogued. Check local restrictions before planting Mimosa.