Good trees for urban gardens: Mimosa tree, a pink gift in the summer

Northwesterners are justifiably thrilled with the multiple flowering trees in the spring. Gardeners love seeing the flowering plums, cherries, crab apples, dogwoods and other favorites. But the blossoms fall and memories are all we have as spring fades to summer.

However, all is not lost. In July and August, fluffy pink flowers above tropical-appearing leaves come on the horizon. The Mimosa tree (albizzia julibrissin) is in sight. A tree that can grow between 20-40 feet is welcome. It is fairly fast growing and can be headed back to form an umbrella shape quite easily, making it a good patio tree.

The lovely pink flowers stand above the leaves so it is a good tree to look at from a deck or hilltop.

It is also a good tree for screening. If planted at the end of a property with land beyond, it will screen anything that might be built on the land. It will thrive if given adequate water and not subject to heavy winds. Gardeners who want more summer color should welcome the Mimosa tree. It has been a gift from Asia where it originated.

— By Barbara Chase

Barbara Chase is a Master Gardener who serves on the City of Edmonds Citizens Tree Board.

  1. Thank you Barbara for your continued educational voice for trees and for volunteering for our Tree Board.

  2. I wonder about the recommendation for this tree. Something in the back of my mind tickled a cautionary tale and I searched and found this comment on Wikipedia: “Because of its invasive tendencies and disease susceptibility, it is rarely recommended as an ornamental plant in the US, though it is still widely planted in parts of Europe.”

    Hmmm, before we make a mistake similar to what has been perpetrated by the popularity of English Ivy, Laurel, Butterfly bush, Holly and others, I am not going to rush out to procure one of these for my backyard.

  3. This is not a tree for everybody,, But it is beautiful at a time when most trees are not. As with so many plants this tree is a problem in some areas but I have never heard of that being true here. It is not a butterfly bush since it does not produce seedlings.

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