If you like the sight of hummingbirds, then the popular silk tree, also known as the mimosa tree, would make a great addition to your property’s landscape. Hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies absolutely love this tree’s uniquely-shaped, pink blooms. And even better, property owners love this tree for its total package. This is a tree that is not only stunning when it’s in bloom, but it’s also extremely hardy, fast-growing, and easy to care for.
Originating from China, the silk tree was brought to the United States in the mid-18th century, and now can be found in most states from coast to coast. It derived its name, silk tree, from its flower puffs that resemble silk threads. If you have ever traveled to Hawaii, this is a tree that brings a sense of familiarity because it looks nearly identical to its cousin, the monkeypod tree, which reigns as one of Hawaii’s most prominent trees. The silk tree possesses a tropical display and does very well in high temperatures. While it may not be the tropics, it still flourishes in the dry, hot summer months in San Diego. It may be a heat-tolerant and drought-tolerant tree, but being a tropical tree, if you want your mimosa to reach its highest potential, then it would be best to keep it on a regular, deep-water schedule.
In the late spring and into the summer months, the mimosa tree shifts into “bedazzle” mode when its pink blooms emerge. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, “All good things must come to an end.” It holds true with the silk tree. After its beautiful bloom season ends, the tree’s “ugly” season begins, as its gorgeous art show turns into a sad exhibit of 6-inch seed pods. Initially, it’s not too bad, but then the tree’s fern-like foliage drop when the temperatures begin to drop. Then in the winter, all that is left is a straggly, leafless tree with hundreds of drooping, brown seed pods.
As with any tree, when the silk tree is first planted in a new location, it goes through a shock period that can last a couple of years. You won’t see much action during this time. You won’t even see flowers. But once its roots get firmly established (typically 2-5 years), the tree quickly grows until it reaches its plateau height, which typically lands in the 20-30ft range. And after years of waiting, you’ll finally get to see those spectacular flower clusters. But before that happens, the tree needs to reach a certain level of maturity before it can produce flowers. In general, the mimosa typically doesn’t start producing blooms until it reaches a height of 10 feet.