Should I plant a mimosa tree? I am told that they are invasive.
I am assuming that you are talking about what is also known as the pink-flowered silk tree, Albizia juibrissin, a Chinese native tree that was introduced into North American ornamental horticulture in 1745. Since then it has spread all along the Atlantic and Gulf Coast seaboards and is categorized as an invasive plant species. Despite this unfortunate status, it is still a very popular ornamental tree that is widely propagated and sold by nurseries wherever it can be grown.
One bright side to this situation is that it primarily naturalizes in disturbed areas along roadsides unlike, say, the notorious tallow tree, which invades everywhere but extreme desert conditions and can destroy pristine habitat. Mimosa has also been credited with bolstering hummingbird populations, providing an abundant, nectar-rich, summer food source that they would otherwise not find in our ever-increasing disturbed areas. It is difficult to criticize a tree with that attribute.
This issue can be debated further, but let’s move on. People love this tree for its exotic-looking beauty and fast growth rate, and as long as nurseries offer it, it will be planted in home landscapes. There are a number of varieties available and two of the best are: “Fan Silk Flame,” which has dark pink, nearly red flowers and “Summer Chocolate,” which has burgundy foliage, pale pink flowers and lower seed production. The latter variety has given rise to a recent introduction, “Merlot Majik,” which has burgundy foliage with deeper pink flowers. It is reportedly sterile and seedless, which would be fantastic. Let’s watch and see.
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