Chocolate Mimosa Tree Care: Tips On Growing Chocolate Mimosa Trees

You’ve seen mimosa trees, common and familiar landscape trees especially in the South. They have a tropical look, with slender leaves that make you think of ferns, and frothy pink blossoms in early summer. If your garden could use a touch of the tropics or a little Asian flair, consider growing chocolate mimosa (Albizia julibrissin ‘Summer Chocolate’). So what is a chocolate mimosa? This mimosa variety has an umbrella-shaped canopy with leaves that change from green to dark red, and by late summer they are reddish-bronze or chocolaty brown.

Growing Chocolate Mimosa

Not only is the deep chocolate hue of the foliage unusual and elegant, but it also makes care of chocolate mimosa trees easier. The darker foliage makes the tree both accepting of heat and drought tolerant, according to chocolate mimosa information. Deer dislike the odor of the leaves, so you don’t have to worry about these animals munching up your tree.

You’ll appreciate the unusual leaf color but you’ll also love the 1-to-2 inch showy flowers, which is the showiest feature of chocolate mimosas that bloom in late summer. The sweet fragrance is lovely, and the flowers attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. In time, the pink powder puff flowers develop into long seed pods that look like beans and will decorate the tree all winter.

These lovely trees are perfect for your garden, but you may think twice before planting chocolate mimosa trees since their other mimosa counterparts have escaped cultivation in many areas, to the point of becoming invasive. Mimosas spread from seeds and form dense stands that shade and out compete valuable native plants. They can do so much damage to wild areas that the Plant Conservation Alliance has added them to their “Least Wanted” list.

That being said, research suggests that growing a chocolate mimosa doesn’t carry the same risks as growing the species tree does. That’s because the ‘Summer Chocolate’ isn’t invasive. It produces far fewer seeds. Nonetheless, you should still contact your cooperative extension agent to find out more about the status of summer chocolate mimosa in your area, just to be safe.

Care of Chocolate Mimosa

The care of chocolate mimosa is easy. The plants are rated for USDA plant hardiness zones 7 through 10. You’ll be amazed at how quickly these trees grow. A chocolate mimosa tree in landscapes should get to 20 feet tall and 20 feet wide. This is about half the size of the green species tree, though.

Give the tree a location with full sun and moist but well-drained soil. A chocolate mimosa tree in landscapes also tolerates alkaline soil and salty soil.

The trees need water until their roots are established, but then become extremely drought tolerant. Apply the water slowly, allowing the moisture to sink deep into the soil to encourage a deep root system. Once established, the tree only needs occasional watering in the absence of rain.

Fertilize annually in spring with a complete and balanced fertilizer.

Chocolate mimosa trees almost never need pruning. You can, however, make removal of the seed pods a part of your chocolate mimosa tree care routine, if desired. The seed pods are about 6 inches long and straw-colored, resembling beans, and each pod contains several bean-like seeds. These mature in late summer or early fall.

Note: Summer chocolate mimosa trees are protected by a patent, so you should not try to propagate them.

Mimosa Tree

You may have enjoyed delicious champagne and orange juice Mimosa cocktails at brunch, but the Mimosa tree (Albizia julibrissin) is an elegant tree for your landscape! Also known as the Persian Silk Tree because of its beautiful, light to deep pink flower clusters with their unusual thread-like petals. The flower seems to be as light as silk.

Originally from China, Southwestern and Eastern Asia, this tree was introduced to the United States because of its eye-catching good looks. It features an unusual, tropical, and exotic looking flair. It simply adores heat and humidity, and tolerates drought very well.

If you are looking for a fast-growing shade tree, it’s hard to beat this choice. Mimosa trees are a vase shaped, flat-topped, fine-textured ornamental tree that puts on quite a show.

The bark is generally smooth and gray. The fancy, ornate foliage is similar to a fern. The delicate flower clusters grow on top of the foliage. They look for all the world like lush pink clouds of cotton candy for a good part of the summer.

There is just something special about this memorable tree. The kids will think Dr. Suess created the flowers!

How to Use Mimosa Trees in Your Landscape

The lacy, graceful Mimosa is quite versatile. Mimosas work well in less formal situations and in groups out away from pools and patios, where they can be allowed to take on their natural form. Site this tree wisely in the right setting, and you’ll absolutely love it.

Use this tree to create a gorgeous garden wall or backdrop at the back edge of your lot. As a legume, it will fix nitrogen in your soil. As an added bonus, the beautiful flowers produce a sweet nectar that attracts butterflies, hummingbirds, and pollinators to your yard.

The dappled shade value of the Mimosa can not be understated. It features a wide spreading canopy, that is liberally adorned with flowers that appear to float on top of the leaves for most of the season.

The Mimosa is a wonderful, drought tolerant shade tree for the center of a lawn or to block the hot afternoon sun coming into a south or southwest-facing window.

#ProPlantTips for Care

These are hardy trees that love the heat and tolerate dry soil types beautifully. Plant them in full sun in fast draining soil.

This hardy, memorable tree grows too well in certain regions in the United States. Nature Hills uses a software system called Plant Sentry to follow all local, state and federal regulations for plant materials. We always protect our customer’s communities. We’ll let you know if it’s regulated in your area.

The Mimosa does not require much pruning when selected for areas that can allow it to grow to full size. Study the Plant Highlights to understand the space requirement. Understand that the canopy of the Mimosa gets just as wide as the tree grows.

It’s well suited to hot, dry, low water situations where other trees would struggle. It’s also adapted to colder climates with high summer humidity. It also has the ability to grow in alkaline soil, but will grow best with regular watering in that soil type.

For a gorgeous, fast-growing ornamental shade tree, you can’t go wrong with the Mimosa Tree. Order yours now!


Albizia julibrissin

Mimosa, botanical name Albizia julibrissin, is a magnificent looking, small to large sized deciduous tree that absolutely loves the heat! Native to Asia, this strikingly beautiful tree features a flat-topped dense canopy that provides a good amount of filtered shade to protect and cool off during those hot sunny days. Its flat spreading crown does more than provide shade, it features green ferny leaves and a constant summer bloom of fuzzy, bright pink, powder puff-like flowers that is sure to please the senses. While the summer bloom is a big attractor to people, butterflies, and birds, it’s also an attractive multi-stemmed tree when bare – allowing landscape sunlight in during the winter.

Also known as the Silk tree, this hardy tree requires low to moderate water once established and full sun to partial shade environments. The Mimosa tree is an excellent patio tree and great for bird watching, too. Since it loves high summer weather, it’s a good choice for homeowners in the Southern California Inland Valleys and in Southwestern landscapes where it can take in the heat. For instant shade and curb appeal, we recommend buying as big as you can. Moon Valley Nurseries grows and nurtures the finest Mimosa specimens that are ready to thrive in your Southwest landscape!

Homeowners looking to add a beautiful shade tree in their landscape will find much to love about the Mimosa tree. Gorgeous flowers and foliage, a wide umbrella of shade, butterfly attractor, drought tolerant, hardiness, adaptable to most soil types, a Mimosa tree has all these features and more.

Impress your neighbors and add more value to your property planting a beautiful Mimosa tree in your landscape. Feel free to speak with a Moon Valley Nurseries professional for placement ideas. Be sure to plant with Moon Valley Nurseries brand Fertilizers and Nutrients for spectacular results!

A Bit More

Native to southwestern and eastern Asia, this deciduous to semi-evergreen tree makes a splashy statement with its powder-puff pink to white flowers in the summer months. Fern-like bipinnately divided green leaves are elegant and graceful. Much loved in the valleys of Southern California for its tolerance of intense heat, sun, and aridity, it grows quickly given regular water. The 40 foot wide canopy can be pruned back to 10 or 20 feet with a similar spread. Naturally multi-trunked, it should be staked and trained well to achieve a tall umbrella head that is naturally flat-topped. Leaving considerable litter with its leaves, flower stamens and seed pods, it is best suited to lawns but many cannot resist keeping it on or near a patio. It is perhaps best appreciated from above making it a good choice for above a balcony. Give full sun or partial shade and expect frequent visits from butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds which are drawn to the flowers. Named for a member of the prominent Florentine Albizzi family who introduced it to European gardens in the mid-18th century, its species name is a distortion of a Persian word meaning “silk flower”. It will survive heavy frosts with ease.


Quella2 writes…

I have the standard Persian Silk Tree (pink), but this “summer chocolate” one has purple leaves with pink flowers

Not what I was hoping for; I guess I shall just have to dream about it from afar. Would have made a great addition to my garden.

Just a thought / might be of interest to you?

Acacia baileyana ‘Purpurea’ may not be a Silk Tree..

Although once included in Mimosa, neither is it very close to the Mimoseae. To add to the confusion, several species of Acacia, notably Acacia baileyana and Acacia dealbata, are also known as “mimosa” (especially in floristry), and many Fabaceae trees with highly divided leaves are called thus in horticulture

Acacia baileyana ‘Purpurea’ (Cootamundra Wattle)

Beautiful reddish-purple foliage / highly divided leaves like Albizia Julibrissin

I have three / still young / around 1m x 1m (full-sun), which I call ‘Prince’ Wattle; one is in full sun doing very well, two in part shade are going at about half the growth rate, all bought as tube stock – Cumberland Forest – Native -Tubestock – Production List

This difference between this and the species plant is the colour of the leaves, new growth and young leaves are an attractive reddish purple.

Cootamundra Wattle prefers full sun, it will grow in part shade but will tend to be less dense.

Wattles should be planted in full sun or part shade


The words everyone associates with planting a wattle are “fast-growing but short-lived”. Wattles are quick because many are pioneer plants. They spring up in disturbed areas or after fire, their nitrogen-fixing roots helping the soil, and their flowers and leafy branches offering food and shelter for animals, insects and birds

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