General opinion on Mimosa (Albizia julibrissen) for bonsai

Lou T

Mame
Messages
153
Reaction score
81
Location
NE Florida
USDA Zone
9a
I found a couple of old neglected dinosaur mimosas that are pretty gnarley at my local nursery. To the point where they appear to have a caudex. Anyone ever work with this species for bonsai?
 

Lou T

Mame
Messages
153
Reaction score
81
Location
NE Florida
USDA Zone
9a
The leaves are compound and large but it might work for a larger tree. Just be aware they grow fast as hell!
I think I can pick it up for $10. I’ll bring it home and post tomorrow.
 

Vance Wood

Lord Mugo
Messages
13,071
Reaction score
14,401
Location
Michigan
USDA Zone
5-6
They will also grow and flourish in the State of Utah. My grandparents went to Hawaii one year and brought back some of the seed from Mimosa. My brother grew some of them from seed and several of them were planted at my grandparents home in Salt Lake City Utah. They survived there for many decades.
 

coh

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
5,001
Reaction score
5,024
Location
Rochester, NY
USDA Zone
6
Bill V had two very nice specimens, you can find pictures of them on the web (and in his book). Unfortunately both have become "permanently dormant" as Bill says.
 

Lou T

Mame
Messages
153
Reaction score
81
Location
NE Florida
USDA Zone
9a
They will also grow and flourish in the State of Utah. My grandparents went to Hawaii one year and brought back some of the seed from Mimosa. My brother grew some of them from seed and several of them were planted at my grandparents home in Salt Lake City Utah. They survived there for many decades.
That’s pretty cool. I had no idea they were hardy down to -10. I see a lot of them in Florida and figured they were tropical.

Bill V had two very nice specimens, you can find pictures of them on the web (and in his book). Unfortunately both have become "permanently dormant" as Bill says.
I’m going to give it a shot. I just looked his up, impressive trees. I wonder if they expired from old age? I don’t think this species is very long-lived.
 

coh

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
5,001
Reaction score
5,024
Location
Rochester, NY
USDA Zone
6
I’m going to give it a shot. I just looked his up, impressive trees. I wonder if they expired from old age? I don’t think this species is very long-lived.
I don't know, when I asked about them a few years ago all he said was they were permanently dormant. Not sure if they just didn't wake up one spring or there was a slow
decline or fungal issue.

As far as hardiness - there are a few scattered around the Rochester area and our average coldest temp each year is around -10 F or so. There is at least one cultivar that is supposedly more hardy than
most - think the name is EH Wilson or something like that. I've planted a couple out in our yard and they make it through the winter, but they've been attacked by bark beetles which kills back the
trunks.
 

TN_Jim

Omono
Messages
1,036
Reaction score
942
Location
Nashville TN
USDA Zone
7a
I used to cut the lawn of this girl I dated and left two that had sprouted that were about 18” in the back yard. In a little over two years they were around 20’, so they do indeed grow very fast.

I have tried to collect several in the wild to no avail because they all seem to have a ridiculously long horizontal tap root (for lack of better words, more like stem), like an arm bent at the elbow underground, and all fine feeder roots several feet away as the “hand” -virtually none at the “elbow” below the trunk where you want them. It’s like they run to water or such. These also sway like crazy in the wind which could be part of this morphology I’ve observed.

My point is, beware of this if considering to plant in the ground to fatten trunk. Anyone else seen this?

I dig, find this...replace soil...repeat.
 

BonsaiNaga13

Shohin
Messages
300
Reaction score
202
Location
St. Louis, Missouri
USDA Zone
6b
I have a huge one in my back yard and it has about a million seed pods on it so there's always plenty babies growing, they're very invasive but I collected 2 last year I'll see if they wake up. They're pretty short lived trees and I read that they don't flower until they reach 10 feet but they can be grown from cutting in water and root so I wouldn't stress about not having feeder roots at collection
 

Potawatomi13

Masterpiece
Messages
2,747
Reaction score
1,718
Location
Eugene, OR
USDA Zone
8
Go for it larger tree suggested. Beautiful airy flowers. One year here had sub teens to - 13 temps several days and remember seeing one in ground tree brutally frozen. When Spring came had to grow out of old wood branches anew:eek:.
 

BonsaiNaga13

Shohin
Messages
300
Reaction score
202
Location
St. Louis, Missouri
USDA Zone
6b
Mine grew through our wire fence and fused around the fence. It's taller than the house and survived that one winter we had -14 weather. It's about 15 years old though and a lot of large branches have died off rescently.
 

penumbra

Chumono
Messages
648
Reaction score
507
Location
Front Royal, VA
USDA Zone
6
I know this tree well and most of what is reported here is accurate. I was amused by the description of the long tap like horizontal root described. This is very accurate. The first one I attempted to dig about 40 years ago was about 1 in cal trunk and had a root close to that size that meandered about 9 feet from the trunk. They are a short lived tree and almost always weaken after 30- 40 years. That's enough for most of us. I have not tried cuttings but I have a lot of seedlings from my 30 year old 32 foot tall tree I planted from a small nursery can. I have not bonsai-ed one yet but I intend to this year. I may even do a forest setting. Stunning tree flowers after about 10 years. It has survived minus 14 in my yard but experienced a little tip die back.
 

Cable

Chumono
Messages
819
Reaction score
1,074
Location
Sheffield Village, Ohio
USDA Zone
6a
They're treated as garbage trees in the south because they're so fast growing an invasive.

I live in Ohio and you see them on occasion. My nursery grew the supposedly hardier ones for a while but gave up because they're still borderline hardy to the area. We're trying a new "chocolate" one this year.

I have one in my yard I planted about 10 years ago. A harsh winter about 3 years ago hit it hard and then another harsh winter killed it to the ground. Had about an 8" caliper. I cut it down and multiple suckers grew up. Two years later I have about a 4" caliper on the two trunks I kept. We'll see what happens!

Yeah, they spread by rhizomes and a couple of times each year I have to cut those back.

Love the flowers, though. Mine didn't flower for a couple of years but now does so reliably. It needs heat for best flowering.

2012-07-04_11-26-26_602.jpg 2012-07-04_11-26-08_14.jpg
 

rockm

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
8,813
Reaction score
10,310
Location
Fairfax Va.
USDA Zone
7
They are crap for bonsai--and don't make the mistake of confusing Albizia Juliabrissen--silk tree with ACTUAL mimosa--both are tropical/subtropical species. For silk tree, that means it can be iffy in a container in colder areas..

Silk tree is extremely common throughout the south. It's a weed and it shows in how fast it grows--leggy, gawky and awkward.
I've tried this tree for bonsai. Not worth the trouble.
BTW if those puffy blossoms get wet (and they will in the rain) they turn into blobs of mush.

Bill V's were probably the best silk tree bonsai in the country. His results are far from typical.
 

penumbra

Chumono
Messages
648
Reaction score
507
Location
Front Royal, VA
USDA Zone
6
They are crap for bonsai--and don't make the mistake of confusing Albizia Juliabrissen--silk tree with ACTUAL mimosa--both are tropical/subtropical species. For silk tree, that means it can be iffy in a container in colder areas..

Silk tree is extremely common throughout the south. It's a weed and it shows in how fast it grows--leggy, gawky and awkward.
I've tried this tree for bonsai. Not worth the trouble.
BTW if those puffy blossoms get wet (and they will in the rain) they turn into blobs of mush.

Bill V's were probably the best silk tree bonsai in the country. His results are far from typical.
Thanks. All the more reason for me to do it.
 

coh

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
5,001
Reaction score
5,024
Location
Rochester, NY
USDA Zone
6
They are crap for bonsai--and don't make the mistake of confusing Albizia Juliabrissen--silk tree with ACTUAL mimosa--both are tropical/subtropical species. For silk tree, that means it can be iffy in a container in colder areas..

Silk tree is extremely common throughout the south. It's a weed and it shows in how fast it grows--leggy, gawky and awkward.
I've tried this tree for bonsai. Not worth the trouble.
BTW if those puffy blossoms get wet (and they will in the rain) they turn into blobs of mush.

Bill V's were probably the best silk tree bonsai in the country. His results are far from typical.
Would you have felt the results were worth the trouble if your trees had turned out like Bill's? Looking at Bill's specimens it is hard to
come to the conclusion they are "crap for bonsai". Certainly they are difficult subjects but in the right hands they can be beautiful.
Yours apparently weren't the right hands.
 

TN_Jim

Omono
Messages
1,036
Reaction score
942
Location
Nashville TN
USDA Zone
7a
What's this I always hear about them being short-lived?
How short?
That’s a great question.
With that wacky rhizome/root situation in the wild, I would imagine that if they take to a pot, they’d live much longer in a pot than the wild.

I’ve seen these take a beating, canopy bent over almost hitting the ground in the winds that do nothing of the sort to surrounding trees -like tall umbrellas...not exactly built to last??

This .edu page/paper says 10-20
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/m/#publication?id=ST068
 

coh

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
5,001
Reaction score
5,024
Location
Rochester, NY
USDA Zone
6
BTW, I've had a couple in my growing beds that I've dug up after a few years. Have not encountered any particularly
long roots or underground stems, that may be something that develops when seeds germinate and are allowed to grow
without any root work. If you start with a pot-established plant and work the roots before putting in the ground, there should
be no problem. However, they are prolific rooters and if left unattended for more than 2 or 3 years you might have a
mess (many big/coarse roots) to deal with.
 

Similar threads


Top Bottom