En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - June 08, 2008

From: Mercer, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Survival of non-native mimosa in Pennsylvania
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Can a mimosa tree survive in Pennsylvania weather?


In answer to your question, there's good news and bad news. First, the good news; yes,the USDA Plant Profile for this plant shows it growing in Pennsylvania. This tree is considered hardy to Zone 6a (average min. temperature -10 deg). As far as the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is concerned, this is also the bad news. Albizia julibrissen, silk tree or mimosa tree, native to southern and eastern Asia from Iran to China and Korea, is non-native to North America. At the Wildflower Center, we are very committed to the care and propagation of plants native to North America. The reason for that is that natives are adapted to the area in which they live, and therefore require less water, fertilizer and maintenance. Please see the section on our website on Plantwise, discussing the partnership working to educate the public and communities about best management practices to prevent harmful invasive plants from invading parklands and natural areas.

But over and beyond its nativity, there are other reasons to consider this plant undesirable, among them the fact that it is tremendously messy, can be very invasive, it is often very short-lived and breaks down easily, and vascular wilt in the species is becoming widespread. In fact, some cities have passed ordinances outlawing further planting due to the weed potential and wilt disease problems. This Plant Conservation Alliance website Least Wanted sums up some of the many objections to the plant.

In fairness, however, we would like for you to read the posts on this forum, Dave's Garden Mimosa Tree, on which you will find comments from both sides, including at least 2 gardeners growing it in Pennsylvania. This is pretty lengthy, with a lot of strong opinions on both sides of the question, but perhaps it will help you make your decision.

So, if you happen to choose on the native side (which we hope you do), let us suggest some trees well-adapted to Pennsylvania which should make good choices for your environment.

Amelanchier arborea (common serviceberry)

Betula nigra (river birch)

Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud)

Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)

Gleditsia triacanthos (honeylocust)

Chionanthus virginicus (white fringetree)

Ilex opaca (American holly)

Liquidambar styraciflua (sweetgum)

Amelanchier arborea

Betula nigra

Cercis canadensis

Cornus florida

Gleditsia triacanthos

Chionanthus virginicus

Ilex opaca

Liquidambar styraciflua




More Non-Natives Questions

Natural barrier for sheep in England
July 26, 2008 - Hi I am trying to find a plant that sheep will not eat to use as a natural barrier to keep sheep out of my R/C model flying clubs flying field.It will have to be a couple of feet tall and be a long li...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native St. Augustine lawn from Austin
October 06, 2013 - We have St. Augustine in our front lawn. There are some patches where the grass has entirely died but mixed in with the dead areas are little clumps of living grass. It seems to be spreading througho...
view the full question and answer

Growing non-native Cabernet Sauvignon vines in Central Texas
July 01, 2013 - Hi. I recently moved into a remodeled home in Taylor, TX, and have experimented with Cabernet Savignon vines before. I have a 1/2 acre and a chain-link fence I want to put vines on. (I have a book o...
view the full question and answer

Identification of red/yellow/black flower in California
April 15, 2013 - Plant found, April Mount Diablo CA 6 symmetrical petals red with a pattern of a yellow flower with black edge in the centre, I can not identify, please help.
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native Star Jasmine in Round Rock, TX
May 24, 2009 - I have two star jasmine plants in pots located just under the eaves of my Round Rock, Texas patio. They have been very healthy specimens until this year. They are thinning badly and the ends of the br...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center