The bonsai Mimosa created from Albizia julibrissin is a deciduous, temperate tree (not a tropical) of the Albizia genus in the family Leguminosae.
When most people refer to mimosa bonsai, they are usually talking about this plant. A common name is the "silk tree."
Despite its beauty, this tree has its downsides. It is considered short lived (10-20 years) compared to a long lived trees such as pine (which can live into their hundreds.) It is also susceptible to webworms.
Albizia can be a bit of a challenge for bonsai, mainly because of its often large compound leaves. They can be reduced by frequent pruning. Even then it takes some effort to style.
The flowers are also somewhat large for a small tree. However, when it blooms it is showy. The blooms are often compared to those of the dwarf powder puff.
Fragrant, silky pompoms can be an inch or more in diameter, and appear in abundance in late spring.
Flowers often last throughout the summer (depending on where it is grown.) There are several cultivars including 'Alba' which produces white flowers.
Even though Albizia julibrissin is most often recognized as 'mimosa,' many other plants with compound leaves are often called mimosa.
Many people confuse the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of trees with compound leaves. Several species of Acacia and sometimes Tamarind are commonly put in the 'mimosa' category.
If you have one of these treasures, be sure to know the real name and learn about the care. It's important to remember they are cared for very differently.
On another page is the Leucaena "tropical mimosa bonsai."
There is also a page on the compound leaf Tamarind tree.
We can take a lesson from what Albizia trees like in nature.
"They are successful in poor soil, tolerate dryness, high pH, high winds and drought." In other words, they are not too fussy.
The most important aspect may be, it prefers sun. And despite they tolerate drought, they prefer being evenly moist. Trim often to keep the shape.
Although not a tropical, they still need winter protection in the colder areas of its range. Otherwise, bonsai mimosa could have severe dieback and you could possibly lose your tree in a severe winter.
Mimosa pudica, also known as the "sensitive plant" is a thorny ground cover. Although fun for kids to touch the leaves and watch them fold up, they do have nasty thorns. It is not a good bonsai subject.
This video shows the leaves closing in real time!
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