Saturday, September 3, 2011

Grow Persian Silk Tree from Seed

The Albizia julibrissin silk tree is commonly referred to as the Persian silk tree or the mimosa tree.  Many homeowners grow this ornamental tree for the fern like leaves and the showy fragrant flowers.
The flowers bloom in early summer and are rose pink tipped with red. These flowers attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.  The Persian silk tree will accent your landscape beautifully with its eye appealing greenery and exotic flowers.
Grow the Persian silk tree from seed , when seed in planted in the fall it will grow two feet by the end of the following summer. This fast growing tree can reach the height of 25 to 40 feet within 10 years and is a good landscape tree for shade.
Growing the Persian silk tree is easy provided you have a way to get the seeds. The best way to get the seeds is to ask a neighbor who grows the tree for a seedpod, most homeowners are eager to give away the seeds because if they seeds are left on the tree and they fall to the ground the seedlings will germinate quickly and this is how the tree becomes invasive.   
Harvesting Persian Silk tree Seeds
Allow the seedpods to dry out on the tree.  When they are ripe and ready for harvesting the outer shell will be dark beige.  Collect the seedpods from the tree and lay out on a paper towel.  Break open the seedpod and remove the brown seed.  Set the seed in an envelope for fall or spring planting.

Planting Silk Tree Seeds
Plan to plant the seeds in spring or late summer.  If you plant in late summer do allow 6 weeks before hard frost.
Persian Silk tree grown in container

Plant seeds in a container or in the ground.  Many times I will grow seeds in a container and put the container in the greenhouse over the winter. Come spring the seedlings are approximately 12 to 18 inches in height and ready to be transplanted into the yard. 

Persian silk tree grown from seed in the ground, 4 months old
 Another way to plant the silk tree seeds is to sow them into well drained acidic soil with a PH of 4.6 to 5.0.  Silk trees grow best in full sun to part shade.  If you plant more than one silk tree space the trees 20 feet apart.
Get the growing site ready for planting by clearing away the grass.  It is best to clear a circle of 2 feet wide.  By doing this the tree will not be competing with other plants or grass for hydration. 
Work the top 10 inches of the soil with your shovel; loosen the soil that it is a fine texture.  Amend the soil with compost or manure.   Plant the seed in a hole that is two inches deep.  And water well.  Cover the planting sight with organic mulch; pine needles, dried grass clippings or thin layer of straw.
Care for Persian Silk Tree
Keep the growing site evenly moist but not wet. Do not allow the soil to dry out as it puts stress on the seedling.  Germination for the seed is 7 to 14 days.
Persian Silk Tree Tips
  1. Flowers are high in pollen and may cause people to have an allergic reaction.
  2. Leaves will fold inward and appear closed at night and during periods of rain. 
  3. Deep rose colored flowers will bloom mid-summer.
  4. The flowers are a good nectar source for honeybees.
  5. Grow the Persian Silk Tree in USDA Zone 6a to 10b
  6. The seeds can be harvested for livestock feed or for forage for wildlife
  7. The Persian silk tree is commonly referred to as the Mimosa in the US. The mimosa tree is related to the silk tree but the flowers are different.
  8. When Seedling is 10 inches tall fertilize the small tree with spray n' grow. 
  9. Stake the tree to support it and to help it to grow straight.
  10. Helpful to add a mulch ring around the base of tree to protect it from lawn mowers and trimmers.  
View video of mature tree grown from seed:


    pbenfield said...

    OHHH! A Mimosa tree! My mom has one. Love these!

    Unknown said...

    Mimosa is also known as silk tree, were introduced into united States FROM Asia in 1745.Mimosa tree produces seeds in the winter months.They are adapt to any soil type. So, This tree is really a wonderful tree for growing purpose.