Acacia - Acacia sp.
General Information: This tall, semievergreen, native shrub or
small tree has feathery, finely divided leaflets of a soft, medium green
color. The slightly rough stems are a rich chocolate brown or grey,
possessing long, sharp, multiple thorns. The small, yellow, puff-like
flowers are very fragrant and appear in clusters in late winter then
sporadically after each new flush of growth, providing nearly year-round
bloom. The persistent fruits have a glossy coat and contain seeds which
are cherished by birds and other wildlife.
Acacias are sometimes called wattles or golden
mimosa. Lesniewicz says that the term mimosa applied to acacia is
mistaken; Ainsworth labels his acacia a mimosa. Most acacias will bear
golden flowers followed by legume pods, but getting acacia to flower in
bonsai culture is reputedly difficult. They have compound leaves, are
well-branched, and have nasty thorns.
prefer full sun.
are warm weather trees. They must be wintered indoors, although they
generally like it somewhat cool -- under 64 degrees
prefer moderate to slightly dry conditions; allow the soil to dry
between waterings. However, the leaves will drop if the soil is allowed
to get too dry. Simon and Shuster's recommends daily misting.
Every 15-20 days during the growth period. Use a standard bonsai
fertilizer, or a low nitrogen fertilizer to encourage
Pruning and wiring: Wiring can be done from spring to autumn, every other year.
Use caution when wiring, as the branches can be delicate. Acacias can
become leggy quickly, and tend towards top growth at the expense of
lower branches, which sometimes die back. It's essential, therefore, to
keep up with constant minor pruning. Acacias have compound leaves, so
leaf pruning is futile.
Propagation: Seed or
cuttings. Cuttings should be taken in summer and supplied with bottom
warmth and rooting hormone. Propagation from seeds seems a better bet,
as acacias germinate in high numbers. The seeds do need some special
treatment, however, due to their hard shells. Nick the bottom ends of
the seeds with a knife or pair of clippers, then place the seeds in a
bath of hot (not boiling!) water. Allow them to soak for two days, then
Every 2-4 years, depending on the age and vigor of the tree. Use a
fast-draining soil mix, low in organic material. Reduce top growth in
proportion to roots that have been pruned. Best to repot before
acclimating the tree to warmer weather. They are easy to grow in any
acid or alkaline soil.
Pests and diseases:
Aphids, flies, thrips, mites etc., also hard shelled insects like scale
and wooly aphids. Occasionally anthracnose can infect leaves.
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