Sweet Acacia

Sweet acacia is not a particularly common landscape plant, likely because of the sharp thorns produced by the tree. But gardeners willing to give this plant a try will be rewarded with beautiful, fragrant yellow blooms. Not only will sweet acacia treat your senses, it does so with with little work on your part.

Characteristics

Sweet acacia (Acacia farnesiana) features small yellow "puff" flowers that appear in clusters in late winter or early spring. It continues to bloom after each new flush of growth, giving you a long season of beautiful, very fragrant flowers. Sweet acacia is planted extensively throughout southern Europe by gardeners wishing to enjoy its beautifully scented flowers, which are often used in making perfume.

This plant can grow up to 15 to 20 feet tall and can be used in your landscape as a tree or a large shrub. The fine green leaves of this tree are small and ferny. Sweet acacia is semi-evergreen, meaning that it may keep some of its leaves during mild winters.  

Sweet acacia produces more than fragrance. The tree serves as a nesting site for birds, and they also enjoy the seeds its fruit produces. White-tailed deer have also been known to eat the fruit.

Planting and Care

For best results plant your tree in an area where it will receive full sun. Water occasionally, only once or twice a month during the growing season once your tree is established.

Sweet acacia will grow well in south and central Florida, but gardeners in northern parts of the state will need to protect the tree during the winter as it can be damaged by frost. It's highly drought tolerant, although it will defoliate during a severe drought. This tree will tolerate some salt, sites that are occasionally wet, and will grow in a variety of soil types; just make sure the soil is generally well drained.

You will need to prune your sweet acacia if you are interested in maintaining a single trunk look for the tree. If you are not concerned with maintaining a single trunk, your sweet acacia will become a small to medium sized tree with wispy, drooping branches.

While sweet acacia has many desirable qualities, be aware that this lovely addition to the landscape does have a thorny side. Plant your sweet acacia in an area where people will not come in physical contact with it. You will also want to take care around the thorns as you prune your sweet acacia.

For more information on sweet acacia, contact your county Extension office.

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