Acacia trees are native to tropical and subtropical regions. Although there are many species of the genus, many of them come from Australia or the African savannah. Can you grow an acacia tree in your own place? Is it possible at all? Read on to learn more.
What You'll Learn Today
Can I Grow an Acacia Tree?
In order to grow an Acacia tree, you will need a hot, sunny climate. Depending on the variety you want to grow, acacia can grow anywhere from hardiness zones 7-11.
Here are some of the most popular varieties to grow:
- Creeping Wattle: You can grow this plant as a shrub or a tree in zones 8-12, as long as it’s in full sun. This species can grow up to 30 feet tall if you let it.
- Acacia Koa: This tree is native to Hawaii and is most successful in zone 11. Koa trees are one of the most common trees in Hawaii and can grow up to 50 feet tall.
- Red-Leaf Wattle: This is a small tree that grows in zones 8-10 in full sun. Mature trees can be anywhere from 7-33 feet tall. The leaves of this acacia turn red in the winter and contain cute round yellow flowers.
- Gum Acacia: This tree grows in hardiness zones 10-12. They are native to the drier regions of Sub-Saharan Africa, Senegal, India, and Pakistan. Gum acacias are primarily grown for their sap, which can be used as a food additive and has medicinal properties.
How To Germinate Acacia Seeds?
Acacia trees are easy to grow and propagate readily from seed. Here’s how to do it:
Step 1: Gather seeds
Acacia trees produce large seed pods that hang down off of the branches. Once the pods turn brown and split open, the seeds will spread. Try to collect the pods once they turn brown before they split open. The time frame will depend on the species you’re growing.
Step 2: Soak the Seeds
Acacia seeds have a hard coating over them, which naturally comes off in brushfires in the wild. This can be removed by pouring hot (not boiling) water over the seeds and soaking them for about 24 hours.
To loosen the tough outer coating quickly, you can also try buffing the seed lightly with sandpaper.
How To Plant Acacia Seeds?
The next phase of acacia germination starts with planting the seeds. To plant them:
Step 1: Place in Soil
Once they are done soaking, most species can be transferred to soil. Check the instructions for your variety to be sure. Plant the seed in a small container with a well-draining potting mix.
Seeds should take anywhere from 2-3 weeks to start sprouting tiny roots – sometimes a little less. During that time, keep the soil moist but not soggy.
Step 2: Transplant Your Seedlings
When your acacia saplings are about an inch tall, they should be separated into their own containers so they don’t have to compete with each other. Plant each seedling in a 3-inch container.
While acacia trees love hot, sunny locations, they need to be acclimated to the sun. You can start the process by giving them a couple of hours of sun in the morning, and then moving them into indirect sunlight for the rest of the day.
Gradually increase the amount of time they’re in the sun leading up to planting them outside.
Step 3: Transplant Again
When your saplings are a few inches tall and have good, solid roots, you can plant them in the yard. The roots usually grow quickly and tend to curl at the ends. If this is the case, trim the little curls at the ends before covering the sprouts with soil.
How Quickly Do Acacia Trees Grow?
Acacia trees are fast growers. Depending on the species, they can grow anywhere from 1-3 feet per year.
Since their roots are so strong and spread so quickly, try to make sure the location you plant them in the yard will be their permanent home. It will be difficult to move them once they are well-established.
How Do You Care For an Acacia Tree?
Acacia trees are pretty self-sufficient in nature. But if you want to maintain a tidy, healthy tree in your yard, there are several factors to keep an eye on:
- Light: Acacia trees prefer a full day of unobstructed sun.
- Temperature: Most varieties of acacia will not thrive in temperatures that get much below 50 degrees. Generally, they are happiest in temperatures from 70-90 degrees.
- Soil: Acacia trees are drought-tolerant, and like well-draining, sandy, or gravelly soil. They won’t do well in soil that stays wet for too long or gets compacted easily.
- Pruning: For maximum health, remove any dead or damaged branches at least once every year. It’s also best to trim branches that rub up against one another.
- Fertilizer: Fully grown acacia trees don’t require fertilizer. But while your young tree is growing, you should plan on fertilizing every 3 weeks.
If you’re interested in bonsai trees, acacia trees can be grown on a small scale as well. Here’s a great video that shows how to turn acacia seeds into a bonsai tree:
Most people think of acacia trees as the flat-topped trees that grow in Africa or Australia. Therefore, it’s surprising to learn that you can grow one of these easy-going trees at home. As long as you have the conditions and climate to mimic their natural habitat, your tree should thrive for many years.