Garden Oracle / Drought and Heat Tolerant Gardening / Tucson - Phoenix - Arizona - California

Growing Acacia farnesiana:
Sweet Acacia

Back to Trees and Palms

social icons Facebook Pinterest Instagram

Form: Tree.
Lifespan: Less than 50 years.
Leaf retention: Evergreen except cold-deciduous.
Growth rate: Moderate to rapid.
Mature Size: 15-35' (4.5-10.7m) high and wide.
Flowers: Orange to yellow puff-balls, about 1/2" (1.25cm) in diameter, sweetly fragrant, abundant. The pollen may trigger allergies in sensitive individuals.
Bloom: Late fall through spring.
Fruit: A dark brown, tubular bean pod. The seeds are non-toxic to humans but toxic to dogs.
Leaves: Tiny, oval, green, compound. Provides light filtered shade.
Stems: Paired thorns at nodes of slightly zig-zag branches.
Roots: Nitrogen-fixing*.
Wildlife: Attracts butterflies and bees. Deer, javelina and cattle eat the seedpods.
Toxic / Danger: Thorns.
Origin: California to Georgia, Florida, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 8b-11 or 9b-11 depending on the source of the seed from which the plant sprouted.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun. This tree is shade intolerant.
Water once established: Monthly.
Soil: Well drained, dry, low in organic content, pH 6.1-8.5 (slightly acidic to alkaline). This tree has good saline tolerance. *Do not use a nitrogen fertilizer.
Prune: In winter. This tree flowers on old wood, so pruning will reduce flowering.
Litter: Seed pods, leaves.
Propagation: Seed.
Pests: Can be prone to mistletoe infection if given insufficient water.
Uses: Ornamental, xeric garden. The flowers are used to make Cassie Flower perfume in Europe.

This plant is a member of the Legume family (Fabaceae). It is widespread throughout the Americas and its appearance varies with the local climate.
Acacia farnesiana differs from Acacia constricta in that it has a more definite, and larger, central trunk when multiple trunks develop. The bean pods are tubular rather than flattened, and shorter and dark brown rather than long and reddish tan.

Do you have additional information or a different experience for these plants that you would like to share? Email All contributions are welcome and appreciated.

Acacia farnesiana: Sweet Acacia - flowers

Acacia farnesiana: Sweet Acacia - seed pods

Acacia farnesiana: Sweet Acacia

Latest update: March, 2024
© 2008-2024 by