Summer Chocolate Mimosa

Jen_WoburnMA(z5MA)August 14, 2005

Just thought I'd post a picture of my new summer chocolate mimosa. It is so beautiful! (note: i'm in zone 5 so it's not invasive)

Image link:

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Expect to have to pull open the roots when planting. Consider that the root system of a woody plant is usually bigger than the top, then look at the relative sizes of the top of your tree and the pot it is in.

If you already planted it, dig it back up and attend to the roots. While this may traumatize it now, it is better than having it grow for years and then start to girdle itself or even fall over, just as it was getting some size.

The rather weak purple it has at this time of the year pales in comparison to its spring foliage color, so if you think it looks great now, wait until next year.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2005 at 1:48AM
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Thanks Ron. That is good advice about the roots. We actually planted one previously and didn't attend to the roots well and now it is looking kinda sickly. I hope they winter over well, probably have to wrap it in burlap to protect it from our new england weather. I can't wait to see it in its full glory.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2005 at 8:10AM
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Unitl reading this I didn't know it was called a chocolate mimosa!! Anyway, when in full glory as you say they are without a doubt one of the most beautiful trees I have ever seen!! I have one next to my pasture, it stands about 15 feet tall and spreads out about 30 feet in circumference. I will have to take a pic next season for posting. Also they produce enormous amounts of seed pods!! This tree as reseeded itself in several locations around the pasture, saplings are about two feet tall now. I can't wait to move them and show them off near the house!! -Myron

    Bookmark   August 27, 2005 at 2:05AM
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Myron, yours is probably not the "chocolate" cultivar which is only recently appearing in nurseries. This one is specially cultivated to have dark bronze leaves. You probably have the species mimosa.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2005 at 8:41PM
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luvahydrangea(Albany, NY 5)

Wow, that *is* beautiful. I've never seen the chocolate varieties.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2005 at 10:50PM
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It originated in Japan. History is online at USPTO (you need to have the plant patent number to search the site). This spring I saw another purplish one in what appeared to be a block of seedlings at a local outlet, so maybe these are not extremely rare.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2005 at 3:31PM
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I planted a small one last year and it is stunning. This year it is more than twice the size. It is in a front bed, providing light shade for the flowers. Many passersby admire it and ask what it is. I have seen no seed pods at all. It is definately a Summer Chocolate Mimosa and it was recommended by a local nursery. I'm pretty sure they don't usually don't recommend mimosas, so I gather this is an improved cultivar.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2005 at 4:28PM
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andrea_san_diego(z10 So Cal)

I bought some black mimosa seeds online and received 12 seeds. Every one of them has sprouted and are about 2" tall. I can't wait to see if they are truely chocolate.

I called every nursery in San Diego and no one carries that variety yet so that's why I decided to try the seeds. Most nurserys had never heard of summer chocolate.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2005 at 11:59PM
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Its only distinctive feature is the purple leaves. Many garden centers here have it now. The supplier is a major container nursery company that has been at it for years, it's likely a large portion of local operators were already customers.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2005 at 10:46PM
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famartin(z5 NE NV)

I've actually seen a lot of mimosas (in New Jersey) show some purplish foliage, so I'm not surprised they came up with a cultivar that is MEGA purple... I guess my only surprise is that it took so long for it to show up in stores ;)

    Bookmark   September 30, 2005 at 7:27PM
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snasxs(7-8 VA)

Interesting color.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2007 at 11:09PM
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Jen, I'm wondering if your Summer Chocolate Mimosa is still alive after 2 winters in zone 5, and how you protected it from winter. I'm in zone 4b/5a and would love to grow this plant. If it dies back over winter does it come back from the roots, and if so how much growth? Has anyone tried to overwinter it in a container?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 5:09PM
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Jeannette wi, you can overwinter mimosas in containers. That's how I grow mine here in zone 5, Portland, Me. If you can keep it in a garage or someplace like that where the temps don't drop below zero, it should be fine, although you do have to keep the soil from freezing solid, so you would have to wrap the tub in a couple blankets, or quilts, etc, AND occasionally
put something inside the blankets, quilts, etc, such as gallon jugs, etc, of hot water, or maybe even use an electric blanket. That's what I do with my tree, I use a couple gallon jugs of hot water on the coldest nights and I just change the water once a day; sounds crazy, but it does keep the soil from freezing and it's not really all that complicated once you get in the habit of doing it! Sure is worth the effort knowing that each summer you'll have those beautiful and sweet-smelling flowers for almost 2 months.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 5:32PM
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Can anyone suggest a nursery (besides the one that sells them for $150). I have tried purchasing the seds but they all came out green.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 6:33AM
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HI all. My SCM is doing fabulously after two winters. I didn't do anything to protect it and last winter in massachusetts was pretty harsh so i feel like it is pretty hardy. Its about 8 ft tall and is nicely leafed out for the summer. It had a few flowers last year and no seed pods. I have one sport growing off the main root that is about 2 feet tall. Anyone have any advice on how to separate this little guy from the parent? I might wait another year for it to get get bigger but don't know if it will suck life from the parent. i'll try to upload a couple of recent pictures.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 11:45AM
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pictures of summer chocolate mimosa summer 2008 (copy and paste link into browser then scroll through pictures 184-187)

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 12:45PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

If the "sport" is green it is probably a rootstock sprout and should just be cut off.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 1:02PM
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kathyannd(Zone 9b)

Jen, I'm just a bit north of you in Newburyport. I was asked to design a garden for my husband's and son's local Masonic lodge. I incorporated this tree into the plan because of the bloom time, size, and visual interest. I was excited to read of your experience since you do live in such close proximity to us and I was concerned about hardiness.

Can you point me to a local source for this tree?



    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 12:02AM
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HI Kathy. I bought my tree at McCues Nursery in WOburn MA a couple of years ago for about 100$. NOt sure if they carried it last year. If you happen to go to the nursery lemme know since i am about 1 mile away and you can stop by and see the tree (well, wait til the summer anyways). It is about 8 feet tall now and has overwintered just fine for us in Zone 5.

I am actually going to try to take some cuttings for another garden web poster. Do you want me to cut you some??

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 2:34PM
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myonlysunshine(z5 ma)

i love this tree!What are you looking to get for cuttings?

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 10:05PM
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This message is for Gardenut (Vicki) who emailed me but your return email doesn't work:

I am in Zone 5 just a bit north and west of boston MA. our SCM is about 5 yrs old now and about 12 feet tall. Winters over fine - just starting to leaf out now. Gets pretty much full sun (eastern exposure) and i don't water it except when i water plants around it but when i forst planted it i watered it pretty much every day in the summer - soil is clay so probably not well drained. Has bloomed the past couple years (cute puffy pink flowers).
Hope that helps! Good luck with yours!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 8:55AM
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gardyloo(9 / Sunset zone 14)

I'm wondering if anyone had luck growing these true from seeds?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 3:34PM
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I am in Chicago and just bought the Chocolate Summer for $15 at Home Depot, it's 6ft tall, it was on sale. I've had it in the original pot for probably a month, it dried up and dropped all leaves, so I thought I killed it. I did notice the new growth of leaves, so I am thinking again where to plant it and give it some TLC.
It is a pretty tree and I probably will use it for dappled shade for rhododendrons. I do hope that it survives our winter, though.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 4:05PM
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Just hoping to check in with the folks who had the early postings on this "Chocolate" Mimosa. Can it be pruned to behave, if getting somewhat large?

What's the trunk size turning out to be? And as to bloom, will it bloom some even if it doesn't get the full 6 hours? -- Here's hoping, thanks!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 2:54AM
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Hi. We had to prune our SCM this summer because it was growing somewhat lopsided. It had one branch that was way larger than the rest so we trimmed that back so now it looks much more even. The trunk is about 4-5 inches in diameter now and probably reached 10-12 ft tall beofre i trimmed it back. Lots of seed pods this year (though it doesn't grow true from seed and it's not invasive in our zone so we don't worry about babies...). The brown color is really enhanced by sunlight so I would recommend at least a half day of sun but that is just my experience. Not sure about how much sun it needs to bloom.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 3:04PM
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Just planted both the common green and the Summer Chocolate version of the Mimosa in my zone. I am in a weird micro-climate of zone 6a to 5b. I am interested in seeing how well they do. They are getting full-sun in my yard, so I will keep you posted on their progress.

I got them at Home Depot for under $20 each during their half-off sale. They are each 4' high. I planted them well with a mixture of Mirale-Gro shrub and tree soil and native soil. They seem to be thriving, and I even see flower buds! Gasp!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 6:46PM
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Oh, I am so sad! It appears that my new (green) mimosa tree has wilt. She is a goner. I checked for all the signs, and she definitely has the dreaded disease. Such a shame, because she was only two years old I would say, and I have my other mimosa in close proximity. At least the summer chocolate mimosa does not have any signs of wilt YET. The other one is going back to Home Depot for a refund. Boo.

I hope the summer chocolate will survive the 20ft proximity to the infected tree! Yikes!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 4:16PM
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rubyhum(Zone 6 according to Garden Web perhaps zone 7 Northeast USA)

Schiba, curious how your mimosas did. Any photos too?

    Bookmark   October 25, 2014 at 7:58AM
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