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Plants 101: Pearl Acacia Tree

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Plants 101: Pearl Acacia Tree

Check out the journey of my Pearl Acacia as it grows into one of the loveliest small trees we know. Beautiful showy yellow flowers in spring and soft grey leaves year round make it a must-have patio tree.

In 2013 I made a separate area in my garage but I wanted to create privacy from my home's kitchen without building a wall or going crazy. I knew a smaller tree would be perfect but I was too impatient to wait 5 years for one to grow and too broke to cough up the money for a large specimen. I had used Acacias on jobs in the past and decided that a Pearl Acacia (aka Acacia podalyriifolia) might do just the trick. Luckily San Marcos Nursery happened to have a few 15 gal. available and I put the tree in right away.

After one year this is what it looked like...stunning! We even had a major set-back when it was first planted because a drip-line broke right by the newly planted tree and the area became flooded. One thing this tree does not like is too much water. I thought it was a gonner but I was convinced to pull it out of the ground and hospice it in a 24" box until it dried out. Three months later it had recovered as if nothing had ever happened. Phew!

Two years later, this was the view from my kitchen. Not only was my garage hidden, so was the neighbor's.

Three years out you couldn't even see the garage from the upstair's balcony.

And now, only four years later, here is the view from the garage. Doesn't it look like that tree has been there for 20 years?

Pearl Acacias bloom from late January through mid March in Southern California. The flowers are like little yellow pom poms and look great in vases (because believe me, you will have a lot of them). When they aren't blooming, they have a beautiful grey/green leaf that has a slightly fuzzy quality to it.

Pearl Acacia Pros: Fast growing, drought tolerant, gorgeous.

Pearl Acacia Cons: Very, very messy!!! After the flowers are done, the dried husks fall every where. This wouldn't be so bad if then they weren't followed by endless seed pods. Luckily the squirrels LOVE this and we are entertained for a good two months of squirrels flying around the tree going crazy with the seeds. Our three dogs don't find it quite as amusing but I'm always looking for a silver lining.

So would I have planted a Pearl Acacia if I'd realized how messy it was going to be...yes! As my mother always told me when I was a teenager, "Sometimes it hurts to be beautiful."