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Mimosa Tree Vs Powder Puff Tree (Key Differences)

It is natural for a beginner gardener to be perplexed by certain plants, especially when the plants in issue share certain features. For example, the mimosa tree and powder puff tree are so similar that even experienced gardeners struggle to tell them apart.

The distinction between the two plants necessitated the creation of this post where we compared mimosa tree vs powder puff tree.

Albizia julibrissin (Mimosa) and Calliandra (Powder-puff) are linked in that they are both members of the legume (Leguminosae) family. However, Mimosa trees have a low branching, open, spreading growth tendency, while powder puff trees have a sprawling growth style.

Continue reading to learn about the distinctions between the two plants.

What is Mimosa Tree?

The mimosa tree was introduced as an ornamental tree, but it escaped cultivation and is now found in various locations throughout the southeastern United States. 

Mimosa trees yield seed pods, each of which contains five to ten seeds. The seeds contain a neurotoxin that, if consumed, can be hazardous to dogs and cattle.

What is Powder Puff Tree?

Powder puff trees are big, fast-growing shrubs. These resilient little trees have lovely foliage and branch out widely. The flower buds are as unique as the blooms themselves, like small spherical berry bunches.

The powder puff tree is a good small-yard tree with an informal, cottage-garden appearance, especially in a Florida bungalow. A powder puff tree grows quickly and can reach a height of 10 to 15 feet with a crown of the same width.

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Mimosa Tree Vs Powder Puff Tree

As already stated, both plants share certain similarities that make it difficult to tell them apart. However, we are more interested in the difference between both plants

How is Mimosa Tree Different from Powder Puff Tree?

Now, let’s review some differences between both mimosa tree vs powder puff tree:

1. Appearance

While both plants have a similar look, some distinguishing characteristics set them apart.

The powder puff tree is a type of evergreen perennial. It has dark-green, bipinnate leaves with leaflets that are about 2 inches long. Those leaves close at night and reopen in the morning.

On the other hand, Mimosa tree leaves are a medium green tint that contrasts wonderfully with the vivid pink blossoms. The tree is deciduous, which means that its leaves fall off in the fall. The leaves are frequently described as “fern-like.”

2. Growth Rate

The mimosa tree grows quickly, typically adding 2 to 3 feet in height every year. That means it can reach its full height of 20 to 40 feet in 10 to 20 years, assuming you haven’t pruned off too much of its height.

It also grows to a spread of 20 to 50 feet, giving it a flattened, spreading appearance.

Dwarf powder puff tress grows swiftly, reaching a height of six feet and a spread of three feet. The little tree has dark green complex leaves resembling a mimosa tree, with five to ten pairs of leaves per stem.

3. Fragrance and Flowering

Powder Puff trees have spectacular flowers with numerous stamens that bloom in the winter. Each pink bloom has the appearance of a fuzzy puffball.

The most common variety has pinkish-red flowers, but white versions are also available. While the blossoms are beautiful and one-of-a-kind, they do not have a strong fragrance like mimosa trees.

Meanwhile, mimosa trees flower every year between May and July after they reach maturity. Warm temperatures are needed to bring the blossoms into full bloom on these trees.

The flowers are produced in clusters by new spring branch growth, leaving the remaining older branches to focus on foliage development for photosynthetic energy production.

The fragrant blossoms are roughly 1.5 inches long and resemble pompom-like bunches of silky pink threads.

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How is Mimosa Tree Similar to Powder Puff Tree?

Mimosa Tree Vs Powder Puff Tree

1. Both Plants require direct sunlight, warmth, and high humidity to grow.

2. Both plants attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

3. Both plants are considered invasive species. They are fast-growing plants that have the potential to engulf surrounding plants.

4. Both Plants need a normal well-drained soil with peat moss, leaf mold, or compost. Plants should be repotted every year in the spring when they have outgrown their current container

5. Pruning is frequently required to control the growth of both mimosa and powder puff trees.

6. Aphid and mealybug infections are common in both plants, especially when fresh growth is present. You will have to inspect both plants for these pests regularly. It is easier to get rid of a few pests than it is to cope with a whole infestation.

What is Better about Mimosa Tree?

Because the roots of mimosa trees can create nitrogen, the tree can survive a wide range of soil and moisture conditions. Mimosa can grow in dense stands, which reduces the amount of sunshine and nutrients required by its preferred species.

What is Better About Powder Puff Trees?

Consider growing powder puff tress outdoors in full light in warm climates to offer color to your deck or patio area throughout the winter months.

Who Should Plant Mimosa Trees?

You probably should refrain from growing mimosa trees if you have pets in your home. This is because the seeds of mimosa trees contain a neurotoxic that is hazardous to livestock and dogs when ingested.

Who Should Plant Powder Puff Trees?

You should plant powder puff trees if you want a fancy hedge or shrub on your patio. Also, the powder puff tree can be trained to grow in a hanging basket (especially the dwarf varieties – Calliandra emarginata).

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