Issue: March 30, 2002

Propagate yellow mimosa by cuttings?


Please tell me how to take a cutting from a mimosa. I have tried a few times and failed. The mimosa has yellow flowers at the moment and is about 30-feet tall. via internet


This is a difficult question to answer because I am not sure which plant we are discussing. Here in New Mexico (I suspect you are not writing from New Mexico) mimosa refers to a tree with pink flowers. This mimosa is in the genus Albizzia. It is difficult to propagate from stem cuttings and is usually grown from seed. There is a true mimosa, Mimosa pudica, which is a smaller plant grown as a houseplant. It also has pink or purple flowers and is known as the "Sensitive Plant." The yellow flowers you describe indicate you are discussing neither the Albizzia, nor the Mimosa with which I am familiar. I will fall back on some basic plant propagation principles that may or may not help in this case, but these are guidelines for things to try when other techniques fail.


When you try to propagate a difficult-to-propagate plant from cuttings, use a rooting hormone (an auxin).


Take the cuttings from the base of the tree, or use sprouts that may develop from the roots. These often have a greater capacity for forming roots.


Attempt to propagate in different seasons. The reproductive season, when flowering, is often not a good time. Take softwood cuttings (when the new growth is still tender), semi-hardwood cuttings (as the growth begins to toughen), and hardwood cutting (after growth is matured and has become woody). This may be done at the beginning of a dormant season (when growth has matured and no new growth is being produced) or at the end of the dormant season (just before new growth begins).

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Marisa Y. Thompson, PhD, is the Extension Horticulture Specialist, in the Department of Extension Plant Sciences at the New Mexico State University Los Lunas Agricultural Science Center, office: 505-865-7340, ext. 113.