Sweet acacia is a small to medium-sized tree that grows to 20 ft. tall and develops a 20 foot canopy. Fragrant, golden yellow, puffball-like flowers appear from October to March. Flowers are followed by short, dark brown, seedpods. These pods contain many seeds that sprout readily with extra moisture. Its branches have 1" long thorns that can be a nuisance. Sweet acacia tree is often confused with a similar plant,Acacia smallii, which is more tolerant of cold and blooms only in the spring. There are several hybrids between these two plants that are sold in nurseries under the name “Sweet Acacia.” This charming tree makes a colorful addition to gardens in Southern Arizona, where it is highly valued for its cool season flower display and sweet fragrance.
Sweet acacia tree does require a good deal of maintenance. Although drought-tolerant, this highly decorative tree will benefit from a few deep, thorough soakings in the summer. Plant sweet acacia tree in full sun exposures and in soil with good drainage. When young, it tends to be multi-trunked and very shrub-like, requiring substantial pruning to shape. Prune sweet acacia trees in late spring or early summer to remove damaged limbs and to shape. Water established sweet acacia every other week in summer and every three to four weeks in winter. Seeds will often sprout near the base of sweet acacia tree requiring regular weeding in order to avoid encroachment.