All about the Acacia Plant
Acacia, also known as wattle, whistling thorn or thorntree, is a tree native to Australia. The yellow puffball blooms that this tree produces are popular in arrangements and bouquets, especially in the warmer climates where this tree is grown. If you are a fan of this flower, it is good to understand its history, its practical uses, and how to care for it should you decide to grow your own. This information will help you decide if acacia is best for your bouquet or garden.
Description of the Acacia Plant
The acacia plant is actually a part of a genus that involves shrubs and trees, and is not technically a flower. There are many different species of acacia, and each has its own unique characteristics. In fact, while some may have thorns or sap, other may be the complete opposite. With all the different varieties, you will have a lot of great choices for your yard or garden. Over a thousand species of acacia plants are grown in Australia, which makes it fitting that the national flower of Australia is the Golden Wattle, or Acacia pycnantha. However, there are actually about 1300 species that you will find of this shrub and tree throughout the world. Acacia plants are mainly found throughout Africa, parts of Asia, and Australia, though may find a few in North America as well. They grow best in warmer climates, as these shrubs do not do well in areas that are dry or cold.
How to Grow the Acacia Plant
To grow acacia plants from seedlings, plant the individual seedlings into three inch containers with gravel at the bottom to provide drainage. Be careful not to over-water; only water when the top few inches of soil are dry. Gradually introduce sunlight by placing the seedlings in a window for a few hours each day, and working up to a full day’s worth of sun. Acacias don’t last long in containers, so make sure to transplant them into your yard or garden once the temperature is above 18°C (65°F).
Uses for the Acacia Plant
There are multiple uses for the acacia plant. Parts of the world like Burma and Thailand use acacia seeds in curries, soups, and stir-fries. Many acacia trees also yield gum, which is used for many types of candy as well as paint, ceramic glaze and fireworks. Most people use acacias as ornamental plants, as many varieties such as the Silver Wattle, or Acacia dealbata, are quite beautiful and can also provide natural fences for yards.