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Sweet acacia gets its name from the richly fragrant yellow flowers it produces each spring. Native to deserts of the Southwest, Mexico and Chile, this drought adapted plant can be grown as a large mounding shrub or medium size deciduous tree with a broad canopy. Old specimens can reach 20-25 ft. tall and as wide. Branches have numerous short spines and are covered with small bipinnately divided leaves that produce a soft and fine texture; it achieves intermediate shade value. Countless showy, round flowers occur in early to mid-spring and are bright yellow and sweetly fragrant.

Sweet acacia has great potential for Inland Empire gardens, particularly in southwestern style plantings. It prefers well-drained soils and is naturally suited to aridity, wind, full sun, high summer temperatures and winter cold to 18-20°F. It is adapted to periods of summer drought and will become drought-deciduous without summer moisture. It is suited as a patio specimen, in raised planters and as an entryway tree.

Water Needs

The Sweet acacia is well adapted to warm and sunny climate areas within the Inland Empire where it can be sustained with normal winter rainfall and low amounts of summer water. Deep watering is recommended during summer; this will sustain the best flowering performance and help maintain good foliage character. It should be noted there are several winter months marked by an asterisk (*) when rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates Sweet acacia can grow with varying amounts of water depending upon exposure conditions and size.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 2

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"-14"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Tree, Native
Foliage Character: Winter deciduous
Habit: Open, Mounding, Low-branching
Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: 20 ft. - 25 ft.
Width: 20 ft. - 25 ft.
Water Needs: Low 2
Foliage Color: Light green
Flower Color: Yellow
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Clay
Exposure Adaptations: Wind, Heat, Frost, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Wildlife value, Specimen, Parkway and median tree, Flowering accent plant, California native, Fragrant flowers


Prune when young to establish a nice long-term structure. This acacia is adapted to lean soils, so it is best to avoid long-term heavy organic (wood chip) mulching. Gravel or small stone mulch or shallow organic mulch, held away from the trunk and root crown, is okay Plant fall through early spring. Prune late winter (just prior to spring growth) or spring (D).


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