The Rose Acacia is a native shrub that is related to the more widely known black locust tree. Unlike the black locust, which has white flowers, the Rose Acacia has absolutely stunning clusters of beautiful, bright pink or rose-colored flowers. It is native to the southeastern United States and is an old-fashioned garden favorite. It is a deciduous shrub which typically grows variably from 2-10' tall. The flowers appear in 2-4" long, pendulous racemes in May. Compound pinnate, medium to dark green foliage (7-15 leaflets). Flowers are followed by bristly, purple seed pods (to 3" long). Branches, petioles, flower stalks and fruits are hispid (stiffly hairy) as the species name suggests, thus giving rise to another common name of bristly locust. Excellent flowers and foliage. Specimen or screen. Good plant for stabilizing embankments and slopes and for planting in poor, dry soils. Interesting informal hedge. Grow in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Prefers organically rich soils, but tolerates poor, dry soils. It is drought tolerant and heat tolerant and it is a nitrogen fixing legume so it is good for enriching poor soils.
The seeds have a hard seed coat that has to be treated, or scarified, in order for water to enter the seeds so that they can sprout.
- Scarify the seeds by nicking or sanding the seed coat. The seeds can be sanded with sandpaper, a nail file or an emery board.
- Soak the seed in water for 12-24 hours.
- The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Prepare a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. Put the soil in a pot. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet.
- Put the seeds on the soil.
- Cover the seeds with a layer of soil.
- Water the seeds.
- Place the pots in an area in full sun or part shade. The seeds should germinate in a few weeks.
- When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.