Wattle trees: Growing A Brilliant Tree

by Australian Flowers

Here we are with another tree guide, and today we will be discussing wattle trees or, more specifically, acacias. Wattle trees are beautiful, fast-growing, and provide great shade and screening.

I know what you’re thinking, “but I live in an apartment; how am I supposed to grow a wattle tree?” Don’t worry, and we will get to that. But first, let’s learn a little more about these beautiful trees.

Wattle Trees

Wattle trees are a species of acacia that is native to Australia. There are over 1,000 different species of wattle trees, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Some species can grow over 30 meters tall, while others are only a few centimetres tall.

Let’s talk about the types of acacias or wattle trees found in Australia.

Different Species – Here are Some Common Wattle Species

Wattle has different species you can enjoy in your garden, which helps you decide what will look best for you. Wattle can range in size from small shrubs to large trees.

Here are just some lists of Wattle species you might find in Australia. You might already wonder what their differences and characteristics are.

Golden Wattle A. Pycnantha

Wattle Trees: Golden Wattle A. Pycnantha

The Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha) is a Fabaceae family tree native to southeastern Australia. It grows to 8-10 m and has phyllodes (flattened leaf stems) instead of true leaves.

The bright green phyllodes are 2-3 cm long and 1-2 cm wide. The Golden Wattle blooms in late winter or spring with masses of fragrant, yellow flowers. Small, brown pods follow the flowers.

Black Wattle, A. Decurrens 

Black Wattle is the most widely planted species in Australia. Wattle trees grow naturally in all Australian states and territories except Tasmania, and they are commonly found in open forests, woodlands, and along waterways.

Cedar Wattle, A. Elata

Cedar Wattle is an Australian timber tree that can grow to 20 metres (66 ft). It has dark green, fine-textured foliage and produces yellow flowers in spring.

Wattle trees are not only an iconic part of the Australian landscape, but they are also an essential source of food and shelter for native wildlife. There are more than 800 species of wattle trees in Australia, ranging from small shrubs to tall trees.

Blackwood, A. Melanoxylon

Blackwood is the tallest and best-known Wattle. It can grow up to 30 metres high in the wild, although garden varieties are usually smaller. Blackwood has dark brown bark flakes in ribbons, revealing a red-brown inner bark. The leaves are dark green and glossy, with a prominent central vein. The flowers are small and yellow and appear in dense clusters in spring.

Silver Wattle, A. Dealbata Silver Wattle, A. Dealbata 

Silver Wattle is a smaller tree, growing to around 10 metres high. It has silver-grey leaves with a powdery coating and bright yellow flowers that appear in winter and spring. The bark is dark brown and deeply fissured.

Mimosa Wattle, A. Dealbata

Mimosa Wattle is a small tree or large shrub growing to around 5 metres. It has silver-grey leaves with a powdery coating and bright yellow flowers that appear in winter and spring. The bark is dark brown and deeply fissured.

Cootamundra wattle, A. Baileyana

Cootamunda Wattle is one of the best-known acacias in Australia. It is a small to medium-sized tree that grows to around 15 metres in height and has a spread of up to 8 metres. The leaves are dark green and compound, with 1-11 pairs of oblong-shaped leaflets. The flowers are golden yellow and appear in spring.

Distribution and Habitat

Wattle trees are found throughout Australia in various habitats, from the arid inland to the humid coastal regions. They occur in all states and territories, with the highest concentrations in Western Australia and Queensland.

It is famous and primarily found in the area where winter is mild and spring comes early. Wattle trees grow best in well-drained soil in a sunny position. They are generally tolerant of poor soils but will not tolerate waterlogging.

Common Names

Many species of wattle trees go by various common names, including acacia, gum tree, and wattles. Wattle trees are native to Australia, and they are widely cultivated there. They are also found in other parts of the world, including Africa, Asia, and North America.

Most wattle trees are evergreen, meaning they keep their leaves all year round. Wattle trees range in height from small shrubs to tall trees. They have compound leaves made up of small, oval-shaped leaflets. The flowers of most wattle trees are yellow, though some species have white or pink flowers.

Flowers of the Wattle Tree Flowers of the Wattle Tree

The Wattle tree is an Australian native that flowers in springtime. There are various colours, including yellow, white, and red.  The Wattle tree’s flowers are tiny but grow in clusters up to 12 inches across. The Wattle tree is an evergreen, meaning it will keep its leaves all year round.

Its flower has a unique shape that is often compared to a bottlebrush. The Wattle tree is a pea family member whose scientific name is Acacia pycnantha.


Leaves are a significant factor in Wattle trees. Wattle leaves are mostly compound, with 2 to 8 pairs of pinnae and 20 to 40 Leaflets per leaf. The leaves are alternate, meaning they grow at different levels on the stem rather than directly opposite each other. The shape, size and number of leaflets on a leaf vary between species.

If I described the leaves of the Wattle tree, it would be, in simple terms, “Fern-like”. Wattle trees are very fern-like in appearance with their long, thin leaves. The leaves of a Wattle tree are usually green, but some species can have yellow or red leaves.

Tallest Wattle

The tallest Wattle tree can be found in Wattle Grove Park in Sydney, Australia. This Wattle tree is an Acacia obliqua, standing at a whopping 35 meters (114 feet and 10 inches) tall!

Shortest Wattle

The shortest Wattle is Acacia bravissimo, also known as Ovens Wattle. It is a small tree or shrub that grows to a height of 2–5 m (6.6–16.4 ft). The leaves are green and have a length of 1–3 cm (0.39–1.18 in). The flowers are yellow and have a diameter of 1 cm (0.39 in). The shortest Wattle is found in Victoria and New South Wales in Australia.

Largest Wattle Shortest Wattle

The largest Wattle is Acacia auriculiformis, also known as Earleaf Acacia. It is a tree that can grow to 30 m (98 ft). The leaves are green and have a length of 5–20 cm (2.0–7.9 in). The flowers are yellow and have a diameter of 1.5 cm (0.59 in). The largest Wattle is found in the state of Queensland in Australia.

Fastest Growing Wattle

The fastest growing Wattle is Acacia obtusifolia, also known as Sydney Golden Wattle. It is a small tree or shrub that can grow to 10 m (33 ft). The leaves are green and have a length of 2–5 cm (0.79–1.97 in). The flowers are yellow and have a diameter of 1 cm (0.39 in). The fastest growing Wattle is found in New South Wales in Australia.

Most Widespread Wattle

The most widespread Wattle is Acacia pycnantha, also known as Golden Wattle. It is a small tree or shrub that grows to 8 m (26 ft). The leaves are green and have a length of 1–2 cm (0.39–0.79 in). The flowers are yellow and have a diameter of 1 cm (0.39 in). The most widespread Wattle is found in the states of Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania in Australia.


Indigenous Australians have long had a solid connection to Wattle trees. For many centuries, Wattle trees were an integral part of Aboriginal culture and tradition. The bark, leaves, and flowers of Wattle trees were used for a variety of purposes, including medicinal purposes.

Wattle trees are also significant in Aboriginal mythology. In some Aboriginal cultures, Wattle trees are considered to embody ancestors or other powerful beings. Wattle trees are also often seen as symbols of fertility and growth.

Plant Environment

Wattle trees are found in all parts of Australia except for the coldest and driest areas. They grow best in well-drained soil in a sunny position, but some species will tolerate poor soils and heavy shade. Wattle trees will not accept waterlogged or boggy conditions.

Acacias are generally fast-growing and short-lived, although some species can live for many years. They are often used as pioneer species in rehabilitating degraded lands because they fix nitrogen in the soil and help improve soil fertility. They are also valuable for honey production and as fodder for livestock.

Grown Overseas

This plant can grow overseas in tropical to sub-tropical regions and will do best in a sunny, sheltered position. In Australia, it is found naturally in Queensland, New South Wales and the Northern Territory.

Wattle Day

It is celebrated on the 1st of September each year to mark the start of spring. Some celebrated this memorable day by planting a Wattle tree.


The wood of wattle trees is solid and hard, making it ideal for construction purposes. It is also used to manufacture furniture, tool handles, and other wooden products. The bark can be used for tanning leather and making paper. Wattle trees are also a food source for animals, such as koalas and possums.

  • The flowers of wattle trees are an essential source of nectar for bees and other pollinators. The trees also provide shelter and habitat for various birds, mammals, and reptiles.
  • Wattle trees have been used in traditional medicine for centuries. The bark and leaves treat various ailments, including colds, flu, and diarrhea. Wattle tree extract is also used to treat arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.

How to Care and PlantWattle Trees

Knowing how to care for and plant wattle trees in Australia is essential. There are many species of wattle trees, so choosing the right one for your area is crucial.

Wattle trees can be found in nearly every state in Australia. They are hardy tree that does not require much maintenance. However, a few things to remember when planting and caring for your wattle tree.

Growing from Seed

It is the most challenging propagation method, as germination rates are often low. Wattle trees can be grown from seed, but it is a long and challenging process. The best way of propagation is by cuttings.


Cuttings should be taken from young, healthy plants in late spring or early summer. The cutting should be about 10-15cm long and taken from the tips of the branches. It is essential to ensure that the cutting has plenty of leaves, as this will help it root more quickly.

Cuttings should be placed in a pot filled with moist sand or peat moss and in a warm, sunny location. Once the cuttings have rooted, they can be transplanted into larger pots or the ground.


As with most Australian plants, wattles like it on the drier side; they are pretty drought tolerant once established but will appreciate a good drink during long periods of heat or low rainfall. When watering, always check the soil first to see if it’s dry – overwatering is just as bad as underwatering!

A general rule of thumb is to give your wattle tree a good soaking once a week during the warmer months and every fortnight during the cooler months. If you’re unsure, it’s better to be underwater than overwater.


When it comes to soil, wattle trees are not fussy. They will happily grow in most types of soil, as long as it is well-drained. They are often used to improve poor-quality soils. Wattle trees can even tolerate arid conditions and will still produce an abundance of flowers.


Sunlight is the best for most wattle trees, but some will grow in part shade. The amount of sun your tree receives will affect its growth and flowering.

Mulch and Fertilizer

Mulch and Fertilizer for Wattle Trees

Mulch is always beneficial for any plant, and acacias are no exception. A thick layer of mulch will help to keep the roots cool and moist in summer and protect them from the cold in winter. It is essential to mulch young trees, as they are more susceptible to damage from extreme weather conditions.

Acacias are heavy feeders, so they will need a regular fertilizer supply. A general-purpose fertilizer such as blood and bone or chicken manure is ideal. If you use synthetic fertilizer, ensure it is low in phosphorus to avoid damaging the roots. Apply the fertilizer around the base of the tree and water it well.

Pest and Diseases

As with all trees, wattle trees can be affected by various pests and diseases. However, they are generally quite hardy and resistant to most problems.

The most common pest that affects wattle trees is termite. These little creatures can cause severe damage to the tree, particularly the roots and trunk. If you notice any signs of termite infestation, it’s essential to treat the problem immediately.

The most common disease that affects wattle trees is root rot. This can be caused by several different fungi and often results in the tree becoming weak and eventually die. If you think your wattle tree may have root rot, it’s essential to get it checked out by a professional as soon as possible.

Other Tips

In addition to the above tips, there are a few other things you can do to ensure your wattle trees thrive:

  • Choose a sunny spot for planting. Wattles like full sun and well-drained soil.
  • Be patient! Wattle trees can be slowly established, so don’t expect too much too soon.
  • If you live in an area with heavy frosts, choose a frost-tolerant species.

With a bit of care and attention, your wattle trees will be a beautiful addition to your garden for many years!

Frequently Asked Questions about this Brilliant Tree

Is wattle native to Australia?

Yes, wattles are native to Australia. Wattle is a tree with small, dry fruits called pods. These pods grow in clusters and can be red, black, or yellow. Wattles are an essential part of the Australian landscape and play an important role in the country’s ecology.
Wattles were first introduced to Australia by European settlers in the 18th century. Since then, the trees have spread across the continent and can be found in every Australian state. Wattles provide food and shelter for many different kinds of animals and play an essential role in maintaining healthy ecosystems.

Are Acacia trees native to Australia?

Yes, Acacia trees are native to Australia. In addition to Australia, they can also be found in parts of Africa and the Middle East.

Where are wattle trees found in Australia?

Wattle trees are found all over Australia. In the rainforest, they can be found near the edges of the forest, in open areas, and on hillsides.
Wattle trees can also be found in dry forests, woodlands, and shrublands. The wattles that grow in these drier habitats have adaptations that help them survive in these conditions. For example, their leaves are smaller and have thicker bark than the wattles that grow near rainforests.

Are wattle trees invasive?

Yes, they are invasive. They’re one of the most invasive tree species in the world.
They are invasive because they quickly spread and take over native ecosystems. They can quickly grow to dominate an area, shading out other plants and preventing them from growing. This can cause significant problems for local wildlife, which rely on those plants for food and shelter.

How long do wattles live?

Wattles can live up to 10 years, but most die within the first two years.
Wattle growth is often a good indicator of the bird’s overall health. If a wattle is injured or becomes infected, it will stop growing, but the bird will continue to live as long as the other parts of its body are healthy.

What is special about the Acacia tree?

The Acacia tree is unique because it is one of the few trees that can reversibly lower its water potential and close its stomata to prevent water loss during droughts.
The Acacia tree is also unique because it is a legume. Legumes are plants with flowers that form pods, and the pods contain seeds encased in a hard shell. Legumes have Rhizobia bacteria that live in their roots, and the bacteria convert nitrogen from the air into a form that the plants can use to make proteins. This nitrogen fixation process makes legumes an essential source of protein for humans and animals.

How is wattle used in aboriginal culture?

In aboriginal culture, it is used in a variety of ways. For instance, the bark can be boiled and used as a topical treatment for skin infections, and the leaves can be consumed as a tea to treat various medical issues. Additionally, the tree sap can be used as glue, and the wood can be burned to create heat or light. Lastly, wattle trees are often considered sacred because they are believed to house spirits.

What environment does wattle grow in?

Wattle grows in areas that have a lot of sunlight. The leaves are broad and flat, which allows them to capture as much sunlight as possible. They grow best in warm climates and soils that are fertile and well-drained.

Is Australian wattle poisonous?

Some wattles (species of Acacia) secrete a toxic substance from their leaves that can cause skin irritation, nausea and vomiting. However, not all wattles are poisonous.
About 550 species of acacia trees in Australia and about 30 of these are known to have toxic secretions. The toxicity of the secretion varies from tree to tree and even from leaf to leaf on the same tree. Some people may be more sensitive to the toxin than others.
If you’re ever in doubt about whether or not a particular wattle is poisonous, it’s best to avoid it just in case. Symptoms of wattle poisoning usually occur within minutes or hours of exposure and include skin irritation, nausea and vomiting.

Are wattle trees fast growing?

Yes, wattle trees are fast-growing. They are some of the fastest-growing trees in the world. They can grow up to a foot a day! This makes them an ideal tree for use in reforestation projects.
Wattle trees have an extensive root system that helps them quickly absorb water and nutrients from the soil. They also have a high tolerance for poor soil conditions and drought. This makes them an excellent choice for planting in areas damaged by fire or other natural disasters.

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