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Acacia Cognata | Growing + Care Guide Australia

Acacia cognata or acacia limelight is one of the best-selling wattle cultivars, and it’s easy to see why. With incredible, soft-swaying vegetation, the acacia limelight adds a wonderful focal point in gardens, entryways and around fences.

Used often in tropical and traditional Asian gardens, this Aussie native grows well in pots and garden beds, accustoming quickly to poorer soil conditions, considering growing your own Acacia cognata at home?

Here is everything you need to know to cultivate, grow and care for acacia cognata. 


What Are Wattle Trees? 

Wattles are incredibly popular, semi-deciduous trees that can be found almost anywhere in Australia. With their incredible ability to withstand harsh environments, Wattles or Acacia’s are the largest genus of flora across Australia. 

These hardy inhabitants can thrive despite harsh winds, droughts, bushfires, and floods. Plus, with dense, evergreen foliage, they’re fantastic feature plants too. 

Acacia Cognata

Photo: Ivan Holliday on Flickr

Many say that their resilience is a direct representation of the spirit of the Australian people. These hardy inhabitants can thrive despite harsh winds, droughts, bushfires, and floods. 

Plus, with dense, evergreen foliage, they’re fantastic feature plants too. Many say that their resilience is a direct representation of the spirit of the Australian people. 

The acacia cognata is a common, dwarf variety of wattle, making it an ideal option for smaller gardens or compact spaces. Also known as the Bower or River Wattle, this lime green shrub is a great choice for garden beds, borders, greenhouses and walls. 

The most popular acacia limelight varieties include: 

  • The Mini-Cog. A very small cultivar, great for indoors. 
  • The Bower Beauty. A colourful cultivar offering an attractive bronze and orange growth at the tips. 
  • Lime Magik. A weeping, willow-style cultivar growing only about 1 metre in height. 
  • River Cascade. Stunning as a landscaping feature and suitable for hedge growing. 
  • Green Mist. Beautiful and bright, ideal as a focal point in gardens.

Growing Acacia Cognata

As with most acacia trees, the acacia limelight enjoys a fair amount of sunlight throughout the day, so it’s important to pick the right spot when beginning the growing journey. Full sun or partly shaded will be suitable. 

In the wild, most acacia plants grow freely, even in poor soil conditions. However, when growing at home, you will want to ensure you’re growing acacia cognata in a plentiful supply of sandy, loamy, well-draining soil. Usually, a low-phosphate potting mix is recommended. 

While they are very hardy plants, you will want to ensure your acacia limelight is protected from the elements when still establishing themselves. 

How do you Propagate Acacia Limelight? 

Propagation through cuttings is the easiest and most effective. These cuttings should be taken in the spring or in early autumn, as colder conditions may affect your acacia limelight’s ability to take root. 

In general, cuttings taken during warmer conditions have an 80% success rate. More so, you can take multiple cuttings at once to propagate plenty of smaller plants. 


  • Remove a healthy branch close to the tip, approximately 10 cm in length. 
  • Strip the lower half of the foliage and cut it down to about 5 cm in length. 
  • Stick the cut edge into a seeding tray with a rich potting mix to root.

For rooting, you will want to use denser potting soil. A mixture of 90% perlite and 10% peat moss is recommended. 

Rooting will take as long as 2 to 3 months. Ensure you are watering your cuttings regularly and giving them bright, indirect sunlight throughout the day. 

How to Re-Pot Your Acacia Limelight Once It Takes Root

It’s important to wait long enough before re-potting your cuttings as they have incredibly sensitive roots. 

Remove your cuttings carefully from the seeding tray and gently plant them into a pot. As acacia cognata plants grow naturally in poor soil conditions, you can use a native mix of organic compounds for your soil. 

Try to keep your pot in a spot that is warm and gets plenty of indirect sunlight. In the early growing stages, cuttings can be negatively affected by too much direct sunlight. However, too little light will also prevent growth. 

It is recommended to leave your growing acacia cognata in the pot for at least 3 months before transplanting it into a bigger pot or garden bed.

acacia cognata prefer to grow in full sun to part shade and they all prefer a well drained soil

Source: pma.com.au

How Do You Care for Acacia Cognata?

Acacia cognata care really doesn’t require much once the plant is established. This particular cultivar will maintain its exquisite lime green colour, even in times of drought.

So, when it comes to watering, you won’t have to worry much. Should you experience a season with particularly low rainfall, consider supplementing with some additional water once a week. Otherwise, your acacia limelight will get all the water it needs from the natural rainfall. 

It’s also always a good idea to support your cognata with some additional fertilizer during springtime, which will help boost growth. Any native fertilizer will do the trick. 

How Do You Care for Acacia Cognata

How Do You Prune Acacia Cognata? 

Pruning will be the only laborious aspect of your acacia cognata care. Pruning can be done to promote plant health, vigorous growth and maintain shape and size. 

How much you will want to prune your cognata will depend on where you’re growing it. For instance, for an acacia cognata hedge, you will want to prune more regularly to ensure the right shape and size. 

In general, you can cut back as much as half of your acacia cognata hedge using a sterilized pair of garden shears.

Pests, Problems & Diseases

This cultivar is relatively pest and disease-free, meaning you won’t have many issues throughout your growing journey. 

The only issues some growers have experienced is with red spider mites and mealybugs. Luckily these are easily treated with an organic, horticultural spray or neem oil. 

Worms, caterpillars and borers may also take favour to your acacia limelight. The most common pest you may encounter is the incredibly invasive shot hole borer. You will need to undertake immediate reactive treatment, as these garden pests tend to spread. 

Common Wattle Problems

While it’s not specific to the acacia limelight, many wattle trees are highly susceptible to root rot or Phytophthora cinnamomi. This highly intrusive rot attacks the tissues of the plant, causing it to wilt and eventually collapse. 

Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to treat this kind of rot and it’s best to remove an infected plant before it can infect the rest of your garden. Be sure to sterilise and clean any materials used to remove the tree in order to avoid cross-contamination.

Wrapping Up our Growing Guide

If your goal is to grow lush, ornamental foliage, then the acacia cognata is the way to go. Take care when establishing your cutting, ensuring you give it enough time to root and when replanting is very gentle with those roots. 

Once established, your acacia cognata hedge or shrub will just need plenty of sun and some occasional watering. Keep an eye on your soil to make sure it’s always draining adequately. 

Follow these tips, and you’ll have plenty of beautifully growing acacia cognata trees all around your garden.

Acacia Cognata Australian Guide All You Need to Know

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  1. I am also interested to know the answer as I have planted a screening hedge of “copper tops”.

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