- Author: Andrea Peck
- Editor: Noni Todd
Cousin Itt Acacia
By Andrea Peck UCCE Master Gardener
Common name of plant: 'Cousin Itt' Acacia
Scientific name: Acacia cognata
Planting area: USDA Zones 9-11
Size: 3' tall x 3' wide
Growth season: Evergreen
Exposure: Full to partial sun
Pruning needs: Low
Water needs: Low
No need for Halloween décor this year---not if you have the Cousin Itt Acacia, that is. Cousin Itt lives up to his name and reputation. You may catch yourself staring at Itt wondering exactly what you're looking at---is it a grass, a tree, a bush? Put a hat and glasses on your mystery plant and you may trick your friends into believing Cousin is just another guest. We do know, however, that underneath that mass of green cascading foliage are actual roots.
Though it's hard to determine if this plant is standing or laying down, Cousin Itt makes a nice addition to any garden setting. You'll be won over by the quiet grace of the weeping growth habit and the shine of the blue-green leaves. Itt is often utilized in difficult areas such as sloped spaces or dry creek beds. Native to Australia, Cousin Itt is well-versed in drought-speak and once established, Itt handles dry weather with aplomb---though it will be hard to tell by its expression.
During the first year, it is important to provide regular irrigation in well-draining soil. Slightly acidic soil enriched with organic matter is preferred. After the roots have made themselves at home, your dear Cousin won't ask for much. This plant will spread to a contained three-feet tall by three-feet wide and only require pruning when a branch is damaged. Avoid over pruning as it may lead to a haystack look.
When spring rolls around, feed your favorite Cousin a general all-purpose fertilizer as needed, following label instructions. Itt will have a growth spurt during this time and will appreciate the added nutrition. As summer looms, your little Itt will continue to grow, making itself more comfortable each day. Some even say they've seen Cousin Itt shuffling around amongst the plants, whispering gibberish into the night air. But that couldn't happen, could it?
Advice to Grow By Workshops
Our next San Luis Obispo Advice to Grow By Workshop will be January 21st, 2024. The subject will be “Fruit trees-How Winter Care Can Aid Warm Weather Success”. More information to follow.
You can view workshops on Instagram live at slo mg or visit our You Tube channel at “San Luis Obispo County UC Master Gardeners.”
UCCE Master Gardener Helpline offices:
San Luis Obispo: 805-781-5939 (Monday and Thursday 1:00 to 5:00)
Arroyo Grande: 805-473-7190 (Wednesday 10:00 to 12:00)
Templeton: 805-434-4105 (Wednesday 9:00 to 12:00)