Desert Willow Growth and Care
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Care and Growth of
are looking for a pretty shrub or small tree for a drought tolerant
garden with great big dramatic flowers put Sweet Desert Willow on your
planting list - especially if you live in southern California.
Desert Willow (chilopsis linearis)
Chilopsis linearis is known for large, unique
flowers which bloom in shades from pink, purple, yellow or white.
The tubular flowers look a bit like foxgloves.
If you really want to stop traffic go for the glowing purple or hot
pink flower colors.
The dramatic, fragrant flowers bloom on long
clusters with large, tubular 2 inch flowers with contrasting
Birds will eat the seeds and bees and hummingbirds are attracted to the
flowers. These plants put on a dramatic show in the spring when
they are in full bloom.
Sweet Desert Willow are fast growing shrubs, up to 30 feet tall and up
to 20 feet wide. The bushes are pretty even when they are not in
bloom. Their dark green, shiny leaves are thin and up to 5 inches
long, giving the plant a traditional willow look.
Chilopsis can be left as a shrub, or trained
into a tree with several
trunks. They take well to trimming so they can also be used as
Chilopsis blooms from spring through fall and gets long
dangling seed pods with cottony down that can measure up to 8 inches
These pretty willow-like shrubs will lose their leaves in the
winter. They make a nice alternative to other pink flowering
trees (like cherry trees) in dry landscapes.
They look dramatic
planted in rows, try them along a driveway or against a back fence in
the landscape. Make sure you can see them from your window and
enjoy the flowers.
Chilopsis linearis is native to the Western United States and takes
sun in the landscape. They grow wild in California river washes,
where they are flooded with water in the spring but receive little or
no water for the rest of the year. This makes them a
logical choice for homeowners in California facing water
restrictions. They already like growing here!
Desert Willow shrubs are hardy to -3 degrees
Fahrenheit and can survive on as little as 10 inches a year of
Too much water will cause Desert Willow to get root rot, so allow the
soil to dry out completely before watering again, or amend the planting
hole with fast draining soil.
Chilopsis are adapted to soils with
little nutrients, and a soil PH from 7 - 9. Propagation is from
seed or cuttings. Seeds do not need stratification and can sprout
up as volunteers in the garden.
Fall Planting in Southern California
Autumn is probably the best time to plant Desert Willow, especially in
southern California or the western US. Your new transplants will
winter to become acclimated to their new surroundings and should be
able to withstand their first year of summer heat better.
Fall under the spell of Desert Willow and plant a few this season.
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