in Tucson, Phoenix,
and Southern California

Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, and Southern California

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Calliandra californica: Tabardillo / Baja Fairy Duster

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Form: Open, casual shrub.
Leaf retention: Evergreen but drought and cold deciduous.
Growth rate: Moderate.
Mature Size: 5-6' high and wide.
Flowers: Bright red, 1" long, clustered stamens resemble miniature dusters.
Bloom: Full bloom in winter or spring, then sporadically in summer or fall, depending on local climate.
Fruit: Flat, light brown seed pods with bean-like seeds. Seeds are ejected suddenly and unpredictably.
Leaves: Tiny, compound, green leaflets.
Stems: No thorns.
Roots: Nitrogen-fixing*.
Wildlife: Attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. A caterpillar food plant for various blue butterflies.
Toxic / Danger: No.
Origin: Baja California.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 9-11.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun to light shade.
Water once established: Once or twice a month. Accepts weekly watering, but soil must dry out between waterings. Supplemental water improves growth and flowering.
Soil: Well drained, pH 6.1-8.5 (slightly acidic to alkaline). *Do not use a nitrogen fertilizer.
Prune: In late spring, prune only lightly to shape form. Heavy pruning reduces blooms.
Litter: Low.
Propagation: Seed.
Uses: Ornamental, wildlife attractor.

May attract mites or mealybugs that are consumed by hummingbirds. The butterflies are a Cloudless Sulphur and a Reakirt's Blue.

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