Garden Oracle / Drought and Heat Tolerant Gardening / Tucson - Phoenix - Arizona - California

Growing Calliandra californica:
Baja Fairy Duster

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Form: An 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. The seed pods snap open unpredictably, ejecting seeds forcibly in all directions.
Leaves: Tiny, green leaflets.
Stems: No thorns.
Roots: Nitrogen-fixing*.
Wildlife: Attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. A caterpillar food plant for several blue butterfly species.
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. It withstands weekly watering, but the 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.

This plant is a member of the Legume family (Fabaceae). It may attract mites or mealybugs that are consumed by hummingbirds. The butterflies pictured are a Cloudless Sulphur and a Reakirt's Blue.

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Calliandra californica: Baja Fairy Duster - flowers

Calliandra californica: Baja Fairy Duster - with butterfly

Calliandra californica: Baja Fairy Duster - with blue butterfly

Calliandra californica: Baja Fairy Duster - with hummingbird

Calliandra californica: Baja Fairy Duster

Latest update: February, 2019
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