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

Growing Chilopsis linearis:
Desert Willow

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Form: A multi-trunked shrub that can be pruned into a tree.
Leaf retention: Deciduous.
Growth rate: Slow to rapid depending upon water.
Mature Size: 6'-25' high and wide.
Flowers: Large, fragrant, white to pink to purple depending on cultivar. Wild versions are pink.
Bloom: Spring to fall.
Fruit: Long, thin, brown seedpods, containing flat winged seeds, persist on the tree.
Leaves: Dark green, long, narrow. This plant provides light, filtered shade.
Stems: No thorns.
Wildlife: Attracts hummingbirds, large butterflies and bees.
Toxic / Danger: No.
Origin: Western North America.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 7-10.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun to part shade. This plant produces more blooms in full sun.
Water once established: Deep soak monthly. Weekly soaking in the hottest months of the year speeds growth. Water deeply once a week in the first year, then less often. The soil must dry out between waterings. Deep soaking will encourage root growth that keeps the tree from being uprooted in strong winds.
Soil: Very well drained, little organic content, pH 6.6-8.5 (neutral to alkaline). This plant performs best with a neutral pH.
Prune: In spring just after leaves emerge, trim to shape. Remove the lowest branches every year to attain a tree form. Remove suckers from roots. Flowers bloom on new wood, and trimming encourages flowering.
Litter: Moderate: seedpods, flowers, and leaves in the fall.
Propagation: Cuttings and seed.
Uses: Ornamental, shade, wildlife garden.

This plant is a member of the Trumpet Creeper family (Bignoniaceae) which includes Yellow Bells. It is not a true willow, which are members of the Willow family (Salicaceae).

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Chilopsis linearis: Desert Willow - pink flowers

Chilopsis linearis: Desert Willow - pink and maroon flowers

Chilopsis linearis: Desert Willow - maroon flowers

Chilopsis linearis: Desert Willow - seed pods

Chilopsis linearis: Desert Willow tree

Latest update: January, 2019
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