Desert Willow is the Plant of the Month!
*Chilopsis linearis, Desert willow, medium- to large-sized tree
Desert willow is a deciduous, multi-trunk tree that grows fifteen to twenty-five feet tall. It has long, narrow, green leaves with prominent veins and both its foliage and growth habit create a weeping appearance. In late spring, through summer, it produces fragrant, trumpet-shaped, showy blossoms in pink, lavender, white, or fuchsia. After flowering, a thin capsule-like pod appears. Inside the pod are papery seeds. Native Americans used the blossoms, leaves, and bark of the desert willow for medicinal purposes, bows, and baskets. There are many varieties available that differ in flower color, leaf color, and leaf size. Two favorites include ‘Lucretia Hamilton’, which produces intense pink to lavender flowers and is smaller in size, and ‘Warren Jones,’ which has amazing spring and summer flowers that attract hummingbirds. Desert willow is drought-resistant and grows in full sun with reflected heat, but can also take partial shade. Although it is endemic to streams and low-lying areas, growing in rocky or gravel-like situations, it performs best in well-draining soils. Desert willow is hardy to ten degrees Fahrenheit. It grows quickly at first and slows down as it matures. Prune any suckers from the base in the spring and summer to keep the tree in it best form. It makes an exquisite landscape specimen, focal point, or shade tree when used for an oriental effect. This tree is native to parts of southern California and southern Utah and Nevada, southern Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. In Mexico, it grows naturally throughout the states of Sonora, Baja California, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Zacatecas, and into San Luis Potosi, along washes and riverbanks at around 5,000 feet.