Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Desert Willow

The Desert Willow or also known as the Desert Catalpa

Light.  Airy.  Breezy.  Fern-like.  This Desert Willow tree is near a Jacaranda tree at El Presidio in the fern garden. Remember how I posted this morning about finding plants that are similiar to some of your favorites from back home?  Well the fern is a favorite plant of mine, but unfortuneatly the variety that I love doesn't grow well here in Tucson.  I did some research at the garden centers and discovered this plant to achieve the look I wanted in the side fern garden.   This popular Tucson tree grows all over town as either a tree or bush.  In the warmer months of May and June, the tree begins to put out beautiful pink flowers that attract hummingbirds. If you're a purist for native plants, this is one to put into your landscape. This tree can reach a height of 30 feet if given the proper room.  It is a moderate growing tree that loses its' leaves in winter.  I have two growing on the property that are making their way up to the sky.  This is a drought tolerant plant and listed as "fast growing".  However, I disagree with that listing as it has grown moderately for me over the past 3 years.  This tree needs bright and hot sun.  Do not plant in shade.  It should be planted on the Southern or Western exposures of your home.  I water this plant once a week in the summer, but make sure you don't overwater.  It has an open branch structure that allows air to pass.  This tree needs very little pruning and it best left to develop its' spacious canopy. If you want a tree to succeed, plant the Desert Willow.  Tomorrow's post is a Sonoran Desert question that many gardeners ask.  Stay tuned for more on trees for Tucson......


  1. That thing is gorgeous; I cannot remember ever seeing this anywhere.

  2. I planted one of these last fall and I love it. It has a branch growing very low off the "main" tree branch. I want to cut this one off so it only has a single trunk. Should I wait until the leaves fall off to do this or can it be done now, in July?

    Thank you

  3. If you prune it back now, you may have more sprouts around the branch. I usually will do the cuts in winter when the leaves are off my tree. Hope that helps! Thanks for reading.


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