Calliandra californica – Baja Fairy Duster

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Scientific Name

Calliandra californica Benth.

Common Names

Baja Fairy Duster, Red Fairy Duster, California Fairy Duster, Flame Bush

Synonyms

Anneslia californica, Anneslia mixta, Anneslia mucronulata, Feuilleea californica

Scientific Classification

Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Mimosoideae
Tribe: Ingeae
Genus: Calliandra

Flower

Color: Red
Bloom Time: Summer

Description

Calliandra californica is a slow-growing, evergreen, woody shrub up to 6 feet (1.8 m) in height. Its dark green leaves are like tight miniature ferns, overshadowed by red flowers that are reminiscent of a feather duster (hence the name, Fairy Duster). They appear in early summer.

Calliandra californica - Baja Fairy Duster

Photo via springspreserve.org

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zone 9a to 10b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 40 °F (+4.4 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Powder Puff plants are not especially difficult to grow indoors, but it can be tricky coaxing them to bloom. They prefer regular moisture, high humidity, bright light and high temperatures. In the absence of these conditions, they will not grow as vigorously and will likely not bloom at all. If you have a conservatory or sunroom, you’ll likely have more success.

Powder Puffs are not especially susceptible to pests, but will sometimes suffer from infestations of mealybugs, aphids, and mites. Signs of infestation include tiny webs on plants, clumps of white “powdery” residue, or visible insects on the plant. Treat infestations as soon as possible to prevent them from spreading to the rest of your collection. As always, start with the least toxic treatment option first, only progressing to more serious chemicals if your initial efforts fail.

Repot in the early spring (when you take cuttings). In their native habitat, Powder Puff plants grow to medium-sized shrubs or small trees, depending on the year-round conditions and species. Indoors, they won’t become that large, but if your plant is very healthy and thriving, it can easily outgrow your pot and overpower the space. To keep it smaller, only repot every other year… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Powder Puff Plants.

Origin

Native to Mexico (Baja California).

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