Calliandra calothyrsus (Red Calliandra)

Scientific Name

Calliandra calothyrsus Meisn.

Common Names

Red Calliandra


Calliandra confusa, Anneslia calothyrsa, Anneslia confusa, Anneslia similis, Feuilleea calothyrsa

Scientific Classification

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


Color: Purple or red
Bloom Time: It can flower throughout the year, but usually has a peak flowering period three months before the onset of the dry season


Calliandra calothyrsus is a small tree or a large shrub. It is usually 13.1 to 20 feet (4 to 6 m) high but might reach a height of 40 feet (12 m) under favorable conditions. The stems are quite small, up to 1 foot (30 cm) in diameter. The bark is blackish-brown. The canopy is dense with alternate, petiolate, bipinnately compound leaves of up to 1 foot (30 cm) lengths, which are folding together at night. It has both superficial and deep-growing roots. While the above-ground parts are only short-lived, the roots can sprout up to 20 years. The flowers are subterminal inflorescences with many long, hair-like purple or red stamens. Flowering starts 3–6 months after planting.

Calliandra calothyrsus - Red Calliandra
Photo via

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 probably 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.


Native to the tropics of Central America where its typical habitat is wet tropical forests or seasonally dry forests with a dry season of four to seven months, when it may become deciduous.


BACK TO genus Calliandra
PLANTOPEDIA: Browse flowering plants by Scientific Name, Common NameGenusFamily or Origin

Photo Gallery

Subscribe now and be up to date with our latest news and updates.

We participate in the Amazon Services, LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliate sites.