Calliandra haematocephala (Red Powder Puff)

Scientific Name

Calliandra haematocephala Hassk.

Common Names

Red Powder Puff, Powder Puff Tree


Calliandra haematocephala var. haematocephala, Calliandra inaequilatera, Calliandra novaesii, Feuilleea haematocephala, Anneslia haematocephala

Scientific Classification

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


Color: Red
Bloom Time: Fall and winter


Calliandra haematocephala is a spreading, well-branched shrub or small tree that grows up to 15 feet (4.5 m) tall. Branches are brown, cylindric, and rough. Leaves are pinnately compound, oblong, acute, with 5 to 10 pairs of glossy green leaflets. Flowers are clustered in globose heads, up to 3 inches (7 cm) across. Stamens are numerous, long and silky, very brilliant, pink to red.

Calliandra haematocephala - Red Powder Puff


USDA Hardiness Zone 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °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 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 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 tropical America.


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