A Flowering Willow…..A Lesser Known Tree for the Garden

Desert Willow

You know what?  Sometimes life gets so busy and crazy.  Now, I am sure that none of you are surprised by my ‘earth-shattering’ statement.  But that is how I am feeling today.  Life is full of both grief and joy and it is strange to feel both emotions at the same time, isn’t it?

Wow….I am really getting quite philosophical now.  I had better concentrate on plants, since I did not do all that well in my philosophy class in college ๐Ÿ˜‰

This will be the last ‘lesser-know’ plant that we will focus on for at least a little while.  Spring is on its way and it is time to concentrate on other gardening topics.

In some ways, I have saved the best for last.  One of my favorite things that I enjoy on a hot, summer day is the welcome beauty and shade from a tree.

What if the tree not only provided shade and attractive foliage, but also had beautiful flowers?  Would you want one in your garden?  I certainly do…. I have 4.

Desert Willow

Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis) is a visual oasis in the summer garden.

I like the term ‘visual oasis’, don’t you?  I may need to use that term more often ๐Ÿ™‚

Besides being beautiful, here are some more reasons that I think you should include this small tree in your garden.

Desert Willow

Native to the desert Southwest

Drought tolerant, although supplemental water keeps it looking its best.

My trees are connected to my irrigation drip system.

Hardy to 0 degrees F.

Flowers spring through fall

Although not a willow, it does have willow-shaped leaves.

Grows fairly quickly and reaches a mature size of approximately 25 ft high and wide.

Thornless and easy to maintain

Plant in full sun and well-drained soil

Do not over water

They are deciduous, meaning that they will lose their leaves in winter and they do form seedpods.

The flowers range from pale pink to purple in the wild.  There is a variety known as ‘Lucretia Hamilton’ which is slightly smaller (20 ft high and wide) and has deep pink flowers.

Desert Willow

Desert Willow ‘Lucretia Hamilton’

There are other varieties available, some with fewer seedpods, flower colors and leaf shapes.  You can view more specific information about the different varieties here (curse down until you reach Chilopsis linearis).

I hope you have enjoyed seeing some of my favorite lesser-know plants.  If you missed some of them, here are the links:

Valentine (Eremophila maculata ‘Valentine’)

Chaparral Sage (Salvia clevelandii)

Coral Fountain (Rusellia equisetiformis)

Angelita Daisy (Tetraneuris acaulis)

Purple Lilac Vine (Hardenbergia violacea)

Mexican Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera)


Okay, you know the big news that I have been referring to over the past few weeks?

Well, I can’t wait to tell you all about it…….

on Tuesday, March 1st

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a author, horticulturist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."
8 replies
  1. Rose
    Rose says:

    What a beautiful tree! I can see why you planted several of these in your yard, Noelle. Those deep pink flowers are just gorgeous.

  2. Hocking Hills Gardener
    Hocking Hills Gardener says:

    Wow! What gorgeous blooms. I have enjoyed this series of postings and seeing all of the beautiful blooming trees and shrubs that can grow in the desert.This willow is just amazing. It is like a giant Gloxinia tree or something. LOL!

  3. rohrerbot
    rohrerbot says:

    This is an excellent plant for our areas. I love the willow like look of the tree and the flowers are amazing….hummers love it as well. Keeps my cats interested from inside the house:)

  4. Andrea
    Andrea says:

    Wow Noelle, those trees are really awesome blooms! And yes the term 'visual oasis' is a lovely term too, may i borrow it also! I love how it sounds.

  5. Donna
    Donna says:

    We planted the desert willow a couple of years ago when we retired from Kansas to New Mexico…We had a unusual cold spell in early February (down to 13 below but I am happy to say it came out okay and has lots of blooms on it now!! Love your blog…

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