Underused White Flowering Beauty – Little Leaf Cordia


There are some plants in the landscape that are underused through not fault of their own.

This can be for a number of reasons, one of which, is that it isn’t stocked at local nurseries.  Customers often walk into their local nursery without any specific plant in mind and choose from what is in stock.

nursery container

Another reason is that many southwestern natives aren’t all that impressive looking in their nursery container, where their root growth is restricted.   However once they are planted and roots begin growing, they really take off and transform into a beautiful plant.

 little leaf cordia

One underused plant in the southwest garden is little leaf cordia (Cordia parvifolia).  

There are so many reasons to love this underused, native shrub…  

– it is evergreen in zones 8 and above

– thrives in areas with full, reflected sun

– is drought tolerant

– needs no fertilizer

– rarely needs to be pruned

– and perhaps most importantly, it has beautiful, white flowers!

 little leaf cordia

I recently wrote about little leaf cordia for Houzz.com and how to grow and use it in the landscape.  

My hope that this underused shrub will soon become a much-used shrub in the southwestern landscape.  

Great Design Plant: Little-Leaf Cordia Handles Desert Extremes

**Is there a plant that you think deserves a more prominent place in the southwestern landscape?  Please share it in the comments below!

Downsizing Is A Good Thing – But Not Always….

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."
3 replies
  1. dryheatblog
    dryheatblog says:

    Cordia is a great plant, and most froze to the ground here in 2011, but came back. They are suddenly spectacular this week! I must use it more.

    Yes, z8 (probably 8b), 5+ of them at my old house in 7b made it a few years, then no more after a cold, wet winter.

    I wonder if there are local selections? Chihuahua selections of C. parviflora might take our winters better than Sonora or Baja ones…at least in El Paso, Las Cruces.

    * On your last 2-3 posts, the top image of the gabion wall seems to be covering each post's first sentence or two. It's that way on my laptop and office PC, I run Windows 7 and Google Chrome…

  2. pepperedthought.com
    pepperedthought.com says:

    I am so glad you mentioned this plant! I was driving home the other day, and saw a bunch of them and thought they were beautiful, like desert snow when the blooms fall off. Thank you!

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