University of Florida

Home >

Chilopsis linearis,
'Burgundy', Burgundy Desert Willow

Desert-Willow should be grown in full sun and is extremely drought-tolerant although it responds to summer irrigation in the drier climates with nice growth, a full canopy, and flowers. While the trees will grow and flower better with adequate moisture, they will not tolerate over-watering, especially in eastern north America. Plant in raised beds in regions receiving more than 30 inches rainfall. Plants are native to dry washes and canyons bottoms along stream beds. They are usually deciduous for no more than about 8 weeks. Flowers attract the carpenter bee in large numbers. In some parts of Mexico the dried flowers are brewed into a tea thought to have medicinal qualities.

The multi-trunked, well branched habit of growth and thick growth make Desert-Willow well suited for a wide screen or tall hedge. Groups can be planted in a large-scale landscape for a splash of flower color. Flowers occur on new wood and can appear on trees as young as two years old. Hummingbirds enjoy visiting this plant. Plants pruned back to nearly ground level each year form a nice shrub 3-10 feet tall and flower more than a tree that is left unpruned. Avoid over-watering the plant once it is well established, or plant on a raised bed if irrigation water will fall on the root zone.

Flowers, seeds and leaves can be considered messy by some people. Seeds can sprout under the right conditions and could become weedy. The wood is weak, so be sure to prune to create good structure with no bark included in the branch crotches. Thin main branches that grow very long. Cultivars include "White Storm', 'Dark Storm', 'Marfa Lace', 'Alpine', 'Hope', 'Tejas', 'Barranco', 'Burgundy' (no fruit) and others. 'Lois Adams' is a new trademarked cultivar with outstanding purple-red flowers and little or no pod production.

Burgundy Desert
Willow Photos

'Burgundy', Burgundy Desert Willow

'Burgundy', Burgundy Desert Willow in Flower

Additional Information