Baja fairy duster plant

Last Updated on March 4, 2020 by Paul Guzman

What is the Baja fairy duster plant? It is a plant that is native to southwest California and the northern part of Mexico.  It goes by many names the chuparosa, tabardillo, zapotillo and its botanical name the Calliandra californica.  It will grow about 4 maybe 5 ft. tall and wide.

There are not too many plants that are drought-tolerant, evergreen and produce a flower.  Plants with qualifications I just mentioned are rare indeed.  It can tolerate temperatures down to 5° f. and stay green all winter long.  They come in a bright pink and a dark red flower and both are hardy for the Southwest.

The biggest problem for most landscapers is finding this beautiful plant at your local retail garden store! If you are a true low-watering landscaper you should purchase this plant when you find it.


Baja fairy duster plant


The Flower of the Baja Fairy Duster

The foliage resembles a fern-like leaf and will stay green throughout the winter seasons. The odd thing about the flower is that it will bloom in late winter and early spring. A good plant for late winter color. It will also bloom again in mid-fall.  The flower is pink or red fluffy spiky bloom resembling a hand duster, thus its name. It does produce seed pods that will burst when they are ripe.

Problems with the Calliandra californica

It is almost a low maintenance plant that is drought-tolerant.  It is not susceptible to insects or diseases.  It can develop root rot if it receives too much water.  I would water by hand the first year after initial planting.  Good deep watering about once per week during the mid-summer is good.  Fertilize with an all-purpose fertilizer a 20-20-20 analysis will work but only once or twice during the spring season.

Freezing temperatures will affect its look during winter a light trimming in early spring will help it regrow new foliage and blooms.

More desert plants names and pictures.

Information on the Baja Fairy duster here.


USDA zones 8b-10b.


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