Audubon® Desert Willow
This plant is not available at this time through Bower & Branch. Bower & Branch provides this information for reference only. Please click here to be placed on a waiting list. See below for other selections.
It looks like a little Willow Tree until summer comes, and then the big, frilly, white to pink to lavender flowers appear, and it’s clear this isn’t a Willow at all! Desert Willow is, in fact, a close relative of the Catalpa, which a quick study of the fragrant, orchid-like blossoms will reveal. The flowers attract happy hummingbirds during their long season of bloom (all summer), and bumblebees and carpenter bees are regular visitors to the blossoms, too. In fall, songbirds arrive to make off with the papery seeds before they float away in the breeze.
May Benefit & Attract: hummingbirds, sparrows, finches, wood warblers, wrens, thrushes, vireos
Take Birds Under Your Wing
New! Introducing our bird-friendly collection of Audubon® Native Plants & Trees
- Better for Birds, 100% Neonic-Free
- Not Available in non-native regions, states or counties (see Native Regions map)
Bower & Branch is proud to grow Audubon® Native Plants for Birds in partnership with the National Audubon Society to help birds and other wildlife thrive.
- The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow
- This bird-friendly native plant provides food and shelter for local and migrating birds and other wildlife
- Your purchase and planting of this native flora directly supports Audubon’s conservation mission and impact
- Learn how you can help birds in your home and community through Audubon’s Plants for Birds program
- Audubon Native Plants & Trees are free of neonicotinoids and exclusively grown by Bower & Branch
Audubon® is a licensed and registered trademark of the National Audubon Society. All rights reserved.
Size AA (2-3' tall) container grown
- Hardiness Zone: 5-9
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Desert Willow is indeed a desert plant; it’s native from Southern California to Texas and down into Mexico. In its native haunts, it grows in dry streambeds, where water once flowed but is now far underground. It plunges its thick, ropy roots deep to reach that moisture, needing little rainfall to keep it alive. In ancient times, Desert Willow was known as the Bow Tree. Native American hunters and warriors would use the stiff branches of the tree in fashioning their bows. They would also use the branches and bark to manufacture rope, fabric, and baskets.
Desert Willow is typically an openly branched small tree or large shrub, reaching about 15 feet in height. In perfect conditions, however, it can get much bigger. The national champion resides in Arizona and is 68 feet tall!
How to Grow
A Southwestern native, Desert Willow needs full sun, low humidity, fast-draining soil, and low rainfall to do its best. It does like some soil moisture but cannot tolerate constantly soggy conditions. In the right place, this is a fast-growing little tree that’s perfect for a patio area, mixed border, or wildlife-friendly garden. It blooms on the new growth of the season, so prune in early spring if necessary—the summer flowers will still appear. Young Desert Willow Trees are considered cold-hardy to only 0ºF, but once they are established, they’re much more tolerant of below-zero temperatures.
This graphic shows the approximate size and form of the Tree you are viewing.
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