Calliandra “False Mesquite”

22 May

Ok, so I have gotten more than a few new plants this spring to attract hummers. This is one of the more intriguing ones for me. I found it at McLendon’s Hardware of all places, in a gallon sized pot with the name “Calliandra ‘false mesquite'” scribbled on the pot in oil pencil. No tag, just the name on the pot. Dunno anything more than that.

Now looking it up on the web, there are apparently a number of related species in the dry areas of the south and southwest US, from the apparently common coastal Calliandra eryophylla, to the Texas endemic C conferta. For the moment, unless someone can confirm or give me a key to tell these apart, I’ll assume this is the more common eryophylla, though some of the other options sound as interesting.

And wonder of wonders, I’ve already seen a hummer working the flowers!

Since pretty much all of the species I could find with that common name attached seems to be from dry areas, I carefully potted it up with extra perlite in the potting soil, hoping that will help it develop. The next question is how hardy is it? Hopefully with some prey film from winter wet it will prove hardy too, since several of the species, including the two above named, should be hardy in some 8, if not in our wet winters here in Seattle.

I have to admit, part of the draw is it seems to be a naturally diminutive little shrub, kind of like a natural bonsai, lol. I love the texture of the tiny little compound leaves, and the greying pink Pom Pom, feather duster like flowers. I hope it continues to bloom for the whole summer, too, though eryophylla is supposed to be summer deciduous? Who knows in our climate, and with summer water.

Anyway, this will be an adventure I am sure, hopefully not one of those all too brief summer flings!

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