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Baja Fairy Duster

Baja Fairy Duster
Calliandra californica


Fabaceae, Pea Family




Baja California, Mexico


Gravelly flats, hillsides and desert washes

Living Desert Location:

VizcainoGarden, Baskerville (New) Hummingbird Garden and Old Hummingbird Garden


Don’t confuse Baja Fairy Duster with Bottlebrush!

Calliandra californica, commonly called Baja Fairy Duster, occurs naturally in Baja California, Mexico, on gravelly flats, hillsides and desert washes.

Calliandra’s upright, narrow, fountain-like growth-form coupled with its long-lasting and attractive blossoms make it an excellent flowering accent shrub for landscape purposes. Its small, pinnately compound leaves have a rich green color and its bright red, powder puff-like flowers are an inch and a half in size and bloom almost all year long, with peak flowering occurring in late spring. Because the flowers produce nectar, they  are favored by hummingbirds and frequented by butterflies.   The flowers later give rise to small quarter inch wide by two inch long pods that, upon ripening, split open and release the enclosed seeds.  Baja Fairy duster is entirely suitable for any desert wildlife garden.

Calliandra grows six feet high and wide, and is particularly easy to maintain. Give it water once or twice a month in the winter and weekly in the summer. Pruning is generally not necessary, yet Calliandra responds well to light or even heavy pruning during the fall or early spring. Prune Baja fairy duster in a way that compliments its natural form rather than creating a confined, hedged appearance. Calliandra is susceptible to frost, but is both pest and disease resistant.

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