Red Fairy Duster, Baja Fairy Duster
Scientific Name: Calliandra californica Benth.
Synonym: Anneslia californica
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Recommended Temperature Zone:|
Frost Tolerance: Leaf damage below 25°F (-4°C), often killed below 20°F (-7°C)
Sun Exposure: Full sun
Origin: Mexico (Baja California - Cape Region)
Growth Habits: Semi evergreen shrub, 4 to 6 feet tall (1.2-1.8 m), 5 feet wide (1.5 m); bipinnate leaves, leaflets slightly overlapping
Watering Needs: No watering really needed, but some water in summer, will keep it blooming. Good drainage needed.
Propagation: Easier from seeds, cuttings are also possible
There are about 130 species of Calliandras, coming from the Americas, Madagascar and India.
Beware of mealy bugs and mites.
The Red Fairy Duster has interesting flower clusters with red stamens looking like a miniature duster, in February to April. Some watering will keep it blooming until September.
Flattened pods with thickened margins, opening explosively from the tip to the base, ejecting the seeds several yards away.
The seed pods open violently when they are ripe, throwing the seeds away. Harvesting the seeds involves getting them just before they are going to open, or using an ad-hoc contraption to retain the seeds when the pod opens. Picking up the pods early involves the risk that the seeds might not be completely ripe. It is a good idea to chip or soak the seeds to speed up germination.