Botanical Name: Chilopsis linearis
Common Name: Desert Willow; Desert Catalpa  
Plant photo of: Chilopsis linearis
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Water Saving Tip:

Group plants in your garden according to their water needs (hydrozone).

  • Anatomy

  • Culture

  • Design

Plant Type

Tree, Shrub


Height Range



Flower Color

Lavender, Pink, White


Flower Season

Spring, Summer


Leaf Color

Green, Light Green


Bark Color

Green, Grey


Fruit Color



Fruit Season

Summer, Fall





Very Low, Low


Growth Rate



Soil Type

Sandy, Clay, Loam, Rocky


Soil Condition

Average, Poor, Well-drained, Dry


Soil pH

Neutral, Basic


Adverse Factors


Design Styles

Meadow, Mediterranean, Ranch, Spanish, Native Garden


Accenting Features

Fragrance, Multi-trunk Tree, Showy Flowers, Specimen


Seasonal Interest



Location Uses

Background, Shrub Border, Foundation, Patio, Walls / Fences


Special Uses

Screen, Wind Break, Fire Resistant, Naturalizing


Attracts Wildlife


Information by: Stephanie Duer
Photographer: Mountain States Nursery
  • Description

  • Notes

Desert Willow is a small, deciduous tree with shrubby inclinations. It grows about 15 to 25 feet tall and nearly as wide, with an open, though twiggy appearance. New bark is green, becoming brown and shaggy as it ages. Leaves are fine-textured, long and narrow, and willow-like. Remarkable, orchid-like flowers of white and pink appear in late spring and continue, to a lesser extent, all summer. It can be pruned as a multi-stemmed, low canopied tree or left more shrubby. There is a specimen at the Greater Avenues Water Conservation Demonstration Garden.
Grow in full sun in well-drained, loose soils; cannot tolerate overwatering. Cold hardy to -15F once established, but may experience some die-back in particularly hard winters or as it establishes. It does, however, thrive with reflective winter heat, so siting it against a south, west, or even east facing wall can help it over-winter. Flowers on new wood and so pruning, if necessary, ought to occur afterwards. It is quite xeric and requires no supplemental watering after establishment; however, a monthly soak will encourage better flowering.