Chitalpa: New Hybrid Desert Willow

By Charlie Nardozzi

Gardeners in warmer areas of the United States are always on the look out for new small to medium size trees that have beautiful flowers and can withstand heat, wind and drought. Now a new cross between a desert willow (Chilopsis linearis) and southern catalpa (Catalpa bignoniodies) has created a hybrid that looks and grows like the desert willow, but is as hardy as a catalpa.

Chitalpa tashkentesis is hardy to USDA zone 7 (roots are hardy to zone 6). It grows 20 to 25 feet tall, has an open habit and produces orchid-like flowers, that hummingbirds love, from summer through fall. It doesn't produce messy catkins like the catalpa and is drought and heat tolerant like the desert willow.

The tree can grow 2 to 3 feet a year. Some available varieties include 'Pink Dawn' and 'Morning Cloud'.

For more on the chitalpa tree, go to this Beam Home article at

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