Grown as landscape plants in the Coastal and Tropical South and in greenhouses elsewhere, these plants sport feathery foliage and blossoms that look like powder puffs. The showy parts of the flowers are actually long, silky stamens. Prune out any dead, damaged, or unwanted growth immediately following bloom.
C. eriophylla. FAIRY DUSTER, FALSE MESQUITE. Deciduous. Native from Southern California east to Texas and south into Baja California. Open growth to 3 ft. tall, 45 ft. wide. Leaves finely divided into tiny leaflets. Flower clusters show pink-to-white stamens in fluffy balls to 112 in. across in late winter or early spring. No watering needed, but flowers and leaves (plant is summer-deciduous) will last longer with some summer water.
C. grandiflora. GIANT FAIRY DUSTER. Evergreen. Native to eastern Mexico and Central America. To 5 ft. tall, 3 ft. wide. Red, 3-in. puffballs in clusters to 15 in. long at branch ends. Attractive, glossy, dark green foliage. Little to moderate water.
C. haematocephala (C. inaequilatera). PINK POWDER PUFF, RED POWDER PUFF. Evergreen. Native to Bolivia. Grows fast to 10 ft. or more, with equal spread. Among the most popular large flowering shrubs in central Florida. Its beauty has carried it into areas harsher than those to which it is adapted; it will grow in the Coastal South if given special protection of overhang or warm, sunny wall. In form, it's a natural espalier. Foliage not as feathery as that of C. tweedii; leaflets longer, broader, and darkerglossy copper when new, turning to dark metallic green. Big puffs (23 in. across) of silky, watermelon-pink stamens are produced in fall and winter. There is a rare white-flowered form. Needs light soil and regular water.
C. tweedii. TRINIDAD FLAME BUSH, BRAZILIAN FLAME BUSH. Evergreen. Zones TS; USDA 10-11. Native from Brazil to Uruguay. Freezes back but recovers in the Coastal South. To 68 ft. tall, 58 ft. wide, with graceful, picturesque structure. Fernlike leaves, divided into many tiny leaflets, scarcely hide branches. Aside from a rest period in early winter, blooms all year, bearing 2- to 3-in., bright crimson pompons at branch ends. Not fussy about soil. Takes regular to little water. Prune to thin and to retain interesting branch pattern. Often sold as C. guildingii.