Native to Europe and Asia. These large shrubs or small trees are useful in areas where wind, salt, and poor soil are challenges, as in coastal gardens. Their only demands are sun and good drainage. Tiny, scalelike, light green or bluish leaves are held on airy, arching, reddish branches; in spring or summer, narrow plumes of small pink or rose blooms appear at branch ends. Prune regularly to maintain graceful effect. Locate where plant won't be prominent while out of leaf. These plants have become pests in the arid Southwest, where their greedy roots compete with those of native plants for water. T. gallica is abundant along stream banks in western Oklahoma and Texas. There is much confusion in labeling of tamarisks in nurseries and among botanists.
T. gallica. FRENCH TAMARISK. Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9. Variable in size, but typically 1520 ft. tall and wide. Reddish brown to dark purple bark and blue-green foliage. Blooms in summer, mostly on new season's growth, so prune in late winter; flowers are white to pink, in 2-in.-long clusters. Thrives in sandy, alkaline soil. Tolerates drought and salt spray. Good plant for beach areas. Excellent drainage is essential.
T. parviflora. SMALL-FLOWERED TAMARISK. Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8. To 1215 ft. tall, not as wide. Pink blossoms in late spring. Blooms on old wood; prune right after bloom.
T. ramosissima (T. pentandra). SALT CEDAR. Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8. Grows 1015 ft. tall, usually not as wide. Bears rosy pink flowers in spring or early summer. Blooms on new wood; prune in late dormant season. This species not only tolerates salty soil, it also secretes salt through glands in its leaves. Selection 'Cheyenne Red' has deeper pink blooms than the species; 'Pink Cascade' has wispy stems and feathery plumes of pink blooms; 'Rosea' bears rich pink flowers later in summer; 'Summer Glow' has bright pink flowers and blue-tinged foliage.