Native to desert washes and streambeds below 5,000 feet from California to Texas, south into Mexico. Grows 1530 feet tall, 10 20 feet wide; grows fast at first (as much as 3 feet in a season), then slows. With age, develops shaggy bark and twisting trunks. Narrow, willow-type leaves grow to 25 inches long. From spring to fall, produces fragrant, trumpet-shaped blossoms with crimped lobes, resembling those of catalpa or small cattleya orchids; flowers attract hummingbirds. Flower color varies among seedlings; blossoms may be reddish purple, lavender, rose, pink, or white, often marked with purple and gold. Nurseries select for good color, large size, ruffled form. Gallon-size plants can bloom first year. Plant drops leaves early; holds a heavy crop of catalpa-like seedpods through winter and can look messy. Thin growth to enhance picturesque shape. Does best in dry, limy soil. Not for humid, high-rainfall areas. Look for the following recommended selections.
Art's Seedless'. Large, rose-pink flowers with a darker lower lip. Slender leaves. Sterile flowers produce no seedpods.
- Lavender and purple flowers.
- To 20 feet tall.
- ('Burgundy Lace').
- Deep purplish red flowers.
- Lower lip of flower is deep wine-red, upper one lavender; lips are usually curved inward.
- Slow grower to 1215 feet high and wide.
- White flowers with pale yellow throat.
- Wispy, open growth.
- Profuse two-tone blooms in pale lavender and magenta; no seedpods.
- Compact, upright growth.
- Dark purple flowers in large clusters.
- To 1518 feet high and wide.
- Combination of lavender and wine-red like that of 'Dark Storm', but display is better, since blooms are flat faced and open throated.
- Large, ruffled, deep burgundy flowers.
- Vigorous growth.
- Long season of two-toned lavender and burgundy blooms; no seedpods.
- To 1520 feet high and wide.
- Large, ruffled blossoms in pure, unshaded pink with paler throat.
- Holds its leaves longer; evergreen in Coastal South.