The Encyclopedia of House Plants

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Family: Fabaceae.

Common name(s): Powderpuff tree
Calliandra Genus of about 200 species of evergreen perennials, shrubs, and small trees W. Africa, Madagascar, India, and tropical and subtropical North and South America, found in dry sites at forest margins. Leaves finely divided into tiny leaflets. Flower clusters showy due to the numerous and conspicuous red stamens. The flowering season lasts for 6-8 weeks in winter. Keep it pruned to 2-3 ft. by trimming in spring. Calliandra needs light, warmth and moist air.
Growing conditions Watering and misting Propagation
Warm - minimum 60F in winter. As much light as possible. Shade from hot sun. Grow in soil-based potting mix. Keep compost moist at all times - reduce watering in winter. Mist leaves frequently. Take semi-ripe stem cuttings in spring and summer. Use a rooting hormone and provide bottom heat. Sow seed at 61-64 F (16-18 C) in spring. Layer in spring.
Calliandra calothyrsus Meissner
Calliandra calothyrsus Meissner
Calliandra emarginata, Inga emarginata
The flowerheads can be up to 2.5 inches in diameter (6 cm). Calliandra emarginata, Inga emarginata
Calliandra haematocephala, Calliandra inaequilatera
The flowerheads are usually red, sometimes pink or white, up to 3in (8cm) across. Calliandra haematocephala, Calliandra inaequilatera
Calliandra schultzii 'Rose Cascade'
A dwarf variety, perfect houseplant, good for bonsai. Calliandra schultzii 'Rose Cascade'
Calliandra tweedii, Inga pulcherrima
The leaves consist of tiny crowded leaflets that fold together at night or by touch. Flowers (3in) are borne from spring to autumn. Calliandra tweedii, Inga pulcherrima

User-submitted additions and corrections:

4th Apr 2008
We grow this plant in the greenhouse at my school, Illinois State University. It is very interesting and gorgeous!
Hor KC
15th Dec 2008
Calliandra Emarginata is a fast-growing tree which can grow up to about 2-3 meters in height. It can be trimmed to reduce the height. Its lung-shaped leaves drooped at night and the red powderpuff flowers do not last more than 2 days. The withered flowers can produce a mess (if you mind). It has deep whitish yellow roots with a straight main root which should not be harmed when uprooting it for relocation. This tree can be easily propagated via seeds from its pods, thus it is a good flowering tree for school experiments.
Gillian Paterson
New Zealand
23rd Feb 2009
At last I have discovered the name of my Powder Puff tree. I have the white variety, which is beautifully scented, is a strong grower and needs to be Kept under control. My neighbour has a young tree grown from one of my seed pods.
David Gullette
4th Mar 2012
We find these in southern Nicaragua, where they are called "Plumero" or "Feather Tree."
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