Plant of the Month

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The large, delicate, white flowers of Little-leaf Cordia might fool you into thinking this is not an especially hardy plant. This plant actually exceeds expectations, being the perfect combination of heat-tolerance, cold-tolerance, drought-tolerance, long blooming season, low-litter, and low maintenance. Sit back and enjoy this plant.

Little Leaf Cordia
Cordia parvifolia

  • Plant Form: Evergreen or semi-evergreen shrub
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 4-8 ft. tall x 6-10 ft. wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: Spring (Mar-May), Summer (June-Aug), Fall (Sept-Nov)
  • Native to: Mexico, Baja California
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 15°F 

Little-leaf Cordia blooms so profusely with showy clusters of white, crepe paper-like flowers, it is hard to believe it is such a low-water-use, low-maintenance plant. Arching branches can be slightly open to dense, covered with small, leathery, deeply veined leaves. The dark foliage creates the perfect backdrop for the 1 – 1 ½-inch flowers that appear in spring and fall, but may also appear in summer with monsoonal rains, since heat and humidity trigger blooming. This easy-care shrub is evergreen except when exposed to severe drought or extreme cold, when it may drop its leaves. Resistant to nibbling by rabbits and deer, this Mexico native is useful as an informal hedge, screen, flowering accent, foundation plant, or background planting, especially with low-growing plants in the foreground. The only maintenance it may ever need is pruning in early spring for shape. Its low maintenance and low water-use have made this a favorite in medians and parking strips.

Check out our  “Garden Tasks” for March