Plant of the Month – July


Chitalpa Chitalpa tashkentensis

  • Plant Form: Deciduous tree
  • Water Use: Low, moderate
  • Mature Size: 15-25 ft. tall x 15-30 ft. wide
  • Exposure: Full sun, part sun
  • Bloom Time: Spring (March – May), Summer (June – August), Fall (September – November)
  • Native to: Hybrid from North American parents
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to -20°F

This hybrid tree gets its drought-tolerance from its southwest parent, Desert Willow, and its cold tolerance from its southern parent, Southern Catalpa. The two species combine for this sterile but lush-leaved, large-flowered tree that produces less litter than either parent, and is adaptable to most soils and climates across the American southwest.

Chitalpa inherited some of the best qualities from each of its parents, producing an exciting, drought-resistant plant ideally suited for most soils and climates throughout the American southwest. This hybrid deciduous tree is a cross between Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis) from our southwest desert washes, and Southern Catalpa (Catalpa bignonioides) from the southeast U.S., combining the drought tolerance of Desert Willow with the cold tolerance of Southern Catalpa. Chitalpa has larger flowers and more lush foliage than Desert Willow, but this sterile hybrid doesn’t produce long, narrow seedpods like its parents, creating less litter than either parent. Its bloom season is incredibly long, from spring through fall. Bright-green leaves showcase abundant trumpet-shaped, lavender-pink flowers in upright clusters of 15 – 40 flowers, which hummingbirds love. This multi-trunked tree may begin life with an irregular form, but quickly creates a dense, spreading crown. Use as a specimen tree, shade tree, accent, screen, patio plant (deep taproots won’t lift cement), or in dry washes and hummingbird gardens.


Check out our “Garden Tasks” for July