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Meet the Mexicali Rose, a Beautiful and Versatile Plant for Your Spring Garden

Consider this fiery fairy duster for a riot of color that lasts from spring to fall.

By John Roark | Photography by Stephanie Vickers

All fairy dusters are not created equal.

When it comes to plants perfectly suited to Sonoran gardens, can you really have it all? 

“You just might be able to with this one,” raves Civano Growers sales manager, social media and marketing director Stephanie Vickers, “if you’re looking for a hearty, symmetrical, clonal cultivated native that is lush, low water-use once established, that provides consistent color with little to no maintenance. It almost seems too easy.”

Developed exclusively by Civano, the Mexicali Rose fairy duster (Calliandra californica ‘Mexicali Rose’ PPAF) differs from the popular Baja fairy duster (Calliandra californica) in a few important ways. Traditional fairy dusters tend to grow in a more vertical form, in some cases exceeding 5 feet in height. The Mexicali Rose has a wide branching habit that fills in nicely, and it maintains a 4-foot-high by 4-foot-wide rounded shape. “This is a versatile all-around plant because you don’t have to do anything to it,” Vickers says. “It’s like they used to say in that rotisserie chicken infomercial, ‘Just set it and forget it.’”  

Available at specialty nurseries and independent garden centers, the Mexicali Rose fairy duster produces an abundance of vibrant red flowers from March through November. 

“I enjoy that I can go out there and see this lush, dark green shrub that gives abundant color. It’s reliable, it’s consistent, there’s no fuss,” Vickers says. “It does exactly what it’s supposed to do.”

The naturally dense, bushy form of the Mexicali Rose fairy duster shrub requires virtually no pruning or maintenance.

PLANT FACTS

Mexicali Rose Fairy Duster (Calliandra californica ‘Mexicali Rose’ PPAF)

  • Type: Shrub
  • Size: 4’H by 4’W
  • Blooms: Red; March-November
  • Water needs: Low to moderate
  • Elevation: 9A-11
  • Attracts: Native pollinators including monarch and queen butterflies
  • Soil: Rocky to sandy
  • Light: Full to reflective sun
  • Maintenance: None, once established

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