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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - October 03, 2011

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources, Trees
Title: Source for Desert Willow from Dallas
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I'm looking for a source for chilopsis linearis. I live in Dallas, TX. None of the specialty nurseries in Dallas seem to be able to source it. Is there any local source? Is there any source within TX who could ship it to me? California and Arizona nurseries have it in stock but apparently are not permitted to ship to TX.

ANSWER:

Do you know anyone in your area that is growing Desert Willow? One reason we ask this is that the Propagation Instructions on our webpage on Chilopsis linearis (Desert willow) (follow link to read webpage) are:

"Propagation Material: Seeds , Semi-hardwood Cuttings
Description: Propagate by fresh seed, dormant cuttings, or semi-hardwood cuttings in late summer.
Seed Collection: Gather seeds from late summer through autumn when the pods have dried and turned brown but before they split open to release feathery seeds. Seeds may be stored dry in the refrigerator over winter (other references suggest storage in wet sand) but germinate best if sown fresh."

If you can find some, perhaps you will be able to beg some seeds or cuttings, and create your own plants. If you can't, maybe that's a message on why there are no suppliers in your area. This USDA Plant Profile Map shows that there are, indeed, some growing in Dallas County, but it is very isolated from the other clusters of counties where the tree grows natively.

We found (on our webpage) one place close to Austin that sells the plants: Hill Country Natives - Leander, TX. The next semi-annual Fall Plant Sale at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is October 14 to 16, here is information on it, and the Plant List includes Chilopsis linearis. We don't ship plants, and plants sold at our sales are native to Central Texas. Although some will grow in other areas,  our lists are always tentative, we can't guarantee that any plant will be on sale when you get here.

We also found two seed companies that sell the seeds; they must surely do mail order, and since seeding is considered the best method of propagation, we suggest you explore that possibility.

Armenta Seed in Arizona

SS Seeds in Carpinteria CA

Finally, we do want to warn you that growing a plant with "desert" in its common name is always going to be risky where there isn't a desert. We know it's been hot and dry all over Texas this year, but you know what we're talking about.

 

From the Image Gallery


Desert willow
Chilopsis linearis

Desert willow
Chilopsis linearis

Desert willow
Chilopsis linearis

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