North of Palm Springs, away from the glitzy Mid-Century mecca where lawns and cacti are juxtaposed, is Moronga Valley, a truly arid community that makes no bones about desert living. This is where we found the Cactus Mart, a small nursery catering to gardeners and designers that are looking for something more....or rather less than lush, verdant landscapes.
Calliandra x 'Lianca' is not too well known in Northern California. Its parents are C. eriophylla and C. californica, which are both native to the very far southern portion of our state and into Mexico and Baja California, respectively. We kept it in its original container all through summer, occasionally forgetting to water it, and finally planted it just this fall. This is a hardy plant! Both parents appear to be hardy to 25° but I suspect less. I will provide an update next spring to see how it is performing here in the South Bay Area.
Additional photos to be added as it progresses.
Excellent comparison of the parent species flowers.
Botanical Name: Calliandra x 'Lianca' Sierra Star™
Calliandra: Greek kallos and andros for beautiful one
x 'Lianca: Cross between C. eriophylla and C. californica
Common Name: Sierra Star™ or Lianca powder puff, fairy duster
Family Name: Fabaceae
Origin: Cross development includes California and Baja California natives
Positioning: Middle ground
Garden Themes: Dry/Desert/Mediterranean, pollinator, hummingbird, rock
Uses: Informa hedge, mass, accent, container, border
Type: Evergreen to deciduous shrub
Size: 5' tall and wide
Outstanding Feature(s): Flower
Stem: Light to bright gray
Type: Even pinnately compound
Shape: Rotund with rotund leaflets
Color: Dark green to gray green
Flower: Sporadically all-year round. Pronounced red stamens to form pompom
Fruit: Elongated pod, mahogany red when young...apparently explosive dehiscence
cultural requirements, tolerances & problems
Sunset Zones: 10-24
USDA Zones: 8-11
Light: Full Sun
WUCOLS SF Bay Area Hydro Zone: N/A at time of posting; likely Low (Calscape. n.d.)
Texture: Sand, rocky
Moisture Retention: Well-drained
pH: Mildly acidic to neutral
Tolerances: Deer, drought, coastal wind
Branch Strength: Undetermined at time of posting
Insects: Undetermined at time of posting
Disease: Undetermined at time of posting
citations & attributions
Bayton, R. (2019). The Royal Horticultural Society's the Gardener's Botanical: An Encyclopedia of Latin Plant Names. London: Mitchell Beazley.
Calscape. "Fairyduster: Calliandra eriophylla." California Native Plant Society. Accessed on September 24, 2024, from https://calscape.org/Calliandra-eriophylla-(Fairyduster)?srchcr=sc5ae8b41ecbaa7.
Campus Arboretum. "Calliandra californica." The University of Arizona. Accessed on September 24, 2024, from https://apps.cals.arizona.edu/arboretum/taxon.aspx?id=980.
Dave's Garden. "Calliandra, Red Fairy Duster Hybrid, Red Powder Puff Hybrid 'Sierra Starr'." Dave's Garden. Accessed on September 24, 2023, from https://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/105834/#b.
Norris Brenzel, K. (Ed.). (2012). The New Sunset Western Garden Book. New York: Time Home Entertainment, Inc.
Theodore Payne Foundation. "Calliandra californica." Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers and Native Plants. Accessed on September 24, 2023, from https://theodorepayne.org/nativeplantdatabase/index.php?title=Calliandra_californica.
Water Use Classification of Landscape Species. "WUCOLS IV Plant List." University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Davis. Accessed on September 24, 2023, from https://ucanr.edu/sites/WUCOLS/Download_WUCOLS_IV_List/.
All photos by TELCS.