Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Calliandras - the striking Powderpuffs.

Just as the flowering Poinciana screams 'Summer!' here in north eastern Australia, nothing quite says 'Winter!' here in the tropics like the blooming evergreen Calliandras ... or Powder Puffs.

I have two beauties that are wonderful showy shrubs growing on other side of my front gate and when they are in flower, they make an eye-catching display.  They grow to around 3 metres high with the same spread.  In my part of Australia, they begin flowering at the end of Autumn (in May) and will be in full bloom through our early to mid-Winter (June and July).

Here they are ...  showing off as I drive into the property.

The common name for these shrubs is Powder Puffs - because the long, long stamens cluster to make a puffy looking flower.

Here is my red Calliandra haematocephala.  You can see the raspberry-like buds to the right of this bloom.  That little bud is packed with many long, long stamens.

It's amazing to watch the little buds open and see the stamens bursting out.

Finally the deep red stamens are out in all their glory!

Here is my pink Calliandra haematocephala.  This one has gorgeous watermelon pink powderpuff blooms.

A fascinating feature about these shrubs is that the leaves will close up at night.


  1. Stunning plant Bernie, I would not mind one of these in my garden but I’m not sure it would survive.

  2. Bernie - oh my gosh, that is the most amazing flower I have ever seen! The pictures capture the incredible detail.... Thanks!

  3. Thanks Sue ... this shrub is definitely a tropical one and doesn't like frost or the cold.

    Shyrlene ... thanks for your comment as well. The flowers are quite unusual ... I love the little fireworks!!!

  4. Those soft looking powder puffs look so wonderful against the backdrop of greens. They are so welcoming! Love the way you planted the tree at the driveway like this. How old is the plant? Does the plant require frequent pruning to keep the height low?

  5. Hi Stephanie ... both these Calliandras are around 15 years old now. I have never trimmed them back ... but I think they stay pretty small because of the dry conditions in that part of the property. They only receive watering when it rains ... and of course it doesn't rain for most of the year in this part of the country.

  6. What a pretty flower and I love the name Powder Puff. They remind me of the Mimosa blooms we have here.

  7. The calliandras are wonderful shrubs. Your pictures show them to full advantage. I grow a red one with miniature leaves. This one seeds itself but not as prolific that it becomes a nuisance. The powderpuffs look so featherlight. The colours are gorgeous.

  8. These are gorgeous! Powder puffs grow in Birmingham Botanical Gardens big glass conservatory, and they are really beautiful among all the other tropical plants.

  9. Hi Bernie, i love the way you described the progression of the flower and substantiate them with very nice photos. It is so different from the other photos in other blogs with just the puffs. Very informative and at the same time the photos are creative and great. thanks Bernie.

  10. What amazing pink and red powder puffs - especially like the way you've captured the buds bursting forth into froth. Oh if only they were more frost tolerant... Had to look them up - also known as Fairy Dusters!


  11. Hello Bernie! I have been perusing many of your posts and had to stop and comment on this post. Lovely tree ~ it reminds me (as Eileen said) a Mimosa.

    It has been a delight to stop by and read such interesting posts about your neck of the woods! You have a lovely home and I especially love the patio!

    Kindly, ldh

  12. Bernie, I enjoy my tree very much with its willowing branches of powder puff flowers. I live on the coast of Australia, with a mild climate. Is it necessary to prune the tree to keep it from being too high in a small garden, and if so when would it be safe to do so. I don't want to cause it any harm. Also could you please confirm whether or not the root system of the powder puff tree(Calliandra Haematocephala) is invasive causing cracks under driveways or paths?

    1. Anon, tip pruning will keep it shrub size and in good shape. The best time to trim back is after a flowering cycle. I've never heard of Calliandras causing damage to driveways or paths, and they're often planted in parking lots or on median strips here without any problems.


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