Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Fairy Duster Hybrid, Red Fairy Duster Hybrid, Red Powder Puff Hybrid
Calliandra 'Sierra Starr'

Family: Mimosaceae
Genus: Calliandra (kal-ee-AN-druh) (Info)
Cultivar: Sierra Starr

12 members have or want this plant for trade.

Alpines and Rock Gardens

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Blooms all year


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From woody stem cuttings

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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Thumbnail #1 of Calliandra  by htop

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There are a total of 12 photos.
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4 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive PlantingNana On Jul 19, 2014, PlantingNana from Vail, AZ wrote:

At 3300' elevation in AZ. Last year had 5 days of snow and 18 degrees for winder. Red Baja made it through beautifully without any cover protection. Summer here brings 108 plus, so it does need weekly, slow deep soak.

Using peat moss and crushed vermitculite for seeding medium, am attempting to grow from seeds.

First set of six planted did NOT set, grown outside in March. Out of Second trial of seeds, One and only one has come true; grown outside in April. From Third trial of seeds (grown in May) inside of home, produced Bird of Paradise looking plants (am growing them to see "What is going to bloom" if anything). July 2014, am trying another 6 and will post when they are at least 4" tall. These seeds are fresh from the bush growing in my yard. All the others I let stratify before planting.

Positive vossner On Oct 21, 2008, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

This is a very pretty plant and a fast grower. Literature says to water sparingly but I find that mine likes to be watered more often than not. Sierra Star is a great addition to any garden.

Positive nuworldgiant On Nov 7, 2005, nuworldgiant from Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

This plant is a profuse bloomer (Phoenix, AZ.). It has an interesting branch structure that differs slightly from the californica in shape and color. This is an excellent accent plant. Thank you Mountain States Nursery.

Positive htop On Jul 15, 2005, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I just bought this plant so I am unable to evaluate it at this time. It prefers a very dry location and would make an excellent plant to use in rock gardens, xeriscapes and wildscapes. It is a hybrid between the Pink Fairy Duster (Calliandra eriophylla) and the Baja Fairy Duster (Calliandra californica). It has been producing blooms constantly for weeks.

Update 9/25/05: I just found out that Calliandra can sustain leaf damage at temperatures below 25F (-4C) and are often killed when they fall to 20F (-7C) and below. We have had mild winters the past few years, but temperatures can fall into the teens here. I may have to keep this plant in a container just in case. The plant is doing wonderfully blooming almost nonstop during days upon days of 100 degree weather and no rain from late August through late September.

Update 8/24/06:I planted 'Sierra Star' in the ground last fall. It survived a very mild winter with only a few nights that had temperatures that fell below freezing (only for a few hours). It received no freeze damage. Mountain States Nursery states that the stems are hardy to 18F and the roots are hardy to 15F. It is planted in very fast draining soil.

I was told by the nurseryman where I bought it to be sure not to water it very much. Well, it was not growing and the foliage was a light green at the beginning of the summer and the bloom buds were drying up before they opened. I began a regimen of watering it deeply and a little bit beyond its drip zone every 4 days. The leaves greened up, the number of blooms is tremendous and it has almost doubled in size. We are in a severe drought and my neighborhood has had no appreciable rain since January. The temperatures are in the 100s almost everyday. It must love where I planted it. I am glad that I had given it the type of soil it needs. It is indeed a "star".

Update 11/06 - I had read that this plant attracts butterflies and had seen many bees visiting it in the past. This year I am amazed by how many different types of butterflies use it as a nectar source.

Update 10/25/07 - My plant is growing very quickly probably due to the wet spring and cool wet summer. When it hasn't been raining, I water it once a week which is more than the literature recommends. It is located in a well drained area. Love it.

Update 1/15/08 -'Sierra Star' is thriving. All of my neighbors and friends adore it as well. I have had to prune off some low branches that were touching the ground and attempted to root them with no luck. The plant has a few seed pods which do not look ripe at this time. I am going to collect some seeds and attempt to germinate them. I do not know if the new plants will be true to the mother plant (if the seeds germinate).

Update 7/19/11 - This plant has died back to the ground the past 2 winters which had record breaking low temperatures that were sustained over long periods with several nights in the low teens. It has returned each from from the roots and grows fairly quickly. It seems to thrive in our severe drought conditions and record breaking high temperatures with some supplemental water.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Green Valley, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Tempe, Arizona
Winter Haven, Florida
Gonzales, Louisiana
Edinburg, Texas
Richmond, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)

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