Chilopsis linearis LUCRETIA HAMILTON
Common Name: desert willow 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Bignoniaceae
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 12.00 to 18.00 feet
Spread: 12.00 to 18.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Fuchsia
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Attracts: Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil


Easily grown in dry to medium moisture, slightly alkaline, well-draining soils in full sun. Once established, will tolerate drier soils and drought conditions if occasional supplemental water is provided in summer. Prune as needed when the tree is dormant from late winter into early spring. Hardy in Zones 7-9.

LUCRETIA HAMILTON is known to be more cold hardy than the species. Can be grown in Zone 6, but the root zone will require winter protection and moderate to severe dieback is possible.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Chilopsis linearis, commonly called desert willow, is a small deciduous tree or large shrub with a single trunk, upright, open branching structure, and vigorous growth habit. This plant is found growing in desert stream banks, washes, ditches, and depressions throughout the southwestern United States and north-central Mexico. Mature plants will reach up to 30' tall with a 20' spread. The leaves are narrow and lance-shaped, reaching up to 10" long and only 0.25" wide. White to rose-pink blooms (up to 1.5" long) with ruffled petals appear on terminal panicles from May to June, but will sporadically rebloom throughout the summer particularly after rain. The fragrant, trumpet-shaped flowers are highly attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies, and other insect pollinators.

Genus name Chilopsis comes from the Greek words cheilos meaning "lip" and opsis meaning "resembling" in reference to the distinct lip found on its calyx.

The specific epithet linearis means "linear" and refers to the shape of the foliage.

The common name desert willow refers to the resemblance of this plant to many willows (genus Salix), but it is more closely related to catalpa (genus Catalpa) and trumpetcreeper (genus Campsis).

LUCRETIA HAMILTON is a compact selection of desert willow that reaches a maximum height and spread of around 18'. The blooms are a bright fuchsia with light pink to white interiors. Its name honors Lucretia Breazeale Hamilton (1908-1986), an American botanist and botanical illustrator whose work focused primarily on the flora of the southwestern United States.


No major pest or disease problems.


Does best in hot, dry areas of the garden. Suitable as an accent plant in rock gardens, pollinator gardens, desert gardens, and xeriscaping projects.