How to Grow Desert Willow


Known for its pink, purple, and white trumpet-shaped flowers, the desert willow is a late spring, early summer bloomer which can grow as large as 30 feet tall and 20 feet wide. Best grown in zones six to nine, this massive shrub is typically used against walls in courtyards, as a natural screening, or placed in the background to add light shade and color to any yard. Either purchase seeds from a well-known distributor to begin, or collect them yourself right from an established desert willow.

Step 1

Fill a seed flat or individual pots with soil and set in a sunny location. Soak your seeds for a few hours prior to planting.

Step 2

Scatter your seeds over the soil, but don't bury them because they need the light to germinate and grow.

Step 3

Water the soil well to moisten it and maintain a moist soil for the one to three weeks it takes for the seeds to germinate. Overly wet soil, however, can lead to disease and may drown the seedling.

Step 4

Transfer your seedlings to a 1-gallon pot when they reach four inches tall. Continue to water regularly to ensure growth, but the upper layers of soil should be allowed to dry between watering.

Step 5

Transplant the desert willow plant to a full sun area outdoors anywhere from early summer to early autumn. If the plant appears wilted at first after transplanting, don't worry, as they typically recover well.

Step 6

Water the plant every month from spring to fall, and only every six weeks over the winter months. After about two to three years regular watering such as this is purely optional unless the temperature is over 90 degrees.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid the temptation to fertilize the plant. Desert willow tends to respond to fertilizer with weak, leggy branches.

Things You'll Need

  • Seed flats or individual pots
  • Potting soil
  • Desert willow seeds
  • Bowl of clean water
  • 1-gallon pot
  • Shovel


  • New Mexico Gardener's Guide; Judith Phillips; 2005
  • How to Grow Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest; Jill Nokes; 2001
Keywords: desert willow, growing desert willow, how to grow desert willow

About this Author

Writing from Virginia, Margaret Telsch-Williams specializes in personal finance, money management, gardening, crafts and sewing, cooking, DIY projects and travel. When not writing instructional articles online, she works for the website Widescreen Warrior as a contributor and podcast co-host discussing all things film and entertainment. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology and a master's degree in writing.