Alphabetical Plant Listing

Parkinsonia florida (Blue Paloverde)

Blue Paloverde, Cercidium floridum, Cercidium floridum ssp. floridum


One of the most popular trees for desert gardens, Parkinsonia florida (Blue Paloverde) is a small, graceful tree with a short blue-green trunk and a loose, spreading crown. The foliage of small pinnately compound blue-green leaves is absent most of the year in response to dryness. However, photosynthesis is performed by the smooth, spiny, blue-green branches and twigs. In spring, masses of bright golden-yellow flowers, 2-4 in. across (5-10 cm), cover the entire tree and the spectacular floral show may continue until midsummer, in response to summer rainfall. Rich in nectar, the flowers attract hummingbirds, bees as well as many other insects. They give way to bean-like seed pods, 2-3 in. long (5-7 cm), that are valued by birds and mammals. Long-lived (up to 150 years old), fast-growing, drought tolerant, Blue Paloverde is a great tree for gardens where its architectural qualities can be admired. It is also useful for erosion control. Showstopping in bloom, great-looking year around, Parkinsonia florida is the state tree of Arizona.

  • Grows up to 20-25 ft. tall (6-8 m) and 15-20 ft. wide (4-6 m). Adds about 36 in. per year (90 cm).
  • A full sun lover, this plant is easily grown in dry to medium, loamy or sandy, neutral to alkaline, well-drained soils. Supplemental watering encourages faster growth but may result in weak limbs and shortened life span. Drought tolerant once established.
  • Virtually pest and disease free. Keep an eye out for palo verde root borers.
  • Prune as needed to reinforce the structure and form of the tree. Can be pruned at any time, but caution should be used due to the spines.
  • Propagate by scarified seeds.
  • Native to Arizona, California, Nevada and Mexico.

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Requirements

Hardiness 8 – 11
Climate Zones 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20
Plant Type Trees
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 20' – 25' (6m – 7.5m)
Spread 15' – 20' (4.5m – 6m)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, California, Southwest, Nevada, Arizona
Tolerance Drought
Attracts Birds, Hummingbirds
Garden Styles Mediterranean Garden

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Meunierd, Kit Leong, Shutterstock

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 8 – 11
Climate Zones 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20
Plant Type Trees
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 20' – 25' (6m – 7.5m)
Spread 15' – 20' (4.5m – 6m)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, California, Southwest, Nevada, Arizona
Tolerance Drought
Attracts Birds, Hummingbirds
Garden Styles Mediterranean Garden

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