Plant of the Week: El Niño™ Desert Orchid

Close up of blooms on El Nino Desert Orchid

Tough Garden Conditions? No Problem! 

Do you struggle with tough garden conditions? Perhaps you have poor soil, dry heat, or even deer in your space. Or maybe you’re just looking for a unique plant that is easy to care for and stunning in the landscape. El Niño™ Desert Orchid (Chitalpa) might just be the shrub you’re looking for. 

El Niño™ is actually a hybrid of desert willow (Chilopsis linearis) and catalpa (Catalpa sp.). This shrub (or small tree, depending on how you trim it) is ready to take on your tricky garden conditions and look fabulous doing it. 

Close up on a spire of purple flowers on El Nino Desert Orchid

In late spring/early summer, El Niño™ is dotted with purple trumpet-shaped blooms that hummingbirds and other pollinators love. They continue to bloom sporadically throughout the summer, giving you plenty of time to enjoy their deliciously sweet fragrance. 

This remarkable shrub is suited for USDA zones 6-9, growing 5-8’ tall and 4-6’ wide. Plant it in full sun or part sun. El Niño™ requires very little to no pruning, but if desired, it can be pruned to shape in early spring (it may be pruned to take on the shape of a small tree rather than a shrub if desired). In cooler climates, it may die back to the ground during harsh winters. 

Daylight Saving Time Starts

Daylight Saving Time starts at 2 am on Sunday, March 10, so be prepared to lose an hour of sleep this weekend. All my fellow pet owners, I wish you good luck as your pet will likely not understand why their meals are being given at an earlier time, messing with their internal clocks, although I’m sure this transition is a bit easier than the end of Daylight Saving Time when they demand to know why dinner is late. 

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