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Chorisia

Floss Silk Tree
Malvaceae
Deciduous, Evergreen, Trees, Flowers

A heavy, spine-studded trunk and clouds of large, showy flowers have firmly embedded this South American native in Southern California horticulture. Its leaves are divided into leaflets like fingers of a hand, dropping during autumn flowering or whenever temperatures fall below 27°F (–3°C). Blooms resemble narrow-petaled hibiscus flowers.

Fast drainage and controlled watering are keys to success. Irrigate established trees about once a month during growing season; ease off in late summer to encourage more flowers. Prune only to remove wayward or dead growth.

Chorisia speciosa (photo courtesy of Joshua McCullough/PhytoPhoto)
Chorisia speciosa (photo courtesy of Joshua McCullough/PhytoPhoto)

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Chorisia speciosa

Grows to 3–5 ft. a year for the first few years, then more slowly to an eventual 30–60 ft. tall and wide. Pink, purplish rose, or burgundy flowers are 4 in. or more across. Grafted varieties include ‘Los Angeles Beautiful’, with wine-red flowers; and ‘Pink Princess’, a dwarf hybrid that grows to 12 ft. high.

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