Plant FinderPlant Finder Graphic
Zones vary by species.
Full Sun
Regular WaterMinimal Water
Moderate, Minimal



Deciduous, Shrubs, Trees

In desert regions, tamarisks have no equal in resistance to wind and aridity, and they will grow in saline soils that are toxic to other plants. They are also useful in other areas where wind, salt, and poor soil pose challenges, such as seacoast gardens. They demand only a full-sun location with good drainage. On the minus side, this same tenacious adaptability makes several of these species seriously invasive pests in the West’s natural areas, especially along water courses. Millions of dollars a year are spent removing them. Because of deep taproots, nurseries can’t hold them in pots. But they are easy to grow from 1/2–1-in.-thick cuttings set in the soil where the plant is to grow and is kept watered until roots are established.

Tamarisks are difficult to classify, which has led to much confusion in labeling among botanists and in nurseries. Leaves are tiny, as are flowers (a hand lens is necessary to see flower details). However, you don’t have to know a tamarisk’s identity for pruning purposes. If it blooms only in the earlier part of spring, prune after bloom. If it starts bloom later in spring or in summer, prune just before new spring growth begins. Some species can be kept shrubby by cutting back to the ground yearly. If you are growing them as trees, prune only to remove dead or broken branches.

Tamarix parviflora (photo courtesy of Saxon Holt/PhotoBotanic)
Tamarix parviflora (photo courtesy of Saxon Holt/PhotoBotanic)

Click to Enlarge

Tamarix parviflora

Native to southeastern Europe. Variable habit; typically a graceful, arching large shrub to 6–15 ft. tall and wide. Profuse spring-only display of pink flowers that turn to tan, then brown. Prune to emphasize the arching habit; or remove lower branches to achieve a treelike plant. An invasive pest plant in deserts, wetlands, and riparian habitats. Often sold as T. tetrandra; sold as T. africana in California.

You Might Also Like...


Little-known evergreen shrubs or trees from Chile with leathery leaves, somewhat stiff growth habit, a...

Erythronium tuolumnense

Native to California. Robust plant with solid green leaves and 12–15-in.-tall stems. Golden yell...

Ligularia dentata

Grown primarily for big, attractive leaves (to more than a foot across), roundish with heart-shaped ba...

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

View Maps Learn More