Our January 2022 Plant of the Month is Chitalpa tashkentensis. Known commonly as Chitalpa, this tree easily endures dry spells owing to its parentage. The types of trees known as Chitalpa are a hybrid of the Chilopsis (Desert Willow) and the Southern Catalpa, hence, Chitalpa. Created by A. Rusanov of the Botanic Garden of the Uzbek Academy of Sciences in Uzbekistan in 1964, this medium-scale tree establishes quickly. It can grow several feet in a year, eventually reaching up to 35 feet tall and about as wide.
Being a hybrid, Chitalpa does not produce seed pods, but it is deciduous, and leaves drop entirely in the fall. Chitalpa will flower all summer long and produces showy, white to pinkish bell-shaped flowers. It is well-suited to our area, makes shade in the summer, and has an enduring, colorful floral display without being susceptible to dry spells. It likes full sun and is not particular to any soil type. Visit our water-smart gardening website for more information on this and other great plant ideas.