Updated: Mar 1, 2021
By Debbie Roland and Emmy Ulmschneider, Master Gardeners
Apache plume (Fallugia paradoxa) is a shrub native to our state. It begins blooming in late spring and throughout summer with single white flowers containing fluffy pink seed heads, sometimes reblooming in the fall.
This shrub is drought tolerant and grows to 4’ wide and 4’ tall. The flowers are white and contain five petals. This is a showy plant once the pink silky heads are formed at the tip of the branches.
It grows moderately fast in any well drained soil. Its natural habitat are dry rocky slopes and arroyos. It must be planted in full sun and is hardy to -30 degrees. These plants look striking when planted in rock gardens and other xeric landscapes.
Best of all, this a low maintenance plant that attracts nectar insects and birds, and is deer resistant and rabbit resistant.
Apache Plume can be grown from seed but does better when planted as a mature plant in one to five gallon containers. Plant in a hole two to three times the width of the original container and no deeper than the top of the soil in the container. Backfill and water until established. A true xeric plant, if Apache Plume is grown in heavily watered and fertilized beds, it can become weedy and aggressive.
Apache Plume flowers have a lot to teach us about botany! Although hard to believe, this plant is a member of the Rosaceae, the rose family. If you look carefully at the delicate, five petaled, white flowers you can see the familiar rose flower that we know from wild roses, apples, strawberries and peaches. If fertilized, the female flowers develop into a fruit cluster. Each seed sports the feathery pink plume that gives the plant its name. In addition to being useful in wildlife, early humans used Apache Plume for medicine and cosmetics as well as using the branches to sweep or to make arrows.
If you have questions, please call the AgriLife office in Odessa at 498-4071 or in Midland at 686-4700 for more gardening information. Additional information is available at https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu and westtexasgardening.org.