Apache Plume in the Landscape
Apache plume is an evergreen shrub that can reach five feet tall and wide in a landscape setting. This plant’s most distinguishing and attractive feature is the feathery, redturning-pink seedhead that emerges after the white rose-like, five-petaled flower fades. In the same family as Mexican cliffrose, both species produce similar deeply lobed small leaves; Apache plume’s leaves are lighter green and more finely textured. The bark becomes red and exfoliating with age. Apache plume is a dioecious species, requiring both male and female plants to produce viable seed.
|Native habitat||Occurs on dry slopes and in washes throughout the Southwest. Elevation: 3,500 - 8,000 feet.|
|Soil||Well-drained, prefers gravelly low fertility soils.|
|Cold Tolerance||Zones 4-10|
|Drought Tolerance||High; can survive in most conditions with no supplemental water once established.|
|Sun/Shade Preference||Full sun|
|Transplanting||Transplant seedlings. Mature plants are more difficult, due to branching tap root.|
|Propagation||From seed or stem cuttings|
|Maintenance||Prune in late spring after bloom; tolerates shearing|
|Pest problems||Browsed by deer|
|Use in the Landscape||Specimen, background, soil stabilization, wildlife protection|
|Foliage||Fine-textured, 3-5 lobed, one-half inch in length; evergreen|
|Inflorescence||Rose-like, white with yellow centers|
|Fruit (achene)||Each seedhead consists of many achenes, each attached to a feathery tail.|
|Form||Broad, spreading; tighter with regular shearing.|
|Ultimate Size||5-6 feet|
|Rate of Growth||Fast|
|Plant Community||Pinyon-juniper, cool desert shrub, semi-riparian|
|Cultivars||None of ornamental value|
Sow dry or pre-soaked seed directly into container. No cold-stratification is required. Seeds should be covered lightly with perlite or vermiculite to ensure contact with soil. Seed germinates in 10 to 20 days. Seedlings are very susceptible to root rot. Once they have their true leaves, water thoroughly only when the surface of the soil has started to dry out. Transplant as soon as they are well rooted.
Photo credits: Heidi Kratsch
- Mee, W., J. Barnes, R. Kjelgren, R. Sutton, T. Cerny, and C. Johnson. 2003. Waterwise: Native Plants for Intermountain Landscapes. Utah State University Press, Logan, UT.
- USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service. 2008. Plants database. URL: http://plants.usda.gov
- Dreesen, D. 2003. Propagation protocol for production of container Fallugia paradoxa plants; USDA NRCS - Los Lunas Plant Materials Center, Los Lunas, New Mexico. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://www.nativeplantnetwork.org (accessed 2 January 2009). Moscow (ID): University of Idaho, College of Natural Resources, Forest Research Nursery.
- This fact sheet belongs to a series of fact sheets about Intermountain West native trees, shrubs, perennials, and grasses called “Native Plants in the Landscape.” Look for others in the series by visiting http://extension.usu.edu/htm/publications, then clicking on ‘Horticulture’ and ‘Native Plants’.
Heidi Kratsch, Extension Ornamental Horticulture Specialist; Graham Hunter, Research Associate, Center for Water Efficient Landscaping