Apache Plume in the Landscape

apache plumeJanuary 2009

Fallugia paradoxa


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.

Cultural Requirements:

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. 
Salt Tolerance Low
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

Landscape Value: 

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 
Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct
Fruit (achene)  Each seedhead consists of many achenes, each attached to a feathery tail. 
Form Broad, spreading; tighter with regular shearing. 
Texture Fine
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.

Additional Photo:

Photo credits: Heidi Kratsch 

apache plume


  • 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 

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