Powder puff bushes not only have beautiful flowers to offer, their leaves are also worth seeing. They open and close in the day and night rhythm. The plants like it warm and bright, but not so much in the midday sun. It is important that the potting soil never dries out, this does not harm the roots. However, too much moisture is not cheap either. A little finesse when pouring can’t hurt. Otherwise there is not much to consider. A cut that ensures denser growth is recommended. Read the text below to find out what else you need to take into account.


  • Belongs to the mimosa family within the legume family
  • Comes from Mexico
  • There are about 200 species of Calliandra
  • Large, evergreen shrub that can reach 3 to 6 m in height
  • Can only be cultivated by us as a container plant
  • periwinkle
  • Leaves open and close in the day and night rhythm
  • Striking red inflorescences reminiscent of powder puffs
  • Sitting at the tips of branches
  • Inflorescences in panicles forming capitate part inflorescences
  • The flowers themselves are inconspicuous, the stamens ensure the great look
  • Flowering time all year round, here from May to October
  • Legumes ripen by February
  • The plant was formerly used by the Aztecs as a narcotic
  • Still used today in Mexican folk medicine


The powder puff bush is a beautiful container plant. She is perfect for warm greenhouses or conservatories but can also be cultivated in the regular room. In summer, the plants like to be outdoors, but not in the blazing sun.

A bright, wind-protected place is important. The plants need warmth, even in winter when the temperatures don’t have to be quite as high. 10 to 15°C are then enough. Pot plant soil, which should be made even more permeable with sand or perlite, does the job as a plant substrate. When planting, make sure that you use a slightly thicker-walled and heavier container and install drainage. In addition, the root must be handled very carefully. She resents injuries. Water and nutrients are important, but not in bulk, but well dosed. You should cut a lot, especially when young, so that the shrub branches out well. Hibernation takes place at 10 to 15°C and plenty of light. There is little watering, no fertilizer at all. Propagation is by seed, cuttings or offshoots. Diseases are rather rare, unless gross care mistakes are made. Pests are rare but can occur.


The powder puff bush likes to be outside in the summer, but needs to spend the winter warm. The plants need a lot of light, but don’t like bright midday sun. They are better placed in half-shade and sheltered outdoors and in light to full sun indoors.

  • Bright and sunny outdoors, but protected from the glaring midday sun
  • sheltered from the wind
  • No temperatures below +1°C
  • Warm is way better
  • Likes high humidity, therefore often spray with water
  • In the shade, flowering decreases significantly

plant substrate

It is important for the plant substrate that it is neither too dry nor too wet. Potted plant soil is usually sufficient. To be on the safe side, it should be made a little more permeable with perlite or sand.

  • Fresh floors
  • Sandy-loamy, gritty-loamy or sandy-clayey
  • The plants usually do well with potting soil mixed with sand or perlite
  • You should invest in high-quality soil, it usually pays off.
  • Not too wet and not too dry


A freshly bought powder puff bush should be repotted as soon as possible. A slightly larger container is used for this, which if possible is heavy enough so that the shrub does not immediately fall over in the wind in summer outdoors. Otherwise there is not much to consider.

  • Transplant when the pot has become too small
  • Soak the root ball in water for a while
  • It is best to choose a thick-walled container, as this means that less water evaporates
  • A drainage in the bottom of the pot ensures that excess water can drain away quickly and easily

Be very careful with the root. She is sensitive to injuries. Leaf shedding often follows.

  • Press the substrate down well
  • Water sufficiently, also for the next few weeks, until the plant has rooted the soil well
Tip: add ‘Algan’ to the irrigation water at the beginning. This ensures better root development

watering and fertilizing

Watering is very important for a powder puff bush. The soil should never dry out, even if it is watered significantly less in winter. Drought and wetness are absolutely unfavorable for the plant. If both extremes occur frequently, this weakens the shrub. It becomes susceptible to diseases and pests.

  • Water plentifully in summer
  • Always keep the substrate moist
  • It should never dry out
  • However, standing moisture is absolutely harmful
  • It is best to use rainwater
  • In the growth period from April to September, provide container plant fertilizer every three weeks
  • Phosphorus increases the willingness to bloom

To cut

Pruning a powder puff bush is easy. In theory, there is no need to cut at all, unless you remove diseased or dead shoots. However, a pruning, especially at a young age, promotes branching. The bush becomes denser, there are more flowers.

  • Prune young plants vigorously so that the shrub branches out well. It is best to pinch them regularly, then they become nice and bushy.
  • Prune after flowering
  • Cut out older shoots every two to three years so that new ones can form. This will rejuvenate the plant.


Hibernation is usually possible without problems. The powder puff bush must be given in good time, because it does not like low temperatures. Otherwise the temperature difference is too extreme. Getting used to it slowly works much better. Hibernation in a warm living room is not ideal, but it is doable. A bright room with slightly lower temperatures is better.

  • Keep bright and frost-free
  • Temperatures between 10 and 15°C are ideal
  • It is often recommended not to let the temperatures drop any lower.
  • Water a little, but don’t let it dry out completely
  • Do not place over a heater!
  • Make sure the humidity is around 50%, which means spraying the plant frequently
Note: The cooler the location, the less watering!


The powder puff shrub is best propagated by sowing the seeds. The best time for this is in March/April. However, propagation by sinkers and cuttings is also possible.


  • Soak the seeds in lukewarm water for a few hours
  • Distribute seeds on potting soil or coconut fiber substrate
  • Sometimes placing the seeds on damp paper towels is enough
  • Cover only very thinly with soil – light germs
  • Keep moist but not wet
  • Cover the culture vessel with glass or translucent foil
  • Temperatures between 20 and 25°C
  • Germination time 10 to 14 days
  • It is important to air every two to three days, i.e. to remove the cover. This prevents mold.
  • No sun exposure
  • After about 5 to 8 weeks the seedlings can be pricked out. You have to be very careful not to damage the young roots.

head cuttings

  • Cut a 5 to 15 cm long shoot tip with several leaves.
  • It is best to cut directly under a leaf knot.
  • Remove the lower leaves.
  • Dip the cutting edge in rooting powder
  • Stick in substrate.
  • A mixture of raised bog peat and washed sand, to which a few mineral components should be added, is best suited.
  • Put the glass or plastic bag over it – protection against evaporation
  • Keep the substrate slightly moist evenly
  • No standing wetness
  • Warm temperatures are best, above 20°C, but gladly higher


  • Choose a young shoot that grows at the bottom of the bush and is long enough.
  • Bend towards the ground and cover the end there with a few centimeters of soil and fix it to the ground. The actual shoot end looks out.
  • Water regularly.
  • You can tell that roots have formed when a little plant develops from the soil.
  • If this is large enough, the connection to the mother plant can be severed.
  • The small plant is carefully transplanted.

diseases and pests

Illnesses are rare and are usually caused by poor care. Pests are also rare, because the leaves of the powder puff bush contain an insecticide that has a feeding deterrent effect on harmful insects. However, that doesn’t always work. Pests often appear during warm wintering.

  • Aphids – can usually be seen with the naked eye. They sit at the tips of the shoots. Signs of aphid infestation include poor growth, falling buds and stunted leaves. The indoor location will leave sticky marks on the ground around the planter. It’s honeydew, aphid excrement. The pests can be carefully rinsed off with a strong jet of water. The process usually has to be repeated several times at intervals of a few days.
  • Whitefly – usually found on the undersides of the leaves. If you touch them, dozens of insects usually fly up. It looks like they’re jumping away. Indications of the presence of the pests are mottled leaves that turn yellow and fall off. There are fine nets on the underside of the leaves. Sticky spots can also be seen here. It is best to remove affected leaves immediately and pack them up. They do not belong in the compost, but in the household waste. Yellow stickers help against the pests. Spraying with soft soapy water also helps.
  • Scale Insects – are often well camouflaged and difficult to spot. The most obvious is again the honeydew, which can be identified on the ground around the shrub by shiny, small, irregular spots on the ground. The infestation manifests itself in the form of deformities in the flowers and leaves, discoloration and premature shedding of leaves, and shoots that appear encrusted. The plants must be isolated quickly so that others are not affected. In most cases, only chemical agents can help, especially those that have a systemic effect. They are absorbed by the plant. When the lice suck the sap, they take the poison with them and die. However, resistance to the insecticides often develops quickly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can the powder puff bush also be cultivated as a bonsai?
It’s possible, but not easy. The shrub is certainly not suitable for beginners, it should not be a problem for experts. Beginners should try local plants first. Instructions can be found at: http://www.bonsaipflege.ch/264.html

The powder puff bush does not bloom. What can be the reason?
This can have various causes. For one thing, the plants are just mimosas, they’re a bit moody. On the other hand, something is usually wrong with the care. Often it is a lack of moisture or too much water. Quite often it is light that is missing. The plants need a lot of light. It can be due to a lack of humidity or a lack of nutrients. There are many reasons why things can go wrong.

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