Stifftia chrysantha is an exotic, rare flowering small tree with spectacular flowers, endemic to the vast tropical savanna ecoregion of Brazil called Cerrado.
It grows into a bushy, attractive tree between 8 and 15 ft. tall, and starts flowering within 1.5 - 2.5 years from seed. It is a very rewarding plant that blooms 9 months out of the year, starting in Winter with great intensity during July-September, with each flower staying on the plant for several weeks. Seeds ripen from September through November.
The tree belongs to Aster family and has nothing to do with Powderpuffs which are from Bean (Fabaceae) family. The flower has 30 to 40 green, imbricated scales with short hairs, and actinomorphic corollas are orange below and darker above. After flowering, the inflorescence blows apart, which would scatter seeds. The dried center remaining is very attractive, like a small dried flower, and lasts for many months.
Stifftia can be grown in full sun to partial shade and is relatively cold tolerant, can take short cold spells. Young plants have delicate tender leaves that need protection from hot sun, filtered light required until established.
Stifftia doesn't like wet feet and heavy/soggy soils; requires very well drained, acidic soil. We strongly recommend to use our professional soilless mix. Let soil slightly dry between waterings. Stifftia prefers acidic soils so if your well water is high in calcium, try to water my young plants with rain water (coming from a collection barrel). When making growing media specifically for Stifftia and other acid-loving plants, never add limestone or Dolomite to the mix.
The plant can be grown in full sun to partial shade and is relatively cold tolerant, can take short cold spells. If grown in a pot, try to keep the container shaded because roots don't like to be overheated. The plant needs monthly applications of slow release fertilizer as well as extra iron - use micro-nutrients to keep leaves green and healthy.
In Brazil is is very popular as ornamental, and flowers are commercialized for floral arrangement.