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Desert Flowering Plants

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Desert Flowering Plants

The intense heat of summer and the cold winters of the Southwest are not for the faint of heart, and these native plants do more than just grow in the desert’s often unforgiving environment. They have special adaptations that allow them to thrive in the arid regions of the U.S. Southwest, handling not just the extreme dry heat but also the freezing temperatures of winter. Many of these natives are also an important source of nectar for birds and bees, and some provide nesting sites for native bird species. Each one of these plants is drought tolerant and adds beauty to the desert landscape. Plants native to the desert require full sun, but some can tolerate light shade for part of the day. Deep, infrequent watering and well-drained soil are the keys to healthy native desert plants. Allow water to permeate down to at least 1½ to 2 feet deep and allow the soil to dry out before watering again. Drip irrigation is the most efficient method of irrigating plants in the Southwest. New plants will need more water until established. Dig holes for new plants that are three times the width of the root ball, which will help the plants grow roots and become established more quickly. Supplemental fertilizer is seldom required for these desert natives.Not in the Southwest? Browse plants native to other regions of the U.S.
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Desert Flowering Plants

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting Desert Willow(Chilopsis linearis) Native to south-central Texas south to Mexico and west to southern California and Baja California, growing alongside desert washesBest midsize desert tree. Summer gardens come alive when the large, colorful blossoms of desert willow burst forth. While not a true willow, it has bright green foliage that adds a visually cooling effect to summer gardens. Hummingbirds from all around are attracted by the pink and magenta flowers that appear from spring through fall, which provide light, filtered shade for plants below.While many desert trees can grow upward of 30 feet tall and high, this medium-size deciduous tree is perfectly suited for medium-size spaces, where its 20- by 15-foot spread can easily fit. Most often available as a multitrunk tree, desert willow is thornless, which makes it great for spaces next to patios, courtyards or street plantings. There are many varieties available with varying flower colors, bloom periods and number of seedpods.See how to grow desert willow
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Desert Flowering Plants

Desert Willow(Chilopsis linearis) Native to south-central Texas south to Mexico and west to southern California and Baja California, growing alongside desert washesBest midsize desert tree. Summer gardens come alive when the large, colorful blossoms of desert willow burst forth. While not a true willow, it has bright green foliage that adds a visually cooling effect to summer gardens. Hummingbirds from all around are attracted by the pink and magenta flowers that appear from spring through fall, which provide light, filtered shade for plants below.While many desert trees can grow upward of 30 feet tall and high, this medium-size deciduous tree is perfectly suited for medium-size spaces, where its 20- by 15-foot spread can easily fit. Most often available as a multitrunk tree, desert willow is thornless, which makes it great for spaces next to patios, courtyards or street plantings. There are many varieties available with varying flower colors, bloom periods and number of seedpods.See how to grow desert willow
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Desert Flowering Plants

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting Ocotillo(Fouquieria splendens) Native to the deserts of Southern California, stretching toward west Texas and south into Baja California and Sonora, Mexico, where it can be seen growing on flat desert land and rocky slopes up to 5,000 feet in elevationBest ecological benefit for migrating hummingbirds. If you’ve driven through the Southwestern desert, then you’ve undoubtedly seen the graceful canes of ocotillo reaching toward the blue desert sky. Often mistaken for cactus, ocotillo is actually a drought-deciduous shrub uniquely suited for the desert. Its brown canes respond to rain showers and humidity by suddenly sprouting small, green leaves that cover them. The vermillion-colored flowers are borne at the tips of the canes in spring and provide a vital source of nectar for hummingbirds as they migrate up from the south through the desert in spring. Ocotillo has the only native desert flower that appears regardless of drought, which is why hummingbirds depend on its nectar and the energy it provides when migrating.Ocotillo can be grown from bare-root transplants or from field-grown specimens. It must be planted in an area that receives full sun.See how to grow ocotillo
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Desert Flowering Plants

Ocotillo(Fouquieria splendens) Native to the deserts of Southern California, stretching toward west Texas and south into Baja California and Sonora, Mexico, where it can be seen growing on flat desert land and rocky slopes up to 5,000 feet in elevationBest ecological benefit for migrating hummingbirds. If you’ve driven through the Southwestern desert, then you’ve undoubtedly seen the graceful canes of ocotillo reaching toward the blue desert sky. Often mistaken for cactus, ocotillo is actually a drought-deciduous shrub uniquely suited for the desert. Its brown canes respond to rain showers and humidity by suddenly sprouting small, green leaves that cover them. The vermillion-colored flowers are borne at the tips of the canes in spring and provide a vital source of nectar for hummingbirds as they migrate up from the south through the desert in spring. Ocotillo has the only native desert flower that appears regardless of drought, which is why hummingbirds depend on its nectar and the energy it provides when migrating.Ocotillo can be grown from bare-root transplants or from field-grown specimens. It must be planted in an area that receives full sun.See how to grow ocotillo
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Desert Flowering Plants

How Do Plants Survive the Desert? — Desert flora have adapted to the extremes of heat and aridity by using both physical and behavioral mechanisms, much like desert animals. The ingenuity and variety of these many adaptations are explored in Desert Plant Survival and the Desert Food Chain. Below are links to the flora found in the deserts, with photos and information about each plant.
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Desert Flowering Plants

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting Yellow Bells(Tecoma stans)Native to southern Arizona and New Mexico, stretching toward western Texas on into Mexico and South America, growing alongside arroyos, hillsides and flat areas of land in elevations of 2,000 to 5,500 feet. This flowering shrub is also native to Florida.Best shrub for a long bloom season. At first glance it is hard to believe that this tropical-looking, yellow-flowering shrub is native to the Southwest. The large, trumpet-shaped flowers of yellow bells against bright green foliage lend a slightly tropical feel to any desert landscape. The blooms of this medium- to large-size shrub begin to appear soon after the last frost in spring and continue blooming nonstop until just before the first frost in the fall. The golden-yellow blooms are a favorite of hummingbirds and bees alike, providing an important source of nectar.Adding yellow bells with its long bloom period maximizes its impact, as opposed to plants that bloom for a few weeks and are done. For a tropical theme made up of drought-tolerant shrubs, plant yellow bells alongside bougainvillea and desert ruellia for a mixture of yellow, magenta and purple jewel-toned flowers.With the approach of freezing temperatures, the growth of yellow bells will slow down, and frost damage to leaves and branches will occur sometimes down to the roots. But with the arrival of spring, regrowth is rapid.See how to grow yellow bells
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Desert Flowering Plants

Yellow Bells(Tecoma stans)Native to southern Arizona and New Mexico, stretching toward western Texas on into Mexico and South America, growing alongside arroyos, hillsides and flat areas of land in elevations of 2,000 to 5,500 feet. This flowering shrub is also native to Florida.Best shrub for a long bloom season. At first glance it is hard to believe that this tropical-looking, yellow-flowering shrub is native to the Southwest. The large, trumpet-shaped flowers of yellow bells against bright green foliage lend a slightly tropical feel to any desert landscape. The blooms of this medium- to large-size shrub begin to appear soon after the last frost in spring and continue blooming nonstop until just before the first frost in the fall. The golden-yellow blooms are a favorite of hummingbirds and bees alike, providing an important source of nectar.Adding yellow bells with its long bloom period maximizes its impact, as opposed to plants that bloom for a few weeks and are done. For a tropical theme made up of drought-tolerant shrubs, plant yellow bells alongside bougainvillea and desert ruellia for a mixture of yellow, magenta and purple jewel-toned flowers.With the approach of freezing temperatures, the growth of yellow bells will slow down, and frost damage to leaves and branches will occur sometimes down to the roots. But with the arrival of spring, regrowth is rapid.See how to grow yellow bells

Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting Firecracker Penstemon(Penstemon eatonii)Native to southwestern Colorado and Utah to Arizona and southwest California, growing along washes and rocky hillsides in elevations of 2,000 to 7,000 feetBest plant for winter and spring color. The orange-red spikes of firecracker penstemon decorate low-desert gardens in winter and on into spring, providing much-needed color in drab winter landscapes, when it is hard to find anything else in bloom. The orange-red flowers provide an important source of nectar for hummingbirds in winter, when there are fewer flowers for them to feed from. In high-desert areas, this drought-tolerant perennial flowers a bit later — in spring and summer. Firecracker penstemon handles cold winters and hot summers, and looks great when paired with yellow-flowering perennials, such as angelita daisy, damianita and desert marigold, which provide great color contrast in the garden, since they all bloom at the same time. Plant it in full sun or partial shade in well-drained soil for best results.See how to grow firecracker penstemon

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8 Photos of the "Desert Flowering Plants"

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