Color Your Desert Landscape
By Dr. Q
Planning a showy garden in the desert for the summer can be challenging. The key to success is choosing the right flowers for the appropriate exposures and environments. Simply, tint your desert landscapes with some drought tolerant flowering plants. There are an array of plantings to choose from that can be both tolerable of heat conditions and beautiful at the same time. When thinking about desert landscapes, most of us imagine rock and cactus. Not the case! If one takes the time to amend and prepare planting areas, and takes care to plant the proper flowers in the suited space, you will enjoy success. Depending on your preference in color, there is something for everyone’s palette.
Mexican Evening Primrose (Oenothera berlandieri) will add an abundance of foliage and shallow cup-shaped, pale pink flowers to your rock landscape. Flowers are borne from early summer to early autumn. They open during the day and gently close during the evening. It works well as an accent anywhere that you have space. It’s a wild child! It will spread if you let it, providing instant gratification for the impatient gardener.
The Blanket Flower (Gaillardia x grandiflora) screams of summer. It is low-growing with daisy-like shaped flowers that are great for the warm season. Their flower heads are loaded with color. They have yellow ray florets, touched with red bases and yellow-brown disk florets that produce early summer until fall.
Parrot’s Beak (Lotus berthelotii) can be a great addition to your sunny garden. This plant produces trailing stems and flowers that are sweet pea-shaped in shades of red to yellow. Coupled with good soil, drainage, and a happy garden environment, the plant will work wonders in hanging baskets, rock gardens, and even as a cascade.
Gazanias . . . Gazanias . . . Gazanias . . . referring to the Gazania Daybreak Series. This is a clumping, evergreen perennial with glossy leaves covered with silky white hairs. Sounds a little creepy. . . No worries. This hairy little plant creates solitary flower heads in bronze, orange, yellow, pink and/or white. Blossoms are often dark in the center. Flowers open on sunny days and close at night or when it is cloudy out. Clumping Gazanias are great accents to walkways or randomly placed in a rock garden. Go Gazanias!
With a common name like Gopher Plant (Euphorbia rigida), you would not picture this as a favorite plant for color in the desert, but it is. This plant has interesting foliage and a form that is initially erect and then spreading. It creates contrast and bright color to an otherwise dull landscape. During the warmer spring season, it produces really cool yellow cyathia cupped by yellow involucres that redden with age. The cyathia is simply the greenish-yellow flower clusters. The awesome word involucres refers to the leaves surrounding the cyathia. Great evergreen!
Lantana varieties always add tons of color to the landscape during the summer months. This plant is available in solid colors of bright yellow, lavender, and white to blends of orange, red, and pink. Whether it is a trailing variety or bush variety, it will be sure to brighten any sunny location.
Visit your closest Star Nursery location, and allow the creativity to flow. Enjoy the color palette we offer for the summer season!