Hollyleaf Cherry

Hollyleaf Cherry can be trained into an attractive tree, sculpted into a hedge, or left in its natural form for evergreen beauty. It's edible summer cherries are a magnet for songbirds.

Hollyleaf Cherry can be trained into an attractive tree, sculpted into a hedge, or left in its natural form for evergreen beauty. It’s edible summer cherries are a magnet for songbirds.


Prunus ilicifolia

 

  • Plant Form: Evergreen Shrub to Small Tree
  • Water Use: Very Low
  • Mature Size: 7-18’ tall x 10’ wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade
  • Bloom Time: Peak bloom Spring (Mar – May)
  • Native to: Western California south to Baja California below 5,000 feet
  • Hardiness: Cold Hardy to 0°F

 

Hollyleaf Cherry is a tightly-branched, long-lived, evergreen, shrub with lush, deep green, glossy leaves that have an almond-like scent when crushed. White flower clusters in spring produce dark red cherries in summer that are a favorite of songbirds. This easy-to-grow plant can be trained into an attractive tree, or sculpted into a variety of shapes and uses. Hollyleaf Cherry is ideal for screens, hedges, windbreaks, firebreaks, for erosion control on slopes, or as a specimen plant. While slow-growing the first few years, it reaches moderate to rapid growth after established. Although this cherry relative bears its flowers in spring and fruit in summer, we couldn’t resist featuring this beautiful shrub in winter, as its holly-like foliage is a favorite for Christmas wreaths and holiday decorations.

Creosote may be among the least appreciated but valuable landscape plants in the Southwest. As perhaps the most drought-tolerant plant in North America, it will thrive in your yard with just occassional water, producing flowers most of the year.

Creosote may be among the least appreciated but most valuable landscape plants in the Southwest. As perhaps the most drought-tolerant plant in North America, it will thrive in your yard with just occassional water, producing flowers most of the year.

Creosote

Larrea tridentata

 

  • Plant Form: Evergreen Shrub
  • Water Use: Very Low
  • Mature Size: 6’ tall & 8’ wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: Peak bloom Spring & Winter (Nov – May); sporadic rest of year
  • Native to: California, Utah, Arizona, to W. Texas and Mexico below 3,500 feet
  • Hardiness: Cold Hardy to 5°F

 

Creosote survives on its own in the hottest, driest deserts of the southwest US, but when invited into a landscaped setting, this open-branching plant will surprise you as it will become a more full, rounded shrub with dense foliage. Sometimes called greasewood, this very long-lived, aromatic shrub is what gives the desert its distinctive smell after a rain. Lemon yellow flowers or fuzzy white seeds may appear most of the year, although Creosote blooms most profusely in spring. Although it needs no water after its established, extra summer water will speed up growth, but overwatering or fertilizer will kill it. Creosote can be pruned into a multiple-trunk, tree-like form, or trimmed like a hedge to stimulate denser branching and more lush foliage. A great evergreen screen or border hedge, or as an accent for xeriscape and cactus gardens.

California Fuchsia

This fall-blooming southwest native provides critical nectar for migrating hummingbirds, and brilliant color for  gardeners after most others flowers are done.

This fall-blooming southwest native provides critical nectar for migrating hummingbirds, and brilliant color for gardeners after most others flowers are finished for the season.

Epilobium canum/Zauschneria californica

 

  • Plant Form: Semi-evergreen Perennial
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 2 feet tall & wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade
  • Bloom Time: Summer, Fall (June – October)
  • Native to: California, Arizona, and Baja California below 10,000 feet
  • Hardiness: Cold Hardy to 10°F

 

 

California Fuchsia is an easy-to-grow, herbaceous, perennial sub-shrub with tubular orange-red flowers that are an important nectar source for hummingbirds during migration (the plant is dependent on hummingbirds for pollination). Also known as Hummingbird Trumpet, this is not a true fuchsia, despite its common name. This late-season bloomer tolerates drought, heat and wind once established, and has abundant blooms when many natives are dormant. Don’t prune during its first year or two. After that, pinch back young stems to produce a compact, well-branched plant, and cut back hard every winter after blooming is finished and before new growth appears to keep tidy, lush growth. Plant away from high traffic, as stems are brittle.Stunning when planted in masses among rocks or on slopes, in dry streambeds, or against rock walls, but equally beautiful in pots and baskets.

Desert Marigold

This bright perennial flower is tougher than it looks; it blooms prolifically for many months, self-seeds, resists heat, requires little or no added water, and is surprisingly resistant to rabbits.

Baileya multiradiata

 

  • Plant Form: Perennial Flower
  • Water Use: Very Low
  • Mature Size: 18”- 20” tall & wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: Spring – Summer, Fall (April – July, and again in Oct. if summer rain occurs or if watered)
  • Native to: All of Western US and Mexico at elevations below 6,000 feet
  •  Hardiness: Cold Hardy to 10°F

 

 

Desert Marigold is a cheery, fast-growing but short-lived perennial with bright yellow flowers from spring through fall. At lower elevations, this wildflower may bloom continuously, and can flower anytime in mild winters. Flowers are held on slender stems high above the white-wooly leaves on the lower half of the stems and in a basal rosette. This low, mounded plant can tolerate heat, cold, full or reflected sun, and drought–but not overwatering, which causes root rot. This plant brightens up borders, rock and cactus gardens, masonry walls, and any garden space with good drainage and no organic mulch. While it is short-lived, it does reseed easily (seeds are best gathered in fall and spread for planting). Desert Marigold requires no pampering other than removing old flower heads, but it loves a rock as a life partner.

Desert Four-O’Clock

Every afternoon, this Four-O'Clock opens a flush of delicate flowers to entice hawk moths, hummingbirds, and butterflies to sip its nectar, and bees to collect its pollen.

Every afternoon, this Four-O’Clock opens a flush of delicate flowers to entice hawk moths, hummingbirds, and butterflies to sip its nectar, and bees to collect its pollen.

Mirabilis laevis

 

  • Plant Form: Evergreen Perennial Sub-Shrub
  • Water Use: Very Low
  • Mature Size: 2′ – 3’ tall & wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade
  • Bloom Time: Spring (peak bloom), Summer, Fall (March – November)
  • Native to: California, Arizona, Nevada & Utah (below 7,000 feet)
  •  Hardiness: Cold Hardy to 25°F

 

 

Desert Four-O’Clock is a fast-growing, mounded, evergreen sub-shrub or herb. Dark green leaves and branches have soft, glandular hair, and the whole plant feels succulent, almost wet to the touch. The stems branch to form “wishbones”, giving it one of its names, Wishbone Bush. Its dainty white or pale pink flowers open in late afternoon and close early the next morning (unless the sky is overcast). Hummingbirds, hawk moths, butterflies, and other beneficial insects and pollinators sip the flower nectar, and birds feed on the seeds. Stimulate new growth by pruning hard every 2-3 years after flowering. Desert Four-O’Clock, with its mounding, spilling habit, can be used in a dry border, dry wash, on slopes, in a decorative pot, or in rock or xeriscape gardens.

Sugar Bush

Rhus ovata

A versatile evergreen shrub or tree whose "berries" have been used for traditionally and still today to make a wild lemonade.

A versatile evergreen shrub or tree whose “berries” have been used traditionally and today to make a wild lemonade.

 

  • Plant Form: Evergreen Shrub
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 8-15’ tall & wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade
  • Bloom Time: Spring (March – May); fruit Summer (June – August)
  • Native to: California, Arizona, & Mexico (at elevations 3,000 – 5,000 feet)
  •  Hardiness: Cold Hardy to 0°F

 

 

Sugar Bush is a very long-lived, evergreen, aromatic shrub with lush, deep green, leathery leaves that are slightly folded like a taco shell. Maroon twigs and leaf stems, as well as reddish bracts that enclose the flower buds, strike a nice contrast with the deep green foliage. Pinkish flower clusters in late winter or spring produce red berry-like fruits (drupes) in summer that are coated with long strands of sugar, giving the bush its name. Traditionally, and even today, people harvest and soak these “berries” in water to make a refreshing drink like lemonade. This multi-branched sumac can be pruned into an attractive, single- or multiple-trunk shade tree. A workhorse of many southwest gardens, Sugar Bush is ideal for screens, hedges, windbreaks, for erosion control on slopes, or as a specimen on its own. Although slow-growing, it is worth the wait.