Plant of the Month – December

Holly-leaf Redberry Rhamnus ilicifolia Plant Form: Evergreen Shrub Water Use: Very Low Mature Size: 3-9 ft. tall and wide Exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun Bloom Time: Spring (Mar-May), Summer (June) Native to: California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Baja California (500 – 6,600 feet elevation) Hardiness: Cold hardy to 0°F  Holly-leaf Redberry is a handsome, mounding, evergreen shrub with dark-green, glossy, holly-like leaves. Tiny yellowish flowers are inconspicuous, but female flowers produce bright red berries relished by birds and small mammals. Male and female flowers […]

Plant of the Month – March

Beavertail Cactus Opuntia basilaris   Plant Form: Cactus Water Use: Extremely Low Mature Size: 1-2 ft. tall x 3-6 ft. wide Exposure: Full Sun Bloom Time: Spring (Mar-May), Summer (June) Native to: California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Mexico (below 7000 feet) Hardiness: Cold hardy to 10°F Beavertail Cactus has flattened pads that truly resemble their namesake. This slow-growing California native from both the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts is dotted with clusters of tiny spines called glochids, which are set into dimples across […]

Plant of the Month – February

Goldeneye Bahiopsis parishii (Viguiera deltoidea parishii)   Plant Form: Semi-deciduous Shrub Water Use: Very Low Mature Size: 2-3 ft. tall and wide Exposure: Full Sun Bloom Time: Spring (Feb-May), Summer (June), Fall (Sept-Oct) Native to: Southwestern California, southern Nevada, Arizona, northern Mexico (below 5000 feet) Hardiness: Cold hardy to 15°F Goldeneye is blanketed with bright, golden flowers on long stalks, contrasting nicely with its dark-green leaves — which feel like a cat’s tongue due to their stiff hairs. A moderately fast-growing, winter-deciduous […]

Plant of the Month – May

Firecracker Penstemon, Eaton’s Firecracker, Scarlet Bugler Penstemon eatonii Plant Form: Evergreen perennial Water Use: Low Mature Size: 2 feet tall and wide (flower stalks 2-4 feet tall) Exposure: Full sun Bloom Time: Late winter – spring (Feb – June) Native to: S. California, Colorado, Utah, Arizona Hardiness: Cold hardy to 0°F Firecracker Penstemon is irresistible to hummingbirds due to its nectar-filled, brilliant, scarlet flowers. It is among the first to bloom in spring, providing an early-season nectar source for hummingbirds. […]

Mushrooms to the Rescue!

Native desert plants are faced with a big dilemma: how to gather nutrients and moisture from soils that are practically devoid of either. To the rescue are fascinating, symbiotic root partners: fungal relatives of truffles, attached to plants’ roots by thread-like hyphae called mycelium. These living, microscopic fungal partners, or mychorriza (literally “fungus root”), attach to plant roots and spread outward like a three-dimensional net, expanding the surface area and absorption capability of the plant’s root system by magnitudes, and […]

Plant of the Month – October 2014

California Fuchsia 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 […]