Fall is always a great time to plant as the weather turns cooler, but it’s also when summer bloomers fizzle out leaving many a Valley yard a bit devoid of good color. Getting great flowering action year around calls for some good Phoenix landscape design planning. Details can be bothersome, but if you choreograph your plant layout right, you can have some excitement happening throughout the yard. Here’s 4 rugged xeriscaping plants perfect for Scottsdale and Phoenix homes…
1) Leucophyllum candidum
While the silvered foliage adds a shimmering presence year around Violet Silverleaf Cloud (pictured above) really comes into its own when it bursts into bloom. Flowering begins as humidity increases, and happens sporadically starting in summer, but picks up the pace in September and October. And the cool as a cucumber coloring offers an excellent compliment to the hot colors of many other xeriscaping plants.
Thanks to it’s smaller size, Leucophylum candidum fits just about anywhere in your yard that offers it full sun. It matures to 3 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide, and can be sheared – but is best looking when lightly pruned for a more natural shape that maintains good plant density. Water requirements are super low, and as long as you have sharp draining alkaline soil, you’ve got an easy keeper that will shine in the yard.
2) Justica californica
Chuparosa is a native of the Sonoran Desert, so you know it will deal with everything your yard can throw at it, given the soil where you plant it has excellent drainage. The beauty of bloom here isn’t confined to fall, this xeriscaping plant flowers throughout the year. It’s nectar is an important source of winter food for hummingbirds, and the floral color impact turns up the perks factor even more.
A medium sized twiggy shrub, be sure to place the Chuparosa where it has space to shine. It matures to 6 feet tall and up to 12 feet wide, and is best planted in full sun and well-drained to sandy soils. Very low water needs, as is expected of native desert plants. Flowers form on the tips of the branches, so it’s not a candidate for shearing, but in lots of sunshine maintains great form.
3) Salvia leucantha
You’ll be as attracted to this native of eastern Mexico as the butterflies and hummingbirds. Commonly known as Mexican Bush Sage, it’s more of a perennial in the Valley, dying back to the ground when temps drop into the low 20s. Just cut it back in early spring, and a new plant will form. It blooms during cooler weather – a reliable spring and fall flowering plant with long bursts of purple on the tips of each stem.
Perfect for drought tolerant Phoenix landscape design, Salvia Leucantha is best planted in well-draining soils with filtered shade. It matures to 4 feet tall and 5 feet wide. The natural form is rather sprawling, but a light pruning will give you a less unruly and denser plant.
4) Epilobium canum
Long blooming California Fuschia will be throwing rich red color from summer through fall. This low growing shrub is a Western states native, making it well suited to xeriscaping. It is also classified as Zauschneria californica, and is available in both green and silver leaf varieties, all of which have orange red to true red flowers.
If you live in a low desert location, place this plant in filtered shade, but it does best in full sun everywhere else. Naturally, its water needs are low, requiring a deep watering only a couple times a month. While it is hardy to 10 degrees, you’ll want to cut it back to the ground when winter arrives so it’s spring through fall presence is full and fresh – pruning it back makes this possible.