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For The Garden

Flowering Shrubs

Author: Nancy Erdmann
Issue: November, 2012, Page 142
Photo by Kirti Mathura

HUMMINGBIRD BUSH
(Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii)



HUMMINGBIRD BUSH
(Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii)

Type: Evergreen shrub

Blooms: Reddish-orange; summer to fall

Size: 3-4'H by 4'W

Soil: Handles most types, but must be well-draining

Light: Full sun to light shade

Water needs: Little needed once established

Maintenance: Protect young plants from foraging rabbits by erecting wire cages. Cut almost to the ground in spring to encourage blooming.

Attracts: Bees, butterflies and hummingbirds

Note: Also known as desert honeysuckle, this spreading shrub may need to be kept in check with regular pruning.

Why we like it: A fast-growing heat- and cold-tolerant plant, it produces a profusion of showy tubular flowers.


WOOLLY BUTTERFLY BUSH
(Buddleja marrubifolia)
WOOLLY BUTTERFLY BUSH
(Buddleja marrubifolia)

Type: Evergreen shrub

Blooms: Orange; spring to mid-summer

Size: 3-5'H and 3-5'W

Soil: Well-drained

Light: Full sun to light shade

Water needs: Every two weeks in summer; monthly in winter

Maintenance: To reinvigorate, prune to about a foot above ground every few years after blooming.

Attracts: Birds, bees and butterflies

Note: A repeat-bloomer, it was named for the butterflies that are attracted to its sweet-smelling flowers.

Why we like it: This drought-resistant plant produces clusters of tiny blossoms that form into pretty flower balls. It is heat- and frost-tolerant.


CAPE PLUMBAGO
(Plumbago auriculata)
CAPE PLUMBAGO
(Plumbago auriculata)

Type: Evergreen shrub

Blooms: Sky blue to white; spring into winter

Size: 6'H by 8-10'W

Soil: Well-drained, but not fussy

Light: Full sun to light shade

Water needs: Regular to moderate; avoid over-watering

Maintenance: Prune to shape and to encourage flowering.

Attracts: Birds and butterflies

Note: May not bloom as well in low light, but too much sun can lead to pale flowers. All parts of the shrub are poisonous if ingested.

Why we like it: The desert’s version of the hydrangea, this fast-growing repeat bloomer can be espaliered, trained as a vine, grown in pots, added to xeriscape gardens or used as a border plant.


Photo by Stan Shebs

FEATHERY CASSIA
(Senna artemisioides)
FEATHERY CASSIA
(Senna artemisioides)

Type: Evergreen shrub

Blooms: Yellow; late winter into spring

Size: 6-8'H by 6-8'W

Soil: Must be well-drained, but is tolerant of most types

Light: Full to reflected sun

Water needs: Deep and infrequent once established. Avoid over-watering.

Maintenance: Prune to control size as needed, and after flowering to reduce seedpod production.

Attracts: Butterflies

Note: This fast-grower is an excellent choice for informal hedges.

Why we like it: It produces bright-yellow flowers that are extremely fragrant. With its light, airy structure and ability to handle drought, it makes an excellent xeriscape plant.

OTHER FAVORITES:
Bat-faced cuphea, black dalea, chaparral sage, chuparosa, creosote, damianita, desert ruellia, fairy duster, hop bush, little leaf cordia, jojoba, Mexican bush sage, orange bells, red bird of paradise, Texas ranger, yellow bells
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