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For The Garden

Desert Newcomers

Author: Cathy Cromell
Issue: April, 2014, Page 152



VISTA COMPACT JOJOBA
(Simmondsia chinensis ‘Vista’)

Type: Shrub

Elevation: Low, mid; hardy to 15 degrees F

Blooms: Green (inconspicuous); spring

Size: 4'H by 4'W

Soil: Any with good drainage

Light: Full, partial or reflected sun

Water needs: Low

Maintenance: Minimal

Attracts: Birds

Note: Jojoba fruits contain a liquid wax that is used in cosmetics.

Why we like it: ‘Vista’ offers the extreme drought tolerance of full-sized jojoba in an evergreen compact mound suited to small landscapes. It thrives in hot, challenging planting areas such as sidewalk medians.




PINK FLAMINGO MUHLY
(Muhlenbergia x ‘Pink Flamingo’)


Type: Ornamental grass

Elevation: Low, mid; hardy to -10 degrees F

Blooms: Pink; fall

Size: 4-5'H by 2'W

Soil: Any

Light: Full, filtered or reflected sun

Water needs: Moderate

Maintenance: Cut back to the ground in late winter to rejuvenate.

Attracts: Birds and pollinators

Note: Hybrid ‘Pink Flamingo’ combines the pink flowers of Muhlenbergia capillaris and the upright shape of M. lindheimeri.

Why we like it: Arching plumes tipped with pink flowers look stunning when massed. A single plant’s upright stature is ideal for narrow spaces.




PINE MUHLY
(Muhlenbergia dubia)

Type: Ornamental grass

Elevation: Low, mid; hardy to 0 degrees F

Blooms: Tan; late summer to fall

Size: 30"H by 30"W

Soil: Any

Light: Full, partial or reflected sun

Water needs: Low

Maintenance: Cut back in early spring to rejuvenate.

Attracts: Birds and pollinators

Note: This plant is native to elevations of 3,300-5,000 feet in Arizona, New Mexico, west Texas and northern Mexico.

Why we like it: A workhorse plant in a petite package, pine muhly fills the need for tough plants that grow in tight, difficult spaces.




SUMMER SNOW TEXAS SAGE
(Leucophyllum laevigatum ‘Summer Snow’)


Type: Shrub

Elevation: Low, mid; hardy to 10 degrees F

Blooms: White; summer and fall

Size: 4-6'H by 4-6'W

Soil: Well drained

Light: Full sun, reflected heat

Water needs: Low

Maintenance: In spring, remove dead stems or shape lightly.

Attracts: Birds and pollinators

Note: Site where its natural form can grow without unnecessary pruning, which eliminates flowering.

Why we like it: Same look and growing requirements of Chihuahuan sage (L. laevigatum)—except for its white flowers—‘Summer Snow’ bursts into bloom triggered by monsoon humidity.
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