Desert flowers have adapted to harsh living conditions where rainfall is scarce in order to survive. Desert perennials, for example, are dormant during dry spells and bloom after a rain. Annuals only germinate when rain falls, and then bloom. Succulents have developed thick, fleshy skin that stores water during dry spells.
The desert lily, also known as the Ajo lily, is a perennial herb. The plant blooms with white, trumpet-shaped flowers only after a rain during the early spring. Native to the desert Southwest as well as northwest Mexico, the desert lily grows in sandy soil. The leaves are spear shaped. The bulb of the desert lily remains dormant during hot dry spells. The desert lily is suitable for USDA hardiness zones 9 through 11. The plant can be grown from seed.
The California poppy is a tender perennial native to the Southwest U.S. The flower favors dry, arid conditions, according to Aggie Horticulture. The cup-shaped flowers are orange and range in size from 2 to 4 inches in diameter. The total height of the plant ranges from 12 to 18 inches. The California poppy is suitable for borders and rock gardens.
The Mojave sun cup, or field primose, is an annual herb. Native to the Southwestern U.S., the plant is found growing wild in desert scrub. The Mojave sun cup has slender, upright stems and grows to a height range between 2 and 10 inches. The yellow flowers have four petals and a red dot at the base of each. The Mojave sun cup is suitable for container gardening and is drought tolerant.
Desert lupine is an annual. Native to the Southwestern U.S. and Texas, the desert lupine blooms from January to May, according to Desert USA. The flowers are blue or light purple and bloom on erect stems. The desert lupine is a self-seeder and the wind scatters the seeds from the pods. The leaves are dark green and arranged in a radial pattern. While the desert lupine is drought tolerant, it prefers regular watering.
Gibbaeum is a succulent native to South Africa. A small plant that grows close to the ground, gibbaeum has short stems and certain species of the plant grow in bunches. The leaves are thick with small hairs. The flowers bloom in white, purple and pink, according to the South African Biodiversity Institute. The plant is grown as a houseplant from seeds or cuttings. Avoid overwatering.
Mammillaria is a succulent, and more than 100 species are available. Grown as a container plant, the mammillaira is globe-shaped and reaches a height between 2 and 6 inches. The flowers of the mammillaria range in color from purple to red to white and are clustered near the top of the plant in a circle. Native to the Southwest, the mammillaria needs regular moisture during the growing season and should be kept dry during winter to induce flowering in the spring.