Gardening in the Arizona desert, with its harsh summer heat and minimal rainfall, can be a challenge. Many gardeners look to xeriscaping, which refers to landscaping with plants that need little extra water. Growing flowers in containers is extra work in any climate, because potting soil dries out and containers heat up quickly. But there are many flowers, both annual and perennial, that can thrive despite all of these obstacles.
The African daisy (Dimorphotheca sinuata) has brilliant orange or yellow flowers from winter through mid-spring. This annual's flowers need full sun to open fully, and the flowers always face the sun. Easy to grow, the African daisy will grow in most any soil. Once established, they need only occasional watering.
Evening primrose (Oenothera berlandieri) is a low-growing perennial that spreads by rhizomes. Its pink or white bell-shaped flowers bloom from spring until the first frost. It grows to 12 inches tall and can spread 3 feet or more. It requires full sun and needs regular (though not heavy) watering.
Celosia (Celosia cristata), known commonly as cockscomb, has crested red, pink, orange or yellow flowers that resemble a rooster's comb. This annual plant, which grows 6 to 30 inches tall depending on the variety, thrives in part shade. Although it is not particularly heat tolerant, it does not require a lot of water.
Globe amaranth (Gomphrena globosa) is a tender herbaceous annual. Its cloverlike red, pink, purple or white flowers often are used in dry arrangements. Globe amaranth grows to 24 inches tall in full sun or light shade. It requires only occasional watering.
Desert marigold (Baileya multiradiata) is a perennial, sprawling groundcover. It can grow 12 inches tall and 2 feet wide. Its bright yellow single flowers grow on stalks above the leaves. When the petals fade, they leave behind a distinctive large button. The desert marigold, which blooms from early spring through midsummer, requires full sun and watering only during long dry spells.