Arizona’s state flower is the saguaro flower, from the cactus of the same name. The flower is large and white, blooming from late April through early June. While many people might assume the desert regions of Arizona are vast areas of colorless browns, many flowering plants thrive in Arizona.
Prickly Pear Beavertail Cactus
Landscapers often avoid certain types of cactus, due to the cactus' wicked spines. When adding cactus to the garden, situate them away from doorways and walkways. One cactus with dramatic magenta colored flowers is the beavertail prickly pear. Named for the fact its limbs resemble the shape of a beaver’s tail, this cactus flowers during spring and requires very little irrigation or maintenance. At maturity, it will grow to about a foot high and spread about 3 feet wide. It is native to the Sonoran and Mojave deserts.
For a flowering vine, consider the yuca vine, or Merremia aurea, a member of the morning glory family. It adds summer color to the garden, with bright yellow flowers blooming from summer to fall. Its dark green foliage dies back during winter’s colder weather, yet the plant will re-grow come spring. It requires a trellis or support, twining upwards and outwards at about a 10 foot span. This drought resistant plant, which requires low water use, is native to Baja California and enjoys full sunshine.
Flame Honeysuckles are ideal shrubs for planting under windows, as their orange-red flowers attract butterflies, hummingbirds and other birds to the plant. If you have an indoor cat, it’ll enjoy sitting on the window sill and watching the hummingbirds. Native to the Chihuahuan Desert, the flame honeysuckle or Anisacanthus quadrifidus v. wrightii, blooms from summer through late fall and has bright green, medium textured foliage. It requires low water use, and grows to about 3 feet high at maturity and 4 feet wide.
For a year round flowering, select a Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium leucanthum) for your Arizona garden. This mound shaped bush grows to about 1 foot high at maturity and 2 feet wide. It is fast growing and enjoys full or partial sun and requires very little water in a well draining soil. Its evergreen foliage is gray-green and medium textured, while its daisy-like flowers are white with yellow centers.