Water shortage is always an issue for Phoenix. Yet some flowers still thrive amid the prickly green landscape of cacti -- even with limited amounts of precious water. Wildflowers make up the majority of flowers sturdy enough to withstand long periods of drought and scorching sun. But several other flowering plants, including a few tropicals, can also take the worst of Arizona's climate.
There are several perennials to choose from when planting flowers in Phoenix, Arizona. Perennials come back every year; many will seed out for survival.
The desert marigold, chocolate flower and ruellia are among the sun lovers. Many types of daisies, such as the angelita and blackfoot daisies, also flourish in the dry heat. The Penstemon genus thrives with little or no water. Perennial wildflowers, including coreopsis, Mexican hat and moss verbena, bring continual beauty throughout the growing season. Mealy cup and autumn sages, as well as a few types of zinnias, provide semi-evergreen foliage all year round.
For seasonal color, annual flowers complement any flowerbed. In Phoenix, however, annuals must be persistent in the desert climate and are typically classified as wildflowers in other parts of the country.
Arizona poppy and Mexican sunflowers can brighten the garden with yellow petals, while red flax and cherry red sages are colored in boldness. Portulaca, southwestern cosmos and blanket flower keep up with perennials from spring until fall. For visitors of the butterfly kind, try spreading fleabane and golden dyssodia.
Even in Phoenix, it's possible to create a tropical oasis although tropicals will require more water than many of the perennials and annuals. Hibiscus, bougainvillea and natal plum are proficient bloomers providing an encore of color in partial sun. Lantanas, such as purple and Irene, mix well with the one true Arizona native -- brittle brush.
Once established, the chaste tree, mescal bean and red yuccas prove themselves through seasonal blooming. Even a few rose species have adapted to Phoenix weather. Oleander, a large shrub sprouting hundreds of flowers, can easily be trimmed into a small tree. However, this beauty is highly toxic.
Sun-loving and drought-tolerant, bulbs or bulblike plants require only minimal care. They often sprout in deserted lots. Narcissus, crinums and crocus pop up during spring. As they fade away with the summer heat, amaryllis, day lilies and gladiolas take their place to provide wildflower gardens with a touch of elegance.