30 Oct DESERT PLANTS THAT PACK A PUNCH
If you want to create a standout landscape, nothing beats a showstopping plant. It adds drama, presence and vitality, and sometimes all it takes is a single specimen to make a difference. Trademark Landscape loves to incorporate vibrant visual beauty in its gardens. Here are some plants to consider.
Photography by Nancy Erdmann
PINK MUHLY GRASS
(Muhlenbergia capillaris ‘Regal Mist’)
This fall-blooming ornamental grass produces beautiful dusky-pink plumes that glow when backlit by the sun. Native to the Southwest, it is drought-tolerant and makes an excellent choice for growing en mass. Plant in full sun or part shade and cut to the ground in late winter or early spring to remove brown leaves and spent flowers.
WHALE’S TONGUE AGAVE
Whale’s tongue makes an excellent focal point in the garden, partly due to its size—it can reach up to 5 feet high and 6 feet wide—but also because of its distinctive powdery-blue leaves. Although it is a low-water-use plant that thrives in the sun, it will grow larger with frequent irrigation, as long as it is allowed to dry out between waterings.
A showstopper for sure, this prolific bloomer puts out fragrant 6- to 8-inch flowers in spring, mostly at night and into the early morning. While its blooms only last about a day, they are frequently visited by pollinators when the sun goes down. An easy-to-grow cactus, it needs little water. Plant in full sun and watch the magic unfold!
One of nature’s most striking barrel cacti, this one produces bright-red spines year-round and golden yellow to reddish flowers in summer. It makes an excellent container plant or a spectacular ground specimen. Place in well-draining soil where it will get light afternoon shade. It needs more water in summer than most cacti but should be kept dry in winter.
FOX TAIL AGAVE
Unlike most agaves, this evergreen rosette-shaped variety has no sharp spines or points. It can grow up to 5 feet high and almost twice as wide. It gets its name from the vertical flower stalks that form on mature specimens and arch like tails. Although a succulent, it looks great in tropical-inspired gardens. It can be grown in sun or shade and requires little water.
Also known as Texas ranger and Texas rain sage (because it usually blooms right after it rains), this evergreen shrub thrives in the hot sun. Its abundance of small purple or pink flowers appear in summer and into fall. Although it doesn’t bloom for long periods, it blooms often. Place in well-draining soil and don’t overwater. To rejuvenate a leggy plant, cut back to the ground.