Best Early Spring Flowers for the Desert Southwest

Welcome spring to your Southwest garden with these stunning early bloomers.

Spring comes very early in the desert and these precocious bloomers will jump-start your garden at the very dawn of the season.

Parry's penstemon (Penstemon parryi) casts a haze of hot pink hummingbird-attracting blooms beginning in February. Zones 8-10

Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa) is sought after for its January to February Sonoran desert blooms of yellow daisylike flowers. Zones 7-9

Mt. Lemmon marigold (Tagetes lemmonii) makes its home in many arid herb gardens, with its fragrant ferny green foliage graced by gold flowers from January to April. Zones 8-11

Chuperosa (Justicia californica) sports edible tubular red flowers on nearly leafless straw-shape stems February through May. Zones 8-10

Sweet acacia (Acacia farnesiana), a small tree, erupts in sweet-smelling, golden ball-shape blooms in February. Zones 8-10

Bush dalea (Dalea pulchra), a native shrub, begins in February its show of tiny pea-shape, purple-blue flowers. Zones 9-11

Valentine emu bush (Eremophila 'Valentine'), an Australian native, puts on a cloak of dark red, trumpet-shape flowers around Cupid's holiday. Zones 10-11

Shrubby bulbine (Bulbine frutescens 'Yellow') blooms from January through May like a little green onion with yellow flowers. Zone 10

Blue elf aloe (Aloe 'Blue Elf') lights up the garden as its little candelabras of orange-red flowers open in January and last into early March. Zones 9-11


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