Add long-lasting color to the dry or desert garden with Engelmann's daisy. The eight-petal yellow flowers have a striking dark center and nearly cover the mounding 2-foot-tall perennial. Count on the flowers to open late in the day after the intense afternoon heat passes. They will remain open until the following day, when they will close in early afternoon. Birds invariably are attracted to the plant's seeds, making it a top pick for Southwestern wildlife gardens. Plant this easy-to-grow perennial with other low-water bloomers for a color show in xeric landscapes.
It's native to areas of central and southwestern North America.
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Plant Engelmann's daisy with
Delicate and airy, gaura is known as 'Whirling Butterflies', inspired by its dainty, dancing butterflylike flowers. It has long reddish stems that bear loose panicles of flowers, which open from pink buds. In beds and borders, they are best massed for greater effect or can be planted in small groups among shrubs. Gaura prefers rich, well-drained soil; it will not tolerate wet feet. Cut back by half after the first bloom flush for rebloom. It grows best where nights are cool.
This North American native plant has a home in nearly every garden with flowers that hummingbirds love. Long blooming with brilliantly colored, tubular flowers, penstemons -- ironically -- have been a staple in European gardens for decades.There are many different penstemon types. The leaves are lance-shape or oval, sometimes purple-red as in 'Husker Red'. Some Western species need outstanding drainage to dry conditions and won't thrive during wet weather. However, many, such as 'Husker Red', thrive in a wide variety of conditions. Just be sure to provide excellent drainage. Mulch in areas where a type is marginally hardy.
A magnificently sculptural plant for the desert garden, sotol has striking straplike blue-green leaves that make it look a bit like yucca or agave. The evergreen foliage is thin like an ornamental grass and has a pleasing fine texture year-round. Plant it where the sun can shine through the leaves in early morning or late evening, highlighting the plant's pretty silhouette. Sotol grows best in full sun and gravelly, sandy soil. Once established, it has good cold tolerance, but be sure to give it extra protection during the first winter after planting.