Getting the most bloom power possible from the plants in the yard is what most people look for. Finding the right perennials can be frustrating if you’re not an avid gardener. A lot of plants produce beautiful flowers, but in your Phoenix landscaping, you want a hardworking bloomer. Like any other climate, there are some perennials that deliver extended spells of flowering, much longer than any of the other options.
1) Salvia farinacea
A Texas native, Mealy Cup Sage, or Blue Sage pictured above, is right at home in the Phoenix climate. It’s season of bloom is so long, that it’s an annual in colder climates across the US. The species has light blue-purple flowers, but there are many cultivars available in a range from dark blue or purple, to white or bi-colored. Look for the “Victoria Blue” cultivar to enjoy the truest blue coloring of all. Not only does it repeat bloom, but the open flowers remain looking great for weeks.
The bushy plant can be somewhat sprawling, but it’s evergreen to freezing temperatures when it dies back to the ground. It’s not a large plant, reaching 18″ tall by 12-18″ wide. It blooms from spring to fall. The best location in your yard will be full sun to part sun in soil that is well draining. For best performance, be sure to keep it on a regular fertilizer and watering schedule for best performance. Periodic drip irrigation for deep root moisture is recommended.
2) Russelia equisetiformis
Also known as Coral Fountain, or Firecracker Plant, this one is a native of Mexico, so it’s highly adapted to living here in the Valley.
You’ll find the plant’s fine texture and graceful, weeping habit a lovely addition anywhere in your yard that doesn’t get direct sun in the summer – even when it’s out of bloom. But if you give this one optimum conditions, it will flower year around, though the heaviest blooming takes place in summer and fall.
Fertilize and water regularly to keep it in prime condition. Be sure to give it good drainage too, and prune it back in the spring. It’s quite shrubby for a perennial. The plant grows 3′ wide with stems that reach 3′ long, but since they arch and droop, it will not be that tall.
Russelia is winter-hardy here, tolerating temperatures down to 32 degrees. If the temps drop below freezing, it will die back to the ground. However, when the weather warms, the plant will recreate itself from the roots. So, in some locations it behaves more like a perennial than a shrub.
3) Mirabilis multiflora
Desert 4 O’Clock is a handsome foliage plant, though it’s true beauty rushes to the forefront while in flower. This perennial loves dry soil, and except for watering every 2 months during drought, does best if left alone. It bursts into heavy bloom every time it rains from April to September.
The trumpet shaped lavender-pink flowers with a light violet throat can cover the entire plant. They open in the afternoon and close in the morning – very early morning in a full sun location.
Plant it in part shade with well-draining soil. It reaches 18″ tall and 3-4′ wide, but growing under perfect conditions it can slowly spread out to an amazing 9′ wide mass, or larger. Technically, this is a tuber plant, and it dies back to the ground in winter.
Commonly known as Whitestem Paperflower, this shrubby perennial is an easy care perennial for Phoenix landscaping. One that adds a lot of flower action to your yard.
It matures to 12-18″ tall by 2′ wide, and you’ll enjoy scads of long-lasting 2″ wide yellow blooms in early spring. But that’s just the beginning of it’s color season with new blooming occurring sporadically through summer and fall. The delicate blooms eventually dry on the plant to resemble paper flowers.
It will deal with no irrigation, but it’s at its best with moisture assistance, giving you more blooming and a plant more suited to home landscaping. In summer put it on a weekly irrigation schedule, and cut it back to once a month in the winter. To maintain a tight full habit, shear in late fall.