Desert may be a harsh environment, but it does not mean that flowers cannot grow there.
Many desert flowers are not only beautiful, but also hardy and strong.
Here are 20 flowers that lend their beauty to the dry desert.
Table of Contents
- 1. Mariposa Lily
- 2. Canaigre Dock
- 3. Golden Suncup
- 4. Desert Dandelion
- 5. California Poppy
- 6. Apache Plume
- 7. Chuparosa
- 8. Desert Marigold
- 9. Devil’s Claw
- 10. Fairy Duster
- 11. Desert Fivespot
- 12. Barrel Cactus
- 13. Beavertail Cactus
- 14. Desert Sunflower
- 15. Prickly Poppy
- 16. Ocotillo
- 17. Globe Mallow
- 18. Notch-leaved Phacelia
- 19. Brittlebush
- 20. Fox Tail Agave
1. Mariposa Lily
Unlike the common lilies, mariposa lilies can withstand the hot, arid climate of the desert. This flower has open petals instead of trumpet-shaped ones.
The petals have bright colors such as white, pink, and purple. They bloom in spring and summer before shedding seeds in the fall.
2. Canaigre Dock
Canaigre dock is one of the common flowers in the deserts of western America and Mexico. The lance-like flower rows have a deep red color.
Farmers in America use the plant’s roots to make tannin and brown dye. The stalk is edible and has a similar flavor to rhubarb.
3. Golden Suncup
Golden suncup’s small blooms form bright specks in California’s Mojave and Sonoran Deserts.
4. Desert Dandelion
Despite the name, desert dandelion is actually related to sunflowers. The petals are bright yellow and layered.
The plants bloom from March to June before being replaced by bristled fruits. They create beautiful golden specks on the sand.
From many flowers that grow in the desert, California poppies are probably the most famous in America.
The flowers have orange, yellow, or red colors. Each bloom grows on a single stalk and closes during the night.
California poppies bloom from February to September, covering the field with fiery color.
6. Apache Plume
Apache plume looks like simple shrub plant with greyish bark. However, when the flowers bloom, they look like single-petal white roses.
After blooming season, the white flowers slowly change into feathery clusters with pinkish gray color.
Chuparosa is one of the native desert wildflowers in Mexico, California, and Arizona. The plant grows in shrubs with succulent leaves.
When the leaves fall off, tubular red flowers grow. Each flower has “lip” that slowly opens to show the nectar inside. Chuparosa is pollinated by hummingbirds.
8. Desert Marigold
Bright and cheerful, desert marigold blooms into aster-like yellow flowers with wide “eyes.” They are native desert flowers in Mexico and southwestern America.
Desert marigolds bloom in spring, but sometimes they can continue to produce flowers throughout summer and until fall.
9. Devil’s Claw
Devil’s claw has beautiful flowers with colors such as white and pink. However, it has “scary-looking” seed pods that have hooked shape, like claws.
The shape enables the pods to get stuck to animals’ feet. When the animals move to other places, the pods are crushed open, and the seeds get dispersed.
10. Fairy Duster
Fairy duster gets its name from filament-like stamens around the flowers. The deep pink color makes these flowers very noticeable in the desert, especially since they bloom between winter and spring.
Fairy duster loves alkaline soil, and they are commonly found on the slopes and hills.
11. Desert Fivespot
Desert fivespot is one of the most unique flowers in the desert. The flowers have cup-like appearances, with a creamy inside and several dark red blots that surround a stamen.
The outer side of the “cups” have a purple, pink, or white color. These flowers close at night.
12. Barrel Cactus
Barrel cactus is a popular desert plant among homeowners around the world. Each cactus has a single, globular shape. A single flower will come out from the top of the cactus.
The flowers can be red, orange, or yellow. Barrel cactus loves low-nitrogen soil. It is easy to grow, perfect even for people with brown thumbs.
13. Beavertail Cactus
Beavertail cactus has a flat, wide, oval shape that resembles its name. The cactus grows in a low cluster on the sand or rocky surface.
When the flowers bloom, they show up on top of the cactus formation. Their colors are bright, ranging from pink to purple and yellow.
14. Desert Sunflower
Desert sunflower is a shrub-type plant with small, yellow flowers. However, since these plants grow in wide distribution, they can create a golden field during the blooming season. The flowers look like asters and are loved by bees and birds.
15. Prickly Poppy
Prickly poppy is like the extreme, desert version of rose. It has a beautiful flower that stands on a single stem. The flower has bright colors, from white to yellow.
However, the leaves and stem have sharp, thick thorns. Native Americans use natural latex as medicines, while the military in WW2 used the extracted oil for lubricant.
Many people mistake ocotillo for real cactus when they see it from afar, because the green stems look spiny.
However, ocotillo’s stems are actually semi-succulents, with shapes that look like corals.
Ocotillo flowers bloom in spring and summer. They appear as long cluster with bright red color.
17. Globe Mallow
Globe mallow flowers are native American desert plants from California, Utah, and Arizona.
They are perennial herbs with small but bright flowers, which grow in clusters. The flowers’ colors range from orange to red.
18. Notch-leaved Phacelia
Notch-leaved phacelia is a fuzzy desert plant, with branches covered in stiff hair. The flowers are bright and noticeable, with purple as the main color.
Each flower has white-tipped corolla. Notch-leaved phacelia attracts bees, and the flowers have a subtle sweet aroma.
Brittlebush is a unique bush, consisting of small plants that form a roundish cluster. The foliage is as beautiful as the flowers, with fuzzy, silvery leaves.
When the flowers bloom, they cover the round cluster with bright, yellow specks. Brittlebush is native in Sonoran and Mojave Deserts, and it cannot handle frost.
20. Fox Tail Agave
Fox tail agave is one of the most popular desert succulents in the world. While it does not have any blooms, its foliage grows in the shape of a rosette.
Depending on the varieties, the leaves may show various shades, such as dark green, bluish green, or green with yellow stripes.
Desert is a habitat of many beautiful, diverse, and unique plants. These 20 desert flowers and plants should be your considerations if you want to create a unique garden.