We did choose to live in the desert now didn't we? For us die-hard gardeners, we still want our gardens to look good and provide us with color and interest around our homes.
Obviously, we have no control over the weather but we do have control over what we plant. Without always having to resort to succulents and cactus, there are remarkable plants that we can successfully plant in our pots and enjoy them for months to come! Some of the most durable plants add color to our desert landscapes and we are not going to have to spend the hot days tending them.
Knowing that we also have abundant desert winds around our homes, one type of plant that I love to use in pots are ornamental grasses. As they dance in the wind, these will hold up to the drying conditions of the heat and wind, thrive in full sun and take a low to moderate amount of water — given a large pot.
A desert standby is Purple Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum') but you can use most grasses that the nurseries carry. One of my favorites is Muhlenbergia capillaris or Pink Muhly. A very wispy grass with pink airy plumes, it flows nicely in the wind.
Daylilies are another sure thing. Often called "the perfect perennial" due to its dazzling colors, ability to tolerate drought, thrive in full sun, and requiring very little care, daylilies bloom for months giving you a big bang for your buck and most likely you will not be throwing them into the compost heap! These will regrow each year so you can leave them in a pot until they outgrow it.
For both of these plants, you want to make sure that you plant them in a pot that is at least 20” at the top and one that has a V-shape opening; not an urn-shape where the top curves into the plant. It will be a devil to take out when it overgrows the pot.
A Visual Conversation on Botanical Conservation, Art & Illustration featuring work by the Desert Museum’s Botany Department… More