Late Bloomers

One of the challenges of gardening is having color all year long. This is easily accomplished from spring to late summer but the landscape can look bleak and sparse during fall and winter. Here are three great plants that will fill the void:

Anisacanthus thurberi, Desert honeysuckle blooms in spring, summer, and late fall. Its long tubular orange flowers make it a great plant for early and late migrating humming birds. It has an upright form spreading to 3 feet wide and 4 feet high.

Anisacanthus quadrifidus, Cohilla honeysuckle, has brilliant red-orange flowers from June to late November. Butterflies love this plant! Height and spread is similar to desert honeysuckle. Trademark varieties from Mountain States include A. q. brevilobus (Mountain Flame) and A. q. wrightii (Mexican Flame). There is also a salmon-colored form called Anisacanthus purbulis. If yellow flowers are what you're after, try Mt. Lemmon marigold, Tagetes lemmonii. An aromatic plant with fine green leaves and one inch yellow flowers blooming from late summer until the first hard frost. Nice loose mounding habit, 3 feet high and wide, it has medicinal and wildlife value.

Some of the nicest fall/winter blooming plants gaining popularity are the Daleas. They range from groundcovers to large shrubs, colors from blue, purple, red, and yellow. Some are evergreen or deciduous, scented, and rabbit-proof. There are about a dozen on the market-my favorites include Dalea pulchra, an evergreen shrub with silver leaves and rose-purple flowers; Dalea greggii, a ground cover that's great for slopes to control erosion with clusters of tiny purple flowers; and the elusive Dalea formosa, with small violet flowers that are surrounded wife feathery plumes and seeds with feathery tails.

Cheri Melton
December, 1997