The Perennial and Wildflower Garden


Salvia coccinea

The plants on this page are low care, desert-adapted, perennial herbs. A few annuals also made the list. By definition, these plants have herbaceous, rather than woody stems, but may have a woody base. Some may be evergreen and shrub-shaped in regions without freezes, but will die to the ground when frozen, and regrow from their roots in the spring.
Most perennials listed below need well-drained soil which can be found on sloping ground, higher rocky ground or raised garden beds.
Once established, most perennials listed below will need watering once a month unless it rains. More frequent watering will produce more blooms, however some are intolerant of frequent watering. The most common mistake made with these plants is overwatering once they are established.
Perennials that bloom spring through fall sometimes suspend blooming during periods of extreme heat and start up again in late August unless given part shade and additional water.
Most prefer full sun, some require it to avoid fungal diseases, but others need part shade in high temperatures to maintain appearance.

Achillea millefolium: Yarrow
Tiny flowers in flat clusters, white, red, pink, orange or yellow.

Agastache rupestris: Licorice Mint Hyssop
Orange-red, tubular flowers arrayed on spikes, edible.

Asclepias subulata: Desert Milkweed
Long, narrow, upright blue to green stems. Small yellow to white flowers in clusters.

Asclepias tuberosa: Butterfly Milkweed
Small bright orange or yellow flowers in terminal clusters.

Baileya multiradiata: Desert Marigold
Yellow flowers 2" wide.

Barkleyanthus salicifolius: Willow Ragwort
Yellow flowers with pale orange centers.

Berlandiera lyrata: Chocolate Flower
Yellow rays with dark orange center, chocolate fragrance.

Calylophus hartwegii: Hartweg's Sundrops
Large, bright yellow flowers.

Conoclinium greggii: Gregg's Mistflower
Fluffy lavender flowers.

Epilobium canum: Hummingbird Trumpet
Reddish-orange flowers 1.5" long in clusters.

Erigeron divergens: Spreading Fleabane
One-inch wide flowers have narrow white rays and yellow centers.

Eschscholzia californica: California Poppy
Orange-yellow flowers 2" wide.

Gaura lindheimeri: Gaura
Oddly shaped white to pink flowers on long, thin stalks.

Lobelia laxiflora: Mexican Bush Lobelia
Orange-red tubular flowers with yellow throats, 2" long.

Salvia coccinea: Blood Sage
Salvia coccinea: Scarlet Sage

Melampodium leucanthum: Black Foot Daisy
Honey-scented, white flowers, 1.5" wide with yellow eyes.

Mirabilis multiflora: Wild Four O'clock
Purple trumpet flowers, 1" wide and 2-3" long.

Monardella villosa: Coyote Mint
Rounded clusters of light purple to pink flowers. The leaves produce a very strong, minty aroma.

Oenothera speciosa: Evening Primrose
White to pink 2" wide fragrant flowers.

Penstemon baccharifolius: Rock Penstemon
Tubular red flowers, longer blooming. The easiest of all Penstemons to grow.

Penstemon barbatus: Beardlip Penstemon
Red to red-orange tubular flowers arrayed on spikes.

Penstemon eatonii: Firecracker Penstemon
Bright red tubular flowers, 1" long, arrayed on stem.

Penstemon palmeri: Palmer's Penstemon
Fragrant, light pink to white flowers in clusters.

Penstemon parryi: Parry's Penstemon
Dark pink to magenta, tubular flowers with flared lobes.

Penstemon pseudospectabilis: Desert Penstemon
Magenta flowers, 0.75" long in spikes.

Penstemon superbus: Coral Penstemon
Dark pink, red or orange-red flowers, 0.75" long in spikes.

Perovskia atriplicifolia: Russian Sage
Very small blue to purple flowers on clustered spikes.

Salvia coccinea: Scarlet Sage
Bright red flowers.

Salvia elegans: Pineapple Sage
Narrow, red, tubular flowers.

Salvia farinacea: Mealycup Sage
White and blue flowers.

Salvia x jamensis: Salvia 'Hot Lips'
Red and white flowers.

Senna hirsuta v. glaberrima: Slimpod Senna
Vivid yellow flowers 1" wide in showy clusters.

Sphaeralcea ambigua: Desert Globemallow
Cup shaped flowers in orange, red, pink or white.

Tetraneuris acaulis: Angelita Daisy
Yellow daisy-like flowers. Green, linear, basal leaves.

Verbena rigida: Slender Vervain
Vivid purple, tiny flowers in hemispherical clusters.

Zinnia acerosa: Desert Zinnia
White flowers with yellow eye.

Sources for Perennial and Wildflower Seeds

Native Seeds/Search

Plants of the Southwest

Western Native Seed

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Latest update: September, 2021