Southwest and Desert Wildflowers

Baileya multiradiata

Desert Marigold

Baileya multiradiata is a modest little wild flower, growing to just one foot tall. Desert Marigold has a tendancy to sprawl much like a groundcover. This desert wildflower boasts bright, sunny flowers dotted in the center with vibrant orange. Desert Marigold can often be found in the Mojave National Park.



This is a group of species recommended for your raingardens of the desert. They consist of:

Red Dome (G. pinnatifida) that grows to less than a foot and boasts sunny yellow flowers.

Indian Blanket (G. aristata) that grows a bit bigger, but still carries sunflower-like flowers.

Monarch or Dwarf Goblin Blanketflower (G. grandiflora) is a little bigger than the others, up to four feet and has red flowers with yellow tipped petals.

Red Plume (G. pulchella) with brilliant cardinal flowers. Red Plume grows to barely one and half feet.

Here are some more photos of these beautiful desert wildflowers.

Lantana urticoides

Texas Lantana

Lantana is a beautiful, rose-like wildflower native to the midwest and southwest. Lantana urticoides grows two to six feet and loves deserty conditions, dry and hot. Its beautiful orange to red flowers bloom late in the summer. Lantana can be considered a small shrub.

Machaeranthera bigelovii

Purple Aster

Machaeranthera bigelovii is a beautiful purple flower, daisy-like in character. Purple Aster Grows to around three feet tall with bushy foliage. This wildflower blooms late in the summer to early fall. Be sure and check out M. bigelovii's cousin at the same time .

Mirabilis multiflora

Giant Four O' Clock

Mirabilis multiflora is also known as Showy Four O' Clock. Four O' Clocks are showy, purple flowers that look a lot like Hibiscus. However, it is much smaller than a Hibiscus, just 3 feet tall. And here is a rarety: M. multiflora flowers from early spring all the way through to the end of summer and early fall. Giant Four O' Clock is one of the most drought hardy plants once established and is a great attractor of hummingbirds.


Penstemon is another group of species recommended for rain gardens. Look especially for P. ambiguus, P. fendleri and P. superbus. For a great page on a large variety of Penstemons go to www.biosci.ohio-state-edu. Be sure and check hardiness zones.

Salvia greggii

Cherry Sage

Cherry Sage is a beautiful shrub that grows up to four feet high. It is also know as Autumn Sage. This wonderful desert shrub comes in a variety of colors to complement any garden setting so you may consider planting more than one. Salvia greggii's waxy, little flowers were made to retain moisture in their desert enviroment. There's even a unique Autumn Sage known as Teresa that is white with little pink stripes.

Setcreasea pallida

Purple Heart

Purple heart is an unusual ground cover, growing to about a foot high. This lovely desert wildflower enjoys partial shade and blooms with feathery, deep purple flowers.

Silphium albiflorum

White-flowered Rosinweed

It is said that early settlers once used the resin of White Rosinweed as chewing gum. You should of course never try this at home. This beautiful white, sunflower-like wildflower blooms late in the summer.

Tagetes latifolia

Mexican Mint Marigold

T. latifolia is orinally native to guatamala and Texas and is often used in salads. This wildflower has many additional common names including Texas Taragon and Sweet Mace. Taragon is a beautiful herbaceous shrub topped by sunny yellow flowers, that grows 3 to 4 feet tall.

Zinnia grandiflora

Desert Zinnia

Zinnia grandiflora is a small yellow wildflower, less than a foot. Desert Zinnia is known to many as Prairie Zinnia or Rocky Mountain Zinnia. This desert wildflower has a tendancy to remain dormant until temperatures sore so don't yank it out to quickly. Zinnia grandiflora thrives in some very inhospitable environments so it is perfect for desert settings.