A Beautiful Desert Garden with Texas Sage
While you may think of the desert as a barren place, many deserts are home to some unusual plants with beautiful foliage and flowers like Texas sage, also called purple sage. This hardy shrub with silvery leaves and purple flowers can be the centerpiece of a lovely desert garden. If you live in a hot, arid climate, you might have given up on having a garden, but don’t give up hope! If you choose plants that are suited to desert climes, you can have a gorgeous garden that will thrive on little water and bright sun.
Salvia texana, also called Texas sage or purple sage, is a perennial native to the Southwest United States and northern Mexico. Texas sage is evergreen and has a subtle scent and purple flowers to bring a bit of fragrance and color to your desert garden. These desert plants are usually easy to find at most local home and garden stores, and they are also relatively cheap to buy. Salvia is drought tolerant and needs full sun. To encourage blooming, give a little extra water. However, you must make sure to let the soil dry completely between waterings because purple sage can be susceptible to root rot in more humid climes. Once the plant is established, you don’t need to fertilize. In fact, Texas sage blooms more readily when it is a little bit hungry. Also, cut the bushes back when they are not flowering to keep them neat.
Another easy desert plant is oleander, a hardy perennial shrub with lovely blossoms. Oleander can tolerate drought and poor soil and requires little care. Oleanders bushes make great hedges or dividers, but need pruning in the cooler months because they can grow up to 20 feet tall! Oleander puts out clusters of blossoms from spring to fall, and the flowers come in shades ranging from white to red, although pink and salmon are probably the most popular colors. Keep children and plants away from the leaves or flowers because oleander is poisonous if eaten.
This plant is commonly misspelled and mispronounced, but very popular in desert gardens. Bougainvillea, an evergreen woody vine, has beautiful flowers throughout the year. The most common colors are pink, red, purple and magenta. Because it is a vine, bougainvillea can be trained into bushes, let grow wild, planted as a climbing vine or used as ground cover. Bougainvillea is very fast growing and requires trimming when it is not blooming so it doesn’t overtake other plants. They also drop their leaves frequently, so they shouldn’t be planted near ponds or pools. Though it is relatively drought resistant, bougainvillea is also very sensitive to frost and should be covered with a light cloth during the winter.
Lantana is also a perennial vining shrub very suited to desert climes that puts out clusters of tiny flowers all year long. The color of the flowers ranges from yellows and oranges to pinks, and each cluster of tiny flowers usually has several colors within it. Lantana can be used as ground cover or trim, in a hanging planter, or shaped into a bush with a little training and careful pruning. While they are drought tolerant and enjoy full sun, these plants are easily damaged by frost, so they need covering during the winter.
Also called yellow elder or trumpet bush, yellow bells loves sun and heat and can also be grown in a container. This drought resistant evergreen shrub blooms from late spring into early fall. The flowers are bell shaped and bright yellow and look lovely next to the bright green leaves. These beautiful blossoms attract bees and hummingbirds. Yellow bells plants can get very tall and be trained into a tree.