Desert wildflowers and weeds


Growing wildflowers in Arizona hasn’t been easy. My first year here I bought a native wildflower seed mix, threw it on the dirt, raked it in, and watered regularly for a couple of weeks… nothing.

I did have a couple of Mexican gold poppies come up in the front yard and I begged my husband to not spray them when he sprayed the weeds. From that small patch, I now have a patch of poppies every spring that reseeds. They sprout despite application of pre-emergent.

Mexican Poppy

My third year here, I had one brittlebrush and one Parry’s penstemon sprout, which I guarded and pampered. I sprinkled the seed all around the parent plants. My neighbor also gave me some seed from some desert marigold she had in her yard. Those seeds sprouted that summer, during the monsoon.

This spring I had around 50 Parry’s penstemon plants sprout and five brittlebrush. I now have enough sources of seed to stop worrying about pampering each new plant. The desert marigolds keep reseeding also, so I scatter seed in new areas of the yard.

One note: growing wildflowers exponentially increases the amount of hand weeding. So start with a small patch and know what the baby flowers look like so you don’t accidentally pull them.

Now on to harder and more finicky wildflowers.

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