Southwestern Deserts

May, 2005
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Fairy Dusters
The blooms of pink fairy duster (Calliandra eriophylla) and red Baja fairy duster (C. californica) are colorful workhorses in the landscape, requiring minimal care and water. Pink is native to the southwest; red is native to Baja California. Flowers bloom from spring through fall and are favored by hummingbirds. Calliandra hybrid 'Sierra Starr' blooms heavily year-round with bright red flowers. Fairy dusters grow quickly, thriving in full sun and reflected heat. The pink reaches about 3 feet tall, and the red reaches 5 feet or more. Very drought tolerant once established.

Clever Gardening Technique

Siting Backlit Plants
As the sun's angle changes through the seasons, the best areas in any landscape to show off backlit plants will also change. Test spots with container plants at different heights before digging holes; track the changes through the year. Since container plants can be stressed through a long summer, use a "dummy" plant to determine where the sun's rays land. Check out the views from windows, patios, or seating areas where you want the backlighting to be most visible.

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