I love color in the garden.  My garden is full of flowering shrubs and perennials.  I am blessed to live in an area where it is possible to have flowers in my garden 12 months of the year.  My favorite way to accomplish this is to include plants that flower most, if not all year long.

Today, I would like to share with you some of my favorites….

 
Angelita Daisy (Tetraneuris acaulis)
Flowers year-long with heaviest bloom occurring in spring and fall.
Red Fairy Duster (Calliandra californica)
This shrub has beautiful flowers 12 months of the year.  Blooming does slow down in winter, but flowers are still present.

 
Pink Bower Vine (Pandorea jasminoides)
Two of these vines grace the front entry to my house.  They produce flowers all year, but do slow during the hot summer months.
‘Blue Bells’ (Eremophila hygrophana)
Resembles Texas sage, yet stays compact at 3 feet tall and wide.  Purple flowers are produced all 12 months of the year.

Baja Ruellia (Ruellia peninsularis)
One of my absolute favorite shrubs.  Purple flowers are present all year, but blooming slows down in winter.

 
Cape Honeysuckle (Tecomaria capensis)
Reliable bloomer throughout the year.  Hummingbirds flock to the beautiful orange flowers.  Winter temperatures slow down blooming.
Mexican Bird-of-Paradise (Caesalpinia mexicana)
This versatile shrub can be trained as a small tree.  I have 4 in my landscape.  Yellow flowers are produced off and on all year.

 
Purple Trailing Lantana (Lantana montevidensis)
In a protected area (under an overhang or underneath a tree), this groundcover can bloom all year long.  The lantana pictured above, was located underneath an overhang which is why is still looked wonderful in January when I took this photo. 
I live and work in zone 9a and so the plants bloom times are affected by our highest and lowest temperatures.  As a result, many of the plants that do flower all year long will slow down in the winter and fewer blooms will be produced.  But, in my experience, there are still flowers even in January.  

Plants such as the lantana and cape honeysuckle will produce more blooms in the cold winter months if planted in protected area.  Examples of protected areas are up against a house, underneath the eaves or underneath a tree.  I have a bougainvillea that has stayed green all winter and still has flowers on it because it is located underneath a tree.

I hope you will try some of my favorite flowering plants.  For those of you who live in different climates, look for plants that will provide you with color for as long as possible.  If you cannot have blooming flowers year-long, then try incorporating plants with beautiful foliage and textures so that there is always something beautiful to see in your garden every single month of the year.

**For more suggestions for colorful plants for your arid garden, I recommend Arizona Gardener’s Guide, which lists hundreds of trees, shrubs and perennials that add beauty while thriving in our often challenging climate.



Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a horticulturist, certified arborist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."

39 replies
  1. Liza
    Liza says:

    Noelle, this is a great post. I think it's important for people to consider what their garden looks like in winter. Plus, I could look at pretty flower pictures all day!

  2. Edith Hope
    Edith Hope says:

    Dear Noelle, It is such fun to see so many different plants which are not normally to be found in gardens in Great Britain. You are very fortunate to have such vivid colours lasting all year through.

  3. Nell Jean
    Nell Jean says:

    The winter just leaving us was a reminder that every year is different. Lantana monevidensis that usually has a bit of green and scattering blooms throughout the winter here is tan and dry stemmed, even in sheltered areas. It should return, lantana camara too.

    Caesalpinia pulcherrima has returned every year since I started seedlings, bone dead in the winter, returning from roots. I have seeds planted, just in case.

    None of your other long-blooming plants have I seen for sale in nurseries here.

    I wondered, "Do I have anything that blooms the year around?" I thought of Loropetalum. It rests for a while in the hottest of summer, starting up again late August and always with some bits of fuchsia fringes in the winter. Then I thought of tea olive, blooming except in summer.

    We have blossoms all year, but not the same plants: camellias in winter, azaleas in spring, gardenias and magnolias in summer are the evergreens.

  4. Kate
    Kate says:

    Beautiful blossoms, Noelle! I particular love that cape honeysuckle. It would be quite striking with Lantana at it's base.

  5. Rosie
    Rosie says:

    Hello there Noelle. I think it is such a blessing to have colour all year around in the garden. I cherish any bloom during the wintertime. I've been reading your blog since November 2009 and you really have inspired me – and the plant I would like to grow in my garden this summer that I know you feature in your blog is the Lantana.

  6. Teresa O
    Teresa O says:

    What a gorgeous display of flowers. The deep purple of the lantana is stunning, but I am in love with the red fairy duster. I recall it from another post. I wonder…would it be possible to grow it in zone 5b?

    Lovely post, Noelle.

  7. Catherine@AGardenerinProgress
    Catherine@AGardenerinProgress says:

    How lucky to have so many different flowers blooming all year. That Fairy Duster is just so pretty!
    I've tried to find plants that bloom as late into the fall as possible and then others like Hellebores that start to bloom early in the year.

  8. Meredith
    Meredith says:

    Love that Cape Honeysuckle, and the Mexican Bird of Paradise. And that Fairy Duster, too.

    You know, I'm a little envious that you get to experience Bougainvillea in its perennial form, too. That is one of my favorite plants here, even though we can only grow it as an annual.

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful, bright, year-round bounty with us!

  9. Hocking Hills Gardener
    Hocking Hills Gardener says:

    Oh Noelle I just love your trialing Lantana. Just gorgeous and the Fairy Duster is so pretty. Love the feathery blooms. It must be so nice to be able to have some flowers all year around.

  10. fairegarden
    fairegarden says:

    What wonderful colors you have shown us, Noelle, a sight for eyes very tired of drab brown and grey. The Calliandra is amazing, I would have a whole garden of it if I lived there. Thanks for brightening our day! 🙂
    Frances

  11. LC
    LC says:

    Noelle- this is great… I'm seeing plants that I am totally unfamiliar with… wow… just beauitiful! Thank you, LC

  12. Lancashire rose
    Lancashire rose says:

    We can grow many of those plants here in zone 8b, Austin, but there is not much flowering over the winter. I think our zone 8 may have more rainfall than yours. The trailing lanana is gorgeous. I love low sprawling plants especially when they have so many flowers.

  13. Ami
    Ami says:

    I just saw Cape Honeysuckle in the store this weekend. Very pretty! Is it vine type? Your trailing lantana is very beautiful. I have two kinds of lantana, trailing and mounding. However, mine sometimes suffer the black spots on the leaves, not sure if it is because of the humidity of our florida weather.

  14. Gail
    Gail says:

    I love the intense colors of your favorite flowers~~and to have them all year long sounds divine! Btw, your header photo is spectacular~Now that is one of my favorite colors! We have a ruellia here in Middle TN~the flowers look almost identical to yours..and the bees love them. Thanks for sharing! gail

  15. Andrea
    Andrea says:

    Oh Noelle, i definitely love that purple lantana. I have seen the yellows, orange, pink, whites, variegated, but i have not seen that color here. The flowers are so plenty too, unlike the varieties i see here. Is it a hybrid?

    The Ruellia ang pink vines are beautiful too, and not found here. But i really would love the Lantana.

  16. Sue
    Sue says:

    I really enjoyed the pictures. Such bright colors! Unique plants always fascinate me. I will be posting an article about my desert, up in zone 2a. I try to get a little something new in it each year to go with a variety of prickly pear cactus that actually survives our winters.

  17. James Missier
    James Missier says:

    I really admire your blue lantana, lantanas don't seemed to do well in shaded areas – they need good sun to bloom.
    They don't do well too if the rainwater falls on the flower too often, as the flower cluster gets easily damaged.
    What a nice moment to enjoy all year round with many beautiful blooms.

  18. teresa
    teresa says:

    These are all so beautiful. I wish they would thrive in upstate NY but I think the snow would do them in. You are lucky to have all that color year round. I enjoyed your post. Very informative but still very fun to read and see.

  19. Kathleen
    Kathleen says:

    Oh, I'm eating my heart out as I often do looking at your fabulous winter blooms Noelle. 🙂
    Love them all. I'm picturing the pink honeysuckle vine surrounding your entry ~ in my mind it's stunning ~ as I bet it is in real life.
    The Red Fairy Duster is gorgeous. It does look like it could be a duster too. I think I told you once that I grew the Cape Honeysuckle in a container and want to do it again. Lucky you to have it growing and blooming all year. Here it didn't start to bloom until late summer and the hummingbirds had already migrated south. Darn it. Oh well, it's definitely worth trying again.
    Nice post!

  20. bloominrs
    bloominrs says:

    What wonderful plants. I wish I could have blooms year round like that. Definitely love the purple lantana. I've been trying to pay attention to foliage, and plant more perennials with interesting leaves or evergreen foliage. That's why I love penstemons so much. One of my continuous bloomers through the summer is coral canyon twinspur. As always your post is beautiful.

  21. Floridagirl
    Floridagirl says:

    I am amazed that you get so much color in Zone 8. I live in Zone 9, not so many miles from Zone 10, and much of my garden is fried right now…yes, even some you have pictured above. There are a few stalwart beasts in my garden, however. I think of the camellias, which have been blooming heavily since early December, and are just finishing up, the red-and-yellow blanketflowers, and my wonderful roses, which haven't skipped a beat. Oh, and the loropetalums, which aren't so impressive come summer. It seems to me the winter of 2007 was a happy one, where everything bloomed throughout, but I'm thinking that will be a rare event here.

  22. Bethany
    Bethany says:

    These pics make me homesick! I grew up with desert plants and miss their vivid colors and tough natures. The daisies look like a flower that I grew up calling the Copper Canyon Daisy…do you know it by that name as well. Looking forward to reading more…

  23. Kathleen Scott
    Kathleen Scott says:

    I love seeing the plants that are happy in your area. Most of them are new to me but I felt like I'd seen old friends when I scrolled down to the Caesalpinia and the purple lantana.

    Our winter must have been colder than yours. All my lantana died back to the ground.

    Thanks for sharing your desert.

  24. Erin
    Erin says:

    I have been devouring your blog, it’s wonderful! I live in Las Vegas and the info you give is gold. Tha , you so much!!

  25. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    Can you advise on the differences between these 3 plants? I am probably crazy but they look identical. But I’m assuming they have different attributes? I need something for my Vegas home at a western facing wall with reflected heat and I prefer ever-blooming and evergreen, if possible. Thank you!
    – Golden dyssodia (thymophylla pentachaeta)
    – Angelita Daisy (Tetraneuris acaulis)
    – desert marigold (Baileya multiradiata)

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