In many areas, a winter yard is a relatively bland, monochrome landscape. This does not have to be the case in Tucson, however, with our mild winters and a wide variety of gorgeous blooming plants that will thrive for a stunning seasonal display. But which bloomers are the very best choices for a Tucson yard?
Choosing Blooming Plants for a Tucson Winter Yard
When choosing which winter blooming plants you want to feature in your yard, consider the overall landscape style and whether you want more diversity in the yard or a sense of uniformity. The house color could also be a factor for choosing bloom color for coordination or contrast.
The soil condition and the amount of sunlight in different areas should also inform your choice of the best plants that will make a spectacular winter show in your yard. You will want to evaluate any watering system to be sure it can effectively reach new plants if necessary. Also, consider the upkeep of new plants and whether they will require watering, fertilizing, and pruning in different seasons. This can be especially important for seasonal residents of the Tucson area who may need landscapers to look in on their plants during the summer months.
There are two categories of plants to consider for a Tucson yard in winter.
- Annuals – which bloom only for one season – can offer the most brilliance and diversity but need to be replanted every year and require regular water and fertilizer to look their best. This gives you the opportunity to change your yard’s look year after year to always have a new and gorgeous show. Pansies, petunias, snapdragons, and geraniums are all fine annual options for a winter Tucson yard.
- Perennials will boom naturally for several years with proper care, including fertilizing as needed, as well as regular pruning. They require more upkeep than annuals but also give back with a longer blooming lifespan. Many shrubs and succulents do well as perennials in Tucson landscaping.
Top 10 Winter Blooming Plants in Tucson
There are many, many winter-blooming plants that will do well in a Tucson yard. The top 10 choices include…
- Angelita Daisy (Tetraneuris acaulis) – Is a small native perennial that will bloom its heart out almost all year. They are hardy to -20F and are tough as nails but you might not suspect so with those cheerful yellow flowers. They also attract songbirds and butterflies.
- Valentine Bush (Eremophila maculata) – The bold fuchsia blooms of this Australian native add color to the landscape from mid-winter until mid-spring, typically from late December or early January to March or even as late as May. The rounded shape does best in partial to full sun. Hummingbirds love the flowers.
- Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium leucanthemum) – These small white flowers with yellow centers have a delicate foliage that can create a snow-like feel when mounded in clusters. They bloom spring through fall but will continue to bloom through winter if it doesn’t get too cold or are in a warmer microclimate. Perfect in borders, rock gardens, and other tight spaces. Also attracts butterflies.
- Parry’s Penstemon (Penstemon parryi) – The bright pink, long-lasting stems of this perennial stretch 12-36 inches above the low-lying foliage, create a colorful statement in any yard from winter into summer. Hummingbirds and butterflies will especially appreciate the brilliant blooms.
- Purple Lilac Vine (Hardenbergia violacea) – This climbing vine with rich purple blooms in midwinter is great for fences, arbors, and trellises, but will need strict pruning to keep it in check, as it can reach up to 50 feet long and may overwhelm nearby plants if not kept tidy.
- Cape Aloe (Aloe ferox) – A bold, low-maintenance succulent, the candelabra-like blooms are a rich red-orange for beautiful desert color. Native to South Africa, these upright blooms are frost-hardy and the entire plant can grow very large over the years to become a true statement piece. Their flowers are also loved by hummingbirds.
- Cascalote (Caesalpinia cacalaco) – This Mexico native is perfect for smaller yards and patio spaces as it typically only grows to 15′ tall and wide. Large spikes of yellow flowers appear in winter and attract hummingbirds. blooms are followed by attractive copper colored seed pots.
- Pink Fairy Duster (Calliandra eriophylla) – The dark green leaves of this perennial are lovely, but it is the late winter to mid-spring feathery pink blooms that steal the show. Butterflies and hummingbirds love the flowers, and seed pods that develop after flowering will also nurture quail and other native wildlife.
- Mexican Honeysuckle (Justicia californica) – This plant, already native to the region, will thrive with little care and enjoys full sun as it puts out tubular orange blooms over sage green leaves. The mid-winter bloom is especially appealing to hummingbirds at a time when few plants are blooming..
- Feathery Senna (Senna artemisioides) – This hardy evergreen shrub is an Australian native whos home environment is very similar to ours. They explode with masses of small, yellow, buttercup shaped flowers in the late winter and are also attractive to butterflies.
Keeping Winter Plants Looking Their Best
Regardless of which winter-blooming plants you choose, it is essential that they get the very best care to be seasonal showstoppers. Invest in sharp, high-quality pruning shears for clean cuts to help these plants keep their form, and use soaker hoses or drip systems for the best watering without losing moisture to evaporation.
Want even more color in your winter yard? Consider fun accessories such as a gazing ball, garden flags, a whimsical statue, or a bird bath to add flair and welcome winter wildlife that will be attracted by all the colors your blooms provide.