The intensely colored golden-orange flowers of Palmer’s Indian Mallow (Abutilon palmeri) are especially attractive to native solitary bees.

The bladderpod shrub I can see from my window has had abundant yellow flowers nearly year-round. Other California native plants from chaparral and desert areas can also have a long bloom time. What sets these particular plants apart is that they grow in full sun, need excellent drainage and will thrive in the hottest part of your garden.

Desert plants can benefit from the reflected heat of a south- or west-facing wall, an adjacent sidewalk or a big boulder that absorbs and radiates the heat of the day. Using a mineral mulch such as gravel or decomposed granite instead of an organic mulch such as arborist chips can also help these plants to thrive.


Apricot Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) comes in shades from the palest salmon to deep red-orange, with flowers from half an inch to 2 inches across.


In late fall, shrub abutilon, above, still has an abundance of flowers. Its soft silvery-gray to gray-green leaves provide a textural contrast in the dry garden.


Sierra Starr Fairy Duster, right, a hybrid of the native California species and the Baja species, is hardy to 18 F. It grows into a 4- to 5-foot mound, covered with red flowers that attract hummingbirds.

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