2023 is starting off as a promising wildflower bloom season in the desert, but what’s blooming in the garden as pollinators begin to celebrate the warmer weather? You may be surprised!
Some of the following plants, by the book, are early to flower, but keep in mind that even small changes in elevation, sun exposure, and heat absorbing walls and stone can create microclimates that enable exceptional results.
Aloe spp – Attracts Hummingbirds
Angelita Daisy – Nectar plant, seeds provide food for birds
Arizona Foldwing – Great nectar plant for bees and butterflies. Host plant for the Texas Crescent
Baja Fairy Duster – Attracts Hummingbirds, great nectar source for bees and butterflies, host for the Marine Blue.
Blackfoot Daisy – Nectar loving insects like bees and butterflies love the flowers, and seed-eating birds eat the seeds.
Bottle Brush – Great nectar plant for bees, butterflies and Hummingbirds
Brittlebush – The nectar and seeds are consumed by local wildlife and the shrub provides shelter for animals. Host for the Painted Lady and Bay checkerspot butterfly, a threatened species.
Cape Honeysuckle – Nectar plant for Hummingbirds and bees.
Cascalote – Nectar plant for bees, attracts hummingbirds.
Chuparosa – Nectar source for Hummingbirds and bees. Host for Tiny Checkerspot, Texas Crescent, Pearl Crescent
Dalea spp – Host for Reakirt’s Blue, Southern dogface, Gray Hairstreak. Nectar plant for bees and butterflies.
Desert Lavender – Nectar plant for bees. Host for the Gray Hairstreak butterfly
Desert Marigold – Nectar plant. Host for Dainty Sulphur butterfly. Special value to native bees.
Dogweed – Great nectar plant. Larval host for the Dainty Sulphur
Emu Bushes – Nectar plant for bees and hummingbirds
Buckwheat – Special value to native bees. Host for the Bernardino Dotted-Blue, Lupine Blue, Mormon Metalmark, Behr’s Metalmark, Nut-Brown Hairstreak, Ceraunus Blue, Rita Dotted Blue, Acmon Blue, Brown Elf
Verbenas – Nectar plant and host for Fine-lined Sallow moth, Verbena moth
Lantana – Excellent nectar plant for bees and butterflies
Mexican Honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera) – Attracts Hummingbirds
Perennial Rockcress – Host for Spring White, Cabbage White, Desert Marble, Pearly Marble, Sara Orange Tip, Checkered White
Salvia spp – Cleveland Sage has Special value to native bees. Nectar source for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Host for Alfalfa Looper Moth (Autographa californica), Bilobed Looper Moth (Megalographa biloba), Wavy-Lined Emerald (Synchlora aerata), the geometrid Pherne subpunctata, and the plume moth Anstenoptilia marmarodactyla
Spreading Fleabane – Host for Hooded Owlet moth, Flower moth
Superstition Mallow – Host for the Arizona Powdered Skipper, Northern White Skipper, Common Streaky Skipper, Common Checkered Skipper, several species of moth