The Q&A Archives: Xeric Annual Sources

Question: Please recommend any annuals that will tolerate very xeric conditions. The plot is about 1800 sq ft and the perrenials are Chrythamus nauseous (rabbit bush), cytisus purgen (Spanish Gold Hardy Broom), Falugia paradoxa (Apache Plume), Penstemon palmeri (Pink Wild Snapdragon), and Zinnia acerosa (White flowered bush zinnia). There is also some Artemisia tridentata (big sage) and Rhus trilobata (three leaf sumac). This is semi-deseret conditions with about 12 or 13 inches of precipitation annually. Summer conditions are hot (90 to 100 degrees) and dry. The soil is very good. This used to be my vegetable garden until the city cut off the water supply.

Answer: You have some excellent perennials. I think wildflowers would be a good choice, in keeping with the natural plants. Planting more "traditional" annual flowers might look a bit odd. I'm going to recommend two catalogs that contain alot of info on flowering plants specific to our West's challenging growing conditions. High Country Gardens, http://www.highcountry and Plants of the Southwest, Another source might be of interest to you as it has native vegetable crops that tolerate and even thrive in very dry conditions: Native Seeds/SEARCH in Tucson. Their website is

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