The Q&A Archives: Flowering Tree for the Desert

Question: I live in the desert in AZ in the resort town of Lake Havasu City. I need a tree that flowers, grows fast and can withstand temps up to the 120's in summer temps. It will be in full sun in my front yard. I really would like one that will be tall to offer shade, BUT most importantly flowers to serve as a memorial tree.

Please help me. Everything I have tried gets burned out.

Answer: I wish you had included the trees you've tried because that would help me determine if the problem is tree selection or ineffective watering, which is the most common cause of plant problems in the low desert. Your best bet is to stick with native or desert-adapted trees, which are adapted to our heat. One of my favorite flowering trees is desert willow (Chilopsis linearis). The common name is misleading, it's not a "true" willow. It blooms for a long period from spring to fall, with trumpet-shaped flowers that hummingbirds love. There are several named varieties with varying flower colors, in shades of pinks and purples. It is deciduous, meaning it drops its leaves in winter, but it has a nice branching structure. It's a good tree for energy efficiency if planted where it will shade the house in summer, but allow winter sun through to warm the house. Please feel free to send another email with the trees you've tried.

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