Shade Garden - Knowledgebase Question

Phoenix, AZ
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Question by dhappens
December 28, 1997
We are looking for a wildflower mix that we can spread over potentilla and that grow well in the shade. When should we plant wildflowers?

Answer from NGA
December 28, 1997
While most plants require six hours or more of sunlight to flower there are several wildflowers that do well in light shade in the low desert. Here are a few of my personal favorites:

Penstemon: a short lived perennial with beautiful spikes of pink or orange flowers and a hummingbird favorite.

White alyssum: a low growing fragrant annual that reseeds readily.

Yellow Columbine, a delicate fairy like flower native to river banks,(needs slightly more water than others).

Coreopsis: Tidy gold flowers.

Baby Blue Eyes: just what the name suggests.

Purple Cone Flower: contrary to the name this oversized daisy like flower has pink petals and a large gold center, great butterfly plant.

Burpee sells the Purple Cone Flower "Magnus" which is the 1998 Perennial Plant of the year.

W. Atlee Burpee & Co.
Warmister, PA 18974

Another source of wildflowers for the Sonoran Desert is

Wild Seed, Inc.
P.O. Box 27751
Tempe, AZ 85285
(602) 276-3536

Wild Seed sells seeds in prepackaged mixes or by individual flower type.

Wildflower seeds are also available from the Desert Botanical Garden

Desert Botanical Garden
1201 North Galvin Parkway
Phoenix, AZ 85008
(602) 941-1225 Office Web

While it is best to start Wildflowers in the fall they can also be started through the spring. Most seeds will not germinate while it is cold, they will remain dormant until the soil warms.

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