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Southern California Desert - Inspiring Garden Ideas For All Gardeners

Selecting plants suited to the climate of the Southern California Desert is a key step to success.

A plant's performance is governed by many climate related factors including the length of the growing season, the amount of rainfall, winter lows, summer highs, wind or humidity. Various initiatives have taken place to determine how well plants would withstand the cold winter temperatures (Plant Hardiness Zones) or when plants would start suffering from the heat (Plant Heat Zones). A more sophisticated approach has been followed by Sunset which defines Climate Zone Maps based not only on hardiness or heat tolerance, but also on precipitations, wind, humidity and various other climate related factors.

The Southern California Desert region lies in Climate Zones 1-3, 10-13, 18-24. If you know your climate zone, find the best plants or exciting garden ideas for your geographic area.


A Colorful and Low Maintenance Californian Garden

A glorious mix of colors, shapes and textures for a long-lasting impact. Blooming over a long season extending from late spring to fall, bright red and pink Kangaroo Paws (Anigozanthus) cheerfully contrast with the evergreen ground-hugging Blue Chalk Stick (Senecio mandraliscae) and the incredibly elegant Agave demestiana 'Variegata'.

A Californian Retreat

Isn't this spectacular plant combination a real masterpiece with its staggering reddish rosettes of Paddle Plants (Kalanchoe Luciae) providing a strong architectural and exotic presence in this border?

A Casual Border with Poppies, Tickseed and Mullein

This prairie-style planting combines easy-to-grow annuals and perennials in an exuberant mix of forms and colors. All plants are deer resistant, drought tolerant and low maintenance. Most make lovely fresh bouquets to be enjoyed at home.

A Casual and Impressionistic Planting Combination

A scenery that reminds of Monet's Poppy Field in Argenteuil, where colorful blobs of paint start from a sprinkling of poppies. This casual and impressionistic planting combination is fairly easy to re-create and requires little maintenance.

A Captivating Perennial Planting with Rudbeckia, Salvia, Verbena and Antirrhinum

A long-lasting summer border with just a few ingredients for a captivating result.

A Beautiful Duo with Agave 'Blue Flame' and 'Blue Glow'

Simple but stunning, this Mediterranean duo includes two spectacular Agave hybrids. Imagine how gorgeous this duo becomes when backlit by the sun in early morning or late afternoon! 

A Spectacular Spring Border Idea with Tulip 'Heart's Delight' & Crocus 'Remembrance'

A fabulous flower carpet in early spring! Prior to the blooming of the majority of the perennials, the crocuses will be happily and busily cheering up the garden

A Glowing Winter Border with Dogwood, Heath and Grasses

This incredibly pretty planting includes plants of great winter interest that will lift your spirits during the dull days of winter.

A Traffic-Stopping Spring Border Idea with Bold Tulips and Muscari

Get creative and cheer up your mid-late spring garden! Cobalt blue muscari and glowing golden yellow tulips adorned with fiery scarlet edges, make a bold impression together. Fairly easy to replicate, even for the beginner gardener!

An Eye-Catching Winter Border Idea with Colorful Twigs and Cyclamens

Low maintenance and fairly easy to replicate, this planting includes top performing plants which have been awarded prestigious awards. Enjoy a glorious and colorful spectacle from winter to even spring!

A Sparkling Spring Border Idea with Heaths and Wood Anemones

Get your winter landscape to burst into vivid life!

A Pretty Spring Border Idea with Rhododendrons and Tulips

Rhododendrons and tulips can create a brilliant show of flowers early in the season, before the roses and annual plants eclipse all the beauties of the garden.

A Pretty Spring Border Idea with Tulips and Bleeding Hearts

The charming blooms of bleeding hearts (Dicentra) are an elegant addition to the late spring and early summer garden. Featured in this plant combination is 'Gold Heart', a stunning selection with rosy-pink blossoms and brilliant golden-yellow lacy leaves. The luminous foliage creates a perfect foil for late-flowering, rich purple tulips.

An Easy Summer Planting Idea with Sage and Ornamental Grasses

This desirable and long-lasting summer border is fairly easy to replicate in order to be enjoyed at home.

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