Description

The Palo Verde Southwest Garden draws from one of the most widely recognized trees of the Southwest. Most people quickly recognize the Palo verde by its unique green bark and intense yellow flower display in early spring. A highly popular cultivar, Parkinson x 'Desert Museum', has become introduced to the Inland Empire with very good success. Another palo verde species, Parkinsonia praecox, has a sculptural branching habit is also featured in this palette.

Palo verde trees are among the best signature plants for landscapes for southwestern style gardens. They can be combined with many other plants from arid climates such as red flowering autumn sage and silvery cassia to achieve many wonderful plant combinations. These colorful and fine textured plants stand out in striking contrast with agaves, cacti and palms.

Plant List

Trees

Parkinsonia praecox

Common Name: Palo brea
Plant Type: Tree
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 20 ft. - 25 ft.   Width: 20 ft. - 25 ft.

Parkinsonia x ‘Desert Museum’

Common Name: Desert Museum palo verde
Plant Type: Tree, Native
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 20 ft. - 30 ft.   Width: 20 ft. - 25 ft.

Prosopis species + cvs

Common Name: Mesquite
Plant Type: Tree
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 25 ft. - 40 ft.   Width: 25 ft. - 40 ft.

Palms

Brahea armata

Common Name: Blue hesper palm
Plant Type: Palm
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 30 ft. - 40 ft.   Width: 15 ft. - 20 ft.

Washingtonia filifera

Common Name: California fan palm
Plant Type: Palm, Native
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 35 ft. - 50 ft.   Width: 10 ft. - 15 ft.

Shrubs

Baccharis sarothroides

Common Name: Broom baccharis
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 10 ft. - 12 ft.   Width: 10 ft. - 12 ft.

Calliandra eriophylla

Common Name: Pink fairy duster
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 1 ft. - 3 ft.   Width: 4 ft. - 6 ft.

Cordia boissieri

Common Name: Wild olive, Anacahuita
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 10 ft. - 12 ft.   Width: 10 ft. - 12 ft.

Cordia parvifolia

Common Name: Little-leaf cordia
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 8 ft. - 12 ft.   Width: 8 ft. - 12 ft.

Dalea frutescens + cv

Common Name: Black dalea
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 4 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.

Dalea greggii

Common Name: Trailing indigo bush
Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 12 in. - 18 in.   Width: 5 ft. - 10 ft.

Fallugia paradoxa

Common Name: Apache plume
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 4 ft. - 5 ft.   Width: 4 ft. - 5 ft.

Hyptis emoryi

Common Name: Desert lavender
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height:   Width:

Justicia californica

Common Name: Chuparosa
Plant Type: Shrub, Native
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 4 ft. - 6 ft.   Width: 6 ft. - 8 ft.

Leucophyllum frutescens + cvs

Common Name: Texas ranger
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 5 ft. - 8 ft.   Width: 5 ft. - 8 ft.

Salvia greggii + cvs

Common Name: Autumn sage
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 2 ft. - 4 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.

Senna phyllodinea

Common Name: Silvery cassia
Plant Type: Shrub
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 5 ft.   Width: 4 ft. - 6 ft.

Grasses and Perennials

Asclepias subulata

Common Name: Desert Milkweed
Plant Type: Perennial, Native
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 4 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.

Baileya multiradiata

Common Name: Desert Marigold
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 12 in. - 18 in.   Width: 24 in. - 30 in.

Penstemon eatonii

Common Name: Firecracker penstemon
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 2 ft. - 3 ft.   Width: 12 in. - 24 in.

Sphaeralcea ambigua

Common Name: Desert mallow
Plant Type: Perennial, Native
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 2 ft. - 3 ft.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Verbena rigida

Common Name: Sandpaper verbena
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 8 in. - 12 in.   Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.

Agaves, Cacti, Succulents and Yuccas

Agave parryi + var

Common Name: Artichoke agave
Plant Type: Agave
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 2 ft. - 3 ft.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Agave victoriae-reginae

Common Name: Queen Victoria agave
Plant Type: Agave
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 1 ft. - 2 ft.   Width: 1 ft. - 2 ft.

Cereus peruvianus

Common Name: Apple cactus
Plant Type: Cacti
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 10 ft. - 12 ft.   Width: 6 ft. - 12 ft.

Dasylirion wheeleri

Common Name: Desert spoon
Plant Type: Yucca
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 4 ft. - 7 ft.   Width: 4 ft. - 7 ft.

Echinocactus grusonii

Common Name: Golden barrel cactus
Plant Type: Cacti
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 12 in. - 24 in.   Width: 18 in. - 30 in.

Hesperaloe parviflora Brakelights®

Common Name: Brakelights® yucca
Plant Type: Perennial
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 2 ft. - 3 ft.   Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.

Opuntia ficus-indica

Common Name: Indian fig
Plant Type: Cacti
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 10 ft. - 18 ft.   Width: 10 ft. - 18 ft.

Opuntia violacea var. santa rita

Common Name: Purple prickly pear
Plant Type: Cacti
Water Needs: Low 1
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 4 ft.   Width: 4 ft. - 5 ft.

Pedilanthus macrocarpus

Common Name: Lady's slipper
Plant Type: Succulent
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 ft. - 4 ft.   Width: 3 ft. - 4 ft.

Horticultural Preferences

Plants listed on the Palo Verde Southwest Garden palette are well adapted to warm climate areas with sun, high summer temperatures, aridity and wind. Some species show sensitivity to winter frost. When grown in Inland Empire gardens and landscapes, most plant do very well with normal winter rains and low amounts of summer water. All of these plants prefer sandy or rocky soils with good drainage that makes them well suited for raised planters and on banks and slopes.

Aesthetic Character

Many of the trees, shrubs and perennials selected for this palette produce colorful springtime flowers and interesting leaf color and texture; several tree species have attractive bark. Additionally, this palette includes an abundant list of agaves, cacti, yuccas and succulents provide accent character and sculptural interest. These plants work well in combination with low walls, boulders and with soils covered with gravel and decomposed granite.

 

Moisture Needs

The chart shown below provides a baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed throughout the average year. The high and low range of this irrigation schedule indicates these plants can grow with varying amounts of water depending upon exposure conditions and maturity of plants. Rains during the winter months noted by an asterisk (*) can provide sufficient moisture to eliminate the need for winter irrigation. Foliage plants grown in containers benefit from regular watering during the summer to offset the limited soil volume.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 2

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
 
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"-14"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

 
0"-2"
0"-2"
0"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
1"-2"
0"-2"
0"-2"
  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, click here.