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Desert Plant Spotlight: Fairy Dusters

As low-water landscape plants for the Arizona desert go, fairy dusters are well worth considering. They fascinate out-of-towners nearly as much as cacti and succulents do. Named for the delicate, poofy flowers, this low maintenance shrub comes in two popular varieties.

Baja Fairy Duster or Red Fairy Duster

This medium-sized shrub has tiny, bright green leaves on twiggy branches. It also produces small seed pods and low litter. The branches grow thick enough to form a screen, and growth tends to look a bit wild at first until all the branches catch up. Flowers are bright crimson red, which brings excellent contrast to predominantly green cactus and succulent gardens. Hummingbirds love the red flowers.

Pink Fairy Duster

Compared to the Baja fairy duster, the pink fairy duster is slightly smaller. It has darker, more gray-green leaves and seed pods. The flowers, of course, are pink with white centers. If you like a more muted or monochrome design, pink fairy dusters fit right in. It’s even more drought-resistant than the Baja fairy duster. Bees seem to like the pink fairy duster as much as hummingbirds do.

Where to Plant Fairy Dusters

Plant in full, direct sunlight in well-drained soil. Fairy dusters can also be planted in part sun, but they will die down if temperatures dip below 20 F. Give them at least 5×5′ to grow to their mature size. They perform best in xeriscape gardens, but they also make a great addition to pollinator gardens as they attract hummingbirds.

Fairy Duster Maintenance

A truly low-water plant, fairy dusters only need regular watering until they’re established. Fairy dusters are evergreen and can flower year-round. Pruning fairy dusters is best left to professional landscapers because it’s easy to go overboard. Some artful pruning can cause the branches to grow in thicker, but it’s really best to let the plant grow naturally. If the leaves turn yellow, the soil is probably too wet.

For more xeriscape ideas, advice, and professional landscaping services, call Victor’s Landscaping today.

Questions? Call (602) 439-5192 to Talk to a Landscape Specialist

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