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Local Native; Mojave Desert
Native to California's dry mountain slopes. Grows much like a yucca or an agave but without the razor sharp leaves. May develop more than one tuft. Produces a glorious flower spike up to 8' tall with clusters of creamy blooms emerging from showy, papery bracts. The plant does not die after blooming like agave. Drought tolerant but is appreciative of summer supplemental watering in the low desert because of monsoonal rains in it's native habitat.
Growing Plants in the Desert — Important Information
The information presented here is, to the best of my knowledge, accurate and based on my research from reliable sources, observations I have made of plants growing in my, and other gardens I have visited, and observations of the plants in their native habitats. I would appreciate your feedback and experience to help me educate others!
Cacti: In my experience, cacti are much happier in the filtered shade here in the low desert of the Coachella Valley. Colors are more vibrant and they bloom more profusely, especially the non-native varieties. If you pay attention to how our native barrel and beavertail opuntia grow in the wild, it is frequently tucked in the rocks under creosote or another shrub.
Light Requirements: I have found that in our desert (Sonoran/Colorado) “full sun” plants can take and appreciate the late afternoon filtered sun, especially in the hot summer months.