Full Sun; Filtered Shade
Native to primarily southern California into Baja California, Bladderpod grows in a variety of habitats from coastal bluffs to desert washes. It is an evergreen shrub that grows 2-4 feet tall. Its blue-green leaves give off a pungent odor when disturbed. Some say it smells like burnt popcorn, others say a combination of bell peppers and onions. The odor is thought to discourage insects from eating the leaves. Yellow flowers are produced in clusters year-round with a peak in winter and spring. The flowers are followed by inflated seed pods, giving the plant its common name. A perfect landscape plant that provides a year-round display with newly forming buds, flowers, and developing fruit at all stages. Often all on display at the same time.
Bladderpod is an excellent addition to your wildlife habitat. It provides a source of cover for small animals, and nectar for hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies while also being resistant to predation by deer and rabbits.
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.