Full Sun; Filtered Shade
Yellow tinged with red
Deerweed is a fairly common shrub that can be found blooming spring through summer. Its small yellow-to-red pea-shaped flowers appear in clusters spread out along its many branches. Flowers and leaves are both only about 1/4 to 3/8 inch long. The oblong leaves appear in leaflets of 3, also spread throughout along the stems. In the spring these plants have freshly-green colored leaves, yellow flowers and softer stems. The heat and dryness of summer cause the flowers to redden and the leaves to fall off; however the plant still has hardy growth because photosynthesis carries on in force in the stems.
Deerweed is a pioneer species in nature and helps to fertilize (adds nitrogen with the help of symbiotic bacteria) the soil naturally. That is, when a plant community is disturbed deerweed emerges and helps to reestablish that plant community. This can be very useful in restoration or to improve the health of your landscape. You can use it to help establish your plant community in your landscape if you start with a new house on a bare lot. Deerweed is found in dry areas of California, Arizona, and Mexico making it very drought tolerant.
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.