Apache Plume is Just Drought Tolerant Native Shrub to Replace My Roses

I’ve been looking at native shrubs to replace some of the roses and other not so

Apache Plume could be covered with feathery, pink seed heads resembling a Native America headdress. This picture was taken in late May. This plant will continue to have a few white flowers opening all summer and fading to feathering pink seed heads.

By summer Apache Plume could be covered with feathery, pink seed heads resembling a Native America headdress. This picture was taken in late May. This plant will continue to have a few white flowers opening all summer and fading to feathering pink seed heads.

drought tolerant plants in a portion of my garden that is exposed to drying winds and intense afternoon sun and heat.  Even in the cold winter when evaporation is less I still had a hard time keeping the soil moist around roses I had planted on that side of my house. It didn’t help that we had no snow and almost no winter rain this year. The wind still blew but the storms were dry. One plant I’ve already started planting on that west face of my house is Apache Plume (Fallugia paradoxa).

Apache Plume is found naturally growing in piñon/juniper woodlands from Texas to California.  In Texas, southern New Mexico, Southern Arizona, and California, Apache Plume is evergreen.  Everywhere else in its native range, which can go as far north as Nevada, Utah, and Colorado, it is deciduous. In the higher elevations of the Mojave Desert where there are Joshua Trees, you will also find Apache Plume.

In the wild Apache Plume grows naturally in gravelly and well-drained soils but under cultivation, it will grow in most any soil.  My soil is sandy and droughty so it should be happy on the west side of my house. With a little supplemental water, it should be full and beautiful as long as I don’t overwater it.

Apache Plume reaches a height of 4 to 6 feet and spreads as wide as it is high.

Apache Plume Hedge

Pictured here is a hedge of Apache Plume. Notice how, even though most of the plant is covered with feathery pink seed heads, there are still a few white flower.

White, 1″ diameter flowers with five petals resembling single roses start to appear in spring. New flowers appear continually throughout the entire growing season and as they fade they are replace with pink feathery seed heads; hence the name Apache Plume.  By late summer this shrub, covered with fluffy pink seed heads looks like a cloud of pink.

I’m hoping to create clouds of pink intersperse with other plants that I have not yet selected. I don’t want a monoculture of any plant. Even Apache Plume.

Small Apache Plume Plant  Inside its Cage

Here is a better picture showing the plant inside the cage.

Cage to Protect My Apache Plume from Deer

Here is one of the Apache Plumes that I planted on the west face of my house. I put a cage around it while it is still small and tender to protect it from the occasional deer that wander into my garden. Once the plant is large enough a little graze by herbivores will not hurt it.

4 thoughts on “Apache Plume is Just Drought Tolerant Native Shrub to Replace My Roses

  1. I love your blog and its great to see others in this area making good use of this soil and climate.
    We moved here three years ago from the Dakota’s and our new neighbors told us this soil was nothing but sand and wouldn’t grow anything, and proceeded with a pessimistic list of things that absolutely wouldn’t grow.
    I proceeded to double dig 10, 40 ft long rows and plant everything on that list with no soil amendments , everything grew and produced but very poorly.
    I have NDSU ag experience and happen to know that sand is the absolute best start for a growing medium. I have since expanded to 20 rows and tilled in half a bale of afalfa per row at the beginning and end of each season as well as a50 lb bag of iron plus, chicken manure and sulpomag.
    The plants and weeds are happy and the soil is just like back in the Dakota’s .
    I have a question on irrigation though.
    we live up on red rock in the north valley and my well is 300 ft deep with a 6 inch casing. The pump is set at 200 ft and im using drip irrigation.
    I noticed you mention that you were on well water and had two acres of garden. Ive also noticed my neighbors have large groves of trees on irrigation. The question is how big is your well and how well does it
    Stand up to your water demands.
    I would like to expand to two acres as well but im not sure if i want to tax my well that much or look into trying to get a permit for a second one.
    Also i would like to thank you for your info pictures and blog as I’ve used a few of your ideas.

    • Mathew you mention your are in the north valley. Where “north valley”? Are you talking Albuquerque? I’m in Nevada but grew and went to school in New Mexico. I can’t answer for your particular situation regarding the capacity of the well. I’m in Nevada and we have a relatively shallow well at 75 ft. I has been adequate for my situation but that is because it is getting recharge from the local surface irrigation. This year could be a challenge in my area since the farmers here are only going to receive 20% of their normal allocation of surface water for irrigating fields. Some wells in my area have gone dry but they are on the fringes of the project so would likely run out of water first. In the 30 years I’ve lived here we have not run out of water in our well. If your well is in a ground water source that is not being recharged as fast or faster than water is being withdrawn then you will run out of water. So you need to how many others are withdrawing water from the same source and how fast your source is being recharged. The best person to answer that is your state water engineer.

      • Thanks for the reply. We are in the north valleys of Reno on red rock, up past lemmon valley and Stead. I love it here in Nevada.
        I think this spring rain we got a lot more water than the weather man on kolo 8 was letting on. I hope that youll get all the water you need and the drought ends.

        • Matthew, then that means you aren’t far from me since I live in Churchill County. Water is going to be scarce this year for us. The rains did help so that we will get at least two cuttings of hay. Sand is much nicer to work but unfortunately the dry winters are not kind to hay growing in sand unless it is over a high water table. For gardening I much prefer sand to clay like my parents had in the valley around Albuquerque (adobe). My agricultural education is from New Mexico State University. Agriculture in New Mexico is very similar to agriculture in Nevada. Flood irrigation along the rivers and center pivots where ground water is being used. Only a little dry land farming on the far eastern side of New Mexico. No dry land farming in Nevada.

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