Best Bulbs for the Southwest
Desert Southwest gardeners are often surprised to learn that they can have success with many kinds of bulbs. Bulbs blend wonderfully with succulents, many of them being quite drought-tolerant and able to coexist perfectly with desert plants.
Many South African bulbs that are winter-growing and spring-flowering do especially well in Zones 9 and 10. Some are available in retail outlets, but others are found only in bulb catalogs. These are bulbs that require no chill to bloom and return each year to multiply and re-bloom vigorously. Look for the following: freesia, albuca, chasmanthe, and moraea or butterfly lily. Also, some amaryllis, spider lilies, calla lily, iris, and others may be successful. Rain lilies are also an excellent choice.
Choose Tulips from Closer to Home
Unfortunately, most tulips and daffodils don't thrive in this hot and arid climate, but if you really long for traditional spring flowers, give some of the "wild" tulips like the "lady tulip" a try. Tazetta narcissus, which is the group that the popular Christmas "paperwhite narcissus" belongs to, may also meet with some success in the Southwest. They come from warmer and more arid climates where they grow in the wild and don't require as much cold winter weather as most tulips and daffodils.