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6 Best Places to See California Super Blooms


Invasive species can outcompete native plants that pollinators and other wildlife rely on. The triggering rain must be followed by regular rains totaling at least an inch per month through March, a season total of at least five inches, seven or eight are better. In short, a really good wildflower bloom requires both an unusually early and an unusually wet winter rainy season. Spectacular, widespread shows occur about once in 10 years in the Sonoran and Mohave Deserts.

Essential Tips for Visiting and Photographing the Super Bloom

Death Valley is famous for its spectacular, spring wildflower displays, but those are the exception, not the rule. Only under perfect conditions does the desert fill with a sea of gold, purple, pink or white flowers.

The leaves sprout from a middle base from which they cascade outward and downward. The Mexican thread grass is a popular choice amongst landscapers not only for its drought-tolerance, but for its tendency to be naturally pest free. It can be used as a border or as ground cover, and although it does reseed it isn’t aggressive and will not invade the garden. The whitestem paperflower is named for its delicate flower petals which dry into paper once the flower dies.

Superbloom description

The Palo Verde is the “nurse” plant of the Saguaro cactus, as the two species are often found inhabiting the same areas. In the wild desert, the tree plays a key role in the procreation of new plant life as it provides necessary shade and protection for young Saguaro cacti and other vulnerable desert plants to grow.

Where is the best place to see the super bloom?

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve is a state-protected reserve of California, USA, harboring the most consistent blooms of California poppies, the state flower. The reserve is located in the rural west side of Antelope Valley in northern Los Angeles County, 15 miles (24 km) west of Lancaster.

There are some seed companies that are also mindful about creating region-specific packets, says DeLong-Amaya, but sometimes the best thing to do is to make your own blend. The diversity of species is reflected in the rainbow of colors. In the Northeast, wine-red and creamy white Trillium species are cropping up, and the white petals of Dutchman’s breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) are on display. And in California, where competing grasses have succumbed to prolonged drought, recent rains have nourished species of poppy and desert flowers. From Alaska to California, from France's Basque Country to Mexico's Pacific Coast, Teo Spengler has dug the soil, planted seeds and helped trees, flowers and veggies thrive.

In a garden setting, the majestic Palo Verde makes for a striking focal point and is a popular choice amongst xeriscape landscapers. Beyond cacti, succulents, and wildflowers, the rest of the desert landscape is inhabited by trees, shrubs, and grasses. Like cacti and succulents, this subgroup of desert plants does not require much care and tends to be slow-growing.

Superbloom description

4. Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve

When abundant winter rain does fall, the seed’s resinous coating is removed, preparing the seed for germination. If there is not enough rain, blooms will be small or nonexistant. This is a biological adaptation on the part of the wildflowers. Given the harsh nature of the desert, wildflowers appear only when conditions are favorable to their survival. Following rainy winters, Joshua Tree wildflowers flourish for a few weeks in the spring, surviving just long enough to produce seeds for the next generation.

What causes Superbloom?

According to National Geographic, a super bloom "is a colloquial term used to define an explosion of wildflowers that exceeds typical spring blooms." This phenomena likely occurred because of SoCal's unusually rainy fall and winter, followed by cold temperatures, which "locked more moisture into the ground."

Superbloom description

Although typically spineless, beavertail cacti have small barbed bristles, called glochids, that can easily penetrate the skin. Native tribes used the fleshy pulp of the cacti to heal wounds.

Superbloom description

Popular desert plants include the Palo Verde tree, the Queen Victoria agave, the golden poppy, and the Mexican thread grass. To help you identify the many desert plants there are, we created a compendium below of 127 of the most stunning desert plants and succulents.

Superbloom description

Northern California’s spring blooms begin to show up in Mono County as early as late May, hitting their peak in late June through July. Just a 90-minute drive from Los Angeles, this 1,800-acre California poppy reserve offers a vibrant springtime escape from the city. Spring brings a variety of wildflowers to California’s largest state park. Even if conditions haven’t resulted in a super bloom, you’re still likely to see scattered wildflowers in both parks around the same time frame. “The most impressive are the blooms at low elevation, because of the contrast between rocks and the flowers,” says Abby Wine, a spokesperson at the park.

Superbloom description

Because there is so much chlorophyll in the trunk, much of the tree’s photosynthesis occurs there. There are two common types of Palo Verde trees, the Blue Palo Verde, which has a blue-green trunk, and the Foothills Palo Verde, which has a yellow-green trunk. Desert wildflowers provide a refreshing pop of color in the dry desert landscape. The marble-like striations on the petals of this agave make it a favorite amongst modern landscapers. Scientifically known as Agave victoria-reginae, this agave is native to the Chihuahuan desert of Mexico.

Superbloom description

Where can I see poppy fields?

As that turns out, it's not entirely true! You can pick, bend, eat or smoke a Poppy as long it is not on state property. However, if a Poppy or any other flower is on School, Park, a median or even outside a courthouse, DO NOT pick or hurt the flower.

While winter still reigns in much of the country, bright-hued flowers paint the sand in California’s deserts. Walk the 1.5-mile Borrego Palm Canyon Trail from Borrego Palm Canyon Campground to see yellow brittlebush, purple desert lavender, and flaming-red ocotillo.

Superbloom description
  • Here’s how to plan your prime flower-viewing this spring, listed in order of appearance.
  • Just a 90-minute drive from Los Angeles, this 1,800-acre California poppy reserve offers a vibrant springtime escape from the city.
  • Desert plants have found a place in modern home and garden design.
  • Once pollinated, it closes up and the seeds begin to develop into fruit, which sit on top of the cactus until pulled out.
  • Indeed, some buds popped up as early as February in Texas, says DeLong-Amaya.

How often does a super bloom happen?

Usually, super blooms are much rarer. In California, super blooms usually happen about once every 10 years in one area. They have been happening even less often because of years-long drought conditions. A woman sits in a super bloom of poppies in Lake Elsinore, California, U.S., February 27, 2019.

Superbloom description

It is extremely drought-tolerant and thrives in hardiness zone 7. Shaped like a large rosette, it has a very distinguishing look that’s similar to an artichoke. The spherical arrangement of the leaves allow it to funnel water down towards its root base.

In March 2019, an explosion of wildflowers blanketed greening deserts in southern California. Thanks to a rainy winter in Southern California, a vast bloom of wildflowers has overtaken a patch of desert. The usually dry, tan region became coated with apricot-colored poppies, blonde dandelions, and purple sand verbenas, attracting swarms of visitors.

From the popular ghost plant, to the architectural marvel of the crassula plant, there are so many varieties to choose from. To help you narrow down the many succulents choices that are out there, we’ve picked the top 10 most popular for your home and garden. Did you know that all cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti? Desert succulents, including cacti, are the modern gardener’s best friends. Due to their ease of care, and wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, the options for designing your home and garden with these trendy plants are endless.

However, use sound judgment when considering purchasing premixed seed packets labeled “wildflowers,” commonly found in big-box home improvement stores. There are many wildflower refuges and reserves that are protected by state or federal governments and that are open to the public, says Woodbury. Remnant prairies, woodlands, and wetlands are also good places to spot local wildflower species. A community of wildflower enthusiasts has even created a map of wildflowers of North America on iNaturalist.

“By far most the most numerous during a super bloom is the desert gold, which looks like a gold daisy, so there will be big fields of yellow.” Other flowers include the fragile white “gravel ghost” and purple phacelia.

Oriental Poppy

This canyon has very little shade, no restroom facilities, and no water fountains. Bright red chuparosa bushes spot the landscape and there are splashes of yellow brittlebush mixed in among the rocks and shrubs. The best displays usually appear in late March and early April.

Where can I find wildflowers?

Dense carpets of orange poppies have bloomed along the hillsides and ridges at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve in Lancaster. The golden poppies are at peak, mostly on the east side of the reserve, and likely will last through the end of April and possibly into May, state park officials said Tuesday.

Where To See Wildflowers In The California Desert

California also saw early blooming, according to data collected by the app iNaturalist. The tree aloe is native to Africa, where it is the continent’s largest species of aloe. Its dark green leaves form dense rosettes, with tips that curve and are lined with sharp teeth.

Other land use changes also threaten to degrade desert habitats. Far from being barren wastelands, deserts are biologically rich habitats with a vast array of animals and plants that have adapted to the harsh conditions there. Some deserts are among the planet's last remaining areas of total wilderness. Yet more than one billion people, one-sixth of the Earth's population, actually live in desert regions. This perennial bears long thread-like leaves that feather at the ends.

Poppy Mallow

Though common throughout the Mojave Desert, its range extends from Southern California to Canada. To help detect perfect weather conditions, Joshua Tree wildflowers have evolved some remarkable adaptations. Some species produce seeds covered in a resinous coating that can only be removed by ample rain. This coating acts as a natural auto-timer, triggering germination only when sufficient water is available. It also protects against temporary events such as scattered showers during a dry spell, which would otherwise trick the seed into germinating.

Visitors also have a few things to learn from the past super bloom. Two years ago, foot traffic in places like the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve was so heavy that trails had to be closed down to protect delicate flowers from selfie-taking tourists. The 2018/2019 winter season was an unusually wet one for California. Between October 1 and the beginning of February, Downtown Los Angeles saw 12.91 inches of rain, which is approximately 167 percent more than the seasonal average.

Superbloom description

Much-needed rain started in December and continued into February, each downpour sparking a new generation of seeds to germinate. Cool temperatures at critical times during fall and winter sealed the deal for a banner season. Rising abruptly from the desert floor, the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument reaches an elevation of 10,834 feet.

It is native to the western region of the United States, from the coast of Oregon down to Baja California. Due to its popularity and how easy it is to grow, the California poppy can be found in most states in gardens, roadsides, and even empty lots. The petals of this dicot open during the day and close at night.

Superbloom description

According to theAnza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association, the 2019 spring wildflower bloom will have even more blooms and last longer than 2017’s epic display. Beneath Death Valley lies a massive seed bank of desert wildflowers and when heavy winter rains soak deep into the soil, these hidden wonders spring to life.