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Info Sheet PDF
Lemon Dalea or Yellow Dalea

Dalea capitata

Mature Height*: 

1 ft

Mature Width*: 

1-5 ft

USDA Hardiness Zone Range:

8 to 9

Hardy to: 


Water Requirements: 

Drought Tolerant

Shade Requirements:

Full Sun

Native to:

Coahuila, Mexico

Origin and Adaptability:

Hailing from the sun-drenched slopes of Mexico and the Southern United States, Dalea capitata, commonly known as Yellow Dalea, thrives in hot, dry climates. This resilient groundcover boasts remarkable adaptability, making it a perfect choice for Southwestern landscapes and xeriscaping projects. Its tolerance for full sun, well-drained soils, and heat makes it a versatile option for landscape architects seeking low-maintenance beauty.

Architectural Form and Foliage:

Yellow Dalea showcases a low-growing, mounding form with a spread that can reach up to 3 feet. Its delicate, bi-pinnate leaves are a light green hue, adding a touch of textural contrast against the surrounding landscape. This semi-evergreen groundcover maintains its attractive foliage throughout most of the year, even in colder climates.

Floral Display and Growth Speed:

During the warm months, Yellow Dalea comes alive with a profusion of vibrant yellow flowers. These clustered blooms, resembling miniature beehives, erupt from the tips of the branches, creating a cheerful carpet of sunshine. The flowering season typically peaks in spring and fall, offering extended periods of visual delight. With a moderate growth rate, this plant quickly covers the ground without becoming overly aggressive.

Light and Water Requirements:

Basking in the ample sunlight of its native regions, Yellow Dalea thrives in full sun exposure. While it can tolerate some shade, optimal growth and flowering occur with at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. As a true desert dweller, this species requires minimal watering once established. Consistent watering during the initial planting phase encourages strong root development and faster growth, but after that, letting the hot sun naturally dry the soil between waterings is key to its success.

Wildlife Support and Biodiversity:

The fragrant yellow flowers of Yellow Dalea attract a diverse array of pollinators, including butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. This vibrant ecosystem creates a buzzing, life-filled atmosphere, contributing to the overall biodiversity of the landscape. Its dense foliage also provides nesting and cover for small birds and reptiles.

Edible and Cultural Significance:

While the leaves and flowers of Yellow Dalea are not typically consumed by humans, some indigenous cultures have traditionally used various parts of the plant for medicinal purposes. Its resilience and beauty have earned it respect and admiration throughout its native range, weaving the plant into the cultural fabric of the region.

Challenges and Considerations:

Yellow Dalea needs well-drained soil to thrive and may struggle in heavy clay or poorly draining conditions. Overwatering can lead to root rot, so consistent monitoring, especially during the establishment phase, is crucial. Regular light pruning can help maintain a desired shape and encourage denser flowering.

Integration into Landscape Designs:

The adaptable nature and captivating charm of Yellow Dalea make it a versatile choice for landscape architects. Its dense form makes it ideal for slopes, erosion control, and background plantings. The vibrant yellow flowers stand out against its green foliage, creating stunning accents in mixed borders and rock gardens. Individual shrubs can also act as focal points in xeriscape designs, bringing a touch of elegance and desert spirit to any outdoor space.

Designing with Dalea capitata:

For landscape architects seeking drought-tolerant plants that offer year-round visual interest, ecological benefits, and a touch of cultural history, Yellow Dalea is a captivating choice. Whether used as a solo act or woven into diverse palettes, this resilient groundcover brings its cheerful blooms, textured foliage, and low-maintenance appeal to a variety of desert-inspired landscape designs.

*Height and width estimated for growth in the Tucson, AZ area. True sizes may vary.

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