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Explosion of Wildflowers Happening in Southern California’s Deserts


If you’re in or near Southern California, make a plan to get to the Anza-Borrego Desert this month as the most vibrant wildflower display in 20 years is expected to bloom. About two hours east of San Diego, the Anza Borrego Desert is expected to explode with desert lilies, yellow desert sunflowers, woolly Indian paintbrush, parish poppies, desert chicory, and brown-eyed evening primrose.


Southern California has received nearly 6 inches of rain this season, breaking plenty of weather records. The consistent rainfall has created ideal conditions for the bloom.


“The perfect ingredients for a banner bloom come when we get winter rains and early spring rains periodically so the soil never fully dries out,” said Clayton Tschudy, director of horticulture at theWater Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College. “And when the temperatures are around 50 and up without getting so hot that it kills off the young seedlings.”


The display will delight your olfactory system as well.“The classic field of color plant out there is the dune verbena,” said Tschudy. “It can cover whole fields with purple, and when you stand out there you can smell its sort of sweet delicate scent.”

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The Anza Borrego Desert State Park Visitor Center offers maps for self-guided tours and a wildflower hotline that provides daily updates, so add that to your speed dial. There are also three different canyon hikes where you’ll have excellent vantage points to see the much anticipated “Sunflower Fields,” which have yet to bloom.

Wildflower Hotline: 760-767-4684

Insider Tips: Use caution on dirt roads—many are still soft and sticky. If spring makes you sneezy, maybe bring a Benadryl.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Fodor’s Anza-Borrego Desert Review

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