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"Creating a Sustainable Oasis: Top 5 Desert-Friendly Plants for Arizona Landscapes"

Desert Plants
Desert Plants

Why Use Desert Plants In Your Arizona Landscape?

There are many good reasons to use native desert plants and desert-adapted plants in your landscape. Desert plants use less water than other plants. They are often low maintenance and don't require a lot of trimming and fertilizing. They can handle our summer heat better than plants from other regions. Using desert plants helps your landscape to complement our natural desert environment and support desert wildlife. And they are sustainable and hardy.


Good Desert Plant Options

  1. Gold Lantana (Lantana camara) For splashes of vibrant color gold lantanas are hard to beat. These water-wise groundcover plants produce an abundance of gold flower clusters throughout the warm season. They make excellent drought-tolerant borders or spill beautifully over mounds. Prune them back annually for best form.

  2. Desert Spoon (Dasylirion wheeleri) With its compact rosette of slender bluish leaves fanning out from a thick trunk, desert spoon is an architecturally striking accent plant. Incredibly low-maintenance, it asks only for well-draining soil and full sun. Left alone, mature plants produce tall flowering stalks after heavy rains.

  3. Mexican Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia mexicana) For a brilliant showstopper, turn to the Mexican bird of paradise. This small semi-deciduous desert tree erupts with masses of yellow and red blossoms in spring and summer that resemble tropical birds. Plant it as a landscape specimen or patio tree and enjoy its showy flowers and filtered shade.

  4. Palo Verde Trees (Parkinsonia species) The palo verde trees are quintessential desert trees, well-adapted to the intense Arizona heat and low rainfall. With their vibrant green trunks and branches, and cheerful yellow blossoms in spring, palo verdes provide welcome shade and beauty. The Desert Museum and foothills palo verde varieties are excellent choices for desert landscapes.

  5. Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora) A striking succulent with sword-like leaves and tall spikes of coral-red tubular flowers, red yucca is a low-maintenance perennial perfect for hot, dry landscapes. Once established, it is highly drought tolerant yet visually stunning when in bloom. Plant it in well-draining soil and give it full sun exposure.


With their heat-tolerant beauty, these desert-adapted plants make excellent choices for eye-catching, low-maintenance Arizona landscapes. You can find more desert plant options at the AMWUA Desert Plants website. Call us at (520) 546-2994 if you are looking to create a new desert landscape or are adding to your existing landscape and could use a little help.


Deborah Munoz-Chacon

Certified Arborist # WE-6083A

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