AMWUA Blog

Nov 04 2019Share

Plants for the Arizona Desert Reblooms Online

By Warren Tenney

We all want to have a stunning and sustainable desert landscape that transitions our yard into a private retreat, all while ensuring we are wise with our outdoor water use. However, knowing how to create a perfect landscape that is best suited to our arid climate can seem like a daunting task.

Dplants BookTo assist you with designing your ideal yard, a new, interactive resource is now available for homeowners, businesses and anyone looking for a little extra desert-adapted flower power. The new Plants for the Arizona Desert website, an extension of the popular booklet Landscape Plants for the Arizona Desert, has officially launched. The new site is mobile adapted, easy to navigate, modern, and visual appealing as it highlights over 200 desert friendly plants through high-quality photos that allow you to see each plant in multiple views, which will make planning your yard that much easier.

We know the desert offers a surprisingly diverse selection of low water use landscape plants and trees. They can be blended to create a distinctive palette of colors, forms, and textures that allows you to create plant combinations to suit any landscape scenario, but again it can be an intimidating task trying to figure out how to utilize these plants to their full potential. The new and improved searchable site will help take the guesswork out of finding the right plants and trees for your yard.

Here is what to expect from the new online version of Plants for the Arizona Desert:

  • Plant detail pages - whether you are looking for trees, shrubs, groundcovers, vines, cacti, succulents, grasses, perennials or annuals, these pages will give you the practical information you need at a glance, such as sun or shade requirements, hardiness, water use, growth rate, foliage detail, and show whether or not the plant attracts wildlife or creates litter.
  • Plant combinations - to highlight the endless options when selecting plant combinations for your yard that range in size, color, and texture, peruse the examples to get an idea of how to combine multiple plants to best suit your landscape.
  • Plants with a purpose – plants can help accomplish a particular task, including being pool friendly, attract wildlife, work best in containers or bring seasonal color.
  • Create your wishlist- this allows you to choose and save the trees and plants you are considering for your yard. Finding the plants you’re interested in at a nursery or demonstration garden is as easy as tapping your phone to see the wishlist you’ve created. Your wishlist can also be shared or printed for convenience.
  • Tools for a successful landscape – whether you are planning to update your landscape, are new to Arizona and trying to figure out how to water your plants, or looking to hire a landscape pro, there are plenty of resources to help.
  • Advanced Search – if you are looking for something specific, the advanced search allows you to filter to your exact needs whether it be size, sun exposure, or specific flower colors pulling up just the information you need and want to see for your perfect landscape.

Now is an ideal time to start planning for the planting season and looking at options for transforming your yard. The final product will be worth it. Afterall a desert-adapted landscape will save you time, water and money while playing a valuable role in building a sustainable future for all of us.


The development of the Plants for the Arizona Desert was a labor-intensive undertaking by AMWUA staff and the AMWUA Conservation & Efficiency Advisory Group, comprising of professional experts from the AMWUA municipalities specializing in water conservation, horticulture, botany, and the plant sciences. Local green industry professionals as well as university faculty and staffs provided assistance and guidance in the project. Both the website and popular booklet have been inspiring and educating residents on the beauty and benefits of desert-adapted plants for nearly two decades. The plants featured are from the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) Low Water Use/Drought Tolerant Plant List specifically for the Phoenix Active Management Area (AMA).


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For 50 years, Arizona Municipal Water Users Association has worked to protect our member cities’ ability to provide assured, safe and sustainable water supplies to their communities. For more water information visit www.amwua.org.

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