Plants for the Arizona Desert

Plants with a Purpose

The basics are key to selecting plants—mature size, water needs, sun exposure, cold tolerance. Plants can also help accomplish a particular task, which can be another important consideration.

Native Plants

Naturally, native plants are best adapted to the local environment. They need little, if any, supplemental water and require minimal maintenance. They provide important habitat for native pollinators and other wildlife and create a sense of place that is unique to Arizona.

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Pool Friendly

For your poolscape, choose plants that produce a minimum amount of litter and have no spines or thorns. Use low-growing plants to maximize sun exposure. Avoid turfgrass or other plants that require heavy irrigation, which can damage your pool decking or equipment.

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Attracts Wildlife

Bring your yard to life with songbirds, hummingbirds, butterflies, beneficial insects, and pollinators. These trees, shrubs, and flowers are especially good at providing food, cover, and nesting places that draw wildlife, while also offering color and fragrance.

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Rabbit Resistant

If you are in an area that has an abundance of these furry herbivores, your best bet is to protect all new plants with chicken wire for about 30 days, until they have aged past the tender freshness the rabbits prefer. But there are plants they seem to like a little less.

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Spring Color

Spring is typically our most colorful time in the landscape. Native wildflowers require minimal effort and result in Monet-like canvasses alive with pollinators. Get creative in your desert garden and try these plant combinations for a striking landscape display.

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Summer Color

Summer heat can be taxing, but escape is only as far away as a chaise lounge on a shady ramada surrounded by cool plants. Here are some colorful combinations to choose from that will keep your landscape feeling like a lush oasis in the desert.

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Fall Color

By fall, many plants need a rest. In most of the country, the leaves are turning and landscapes are going dormant. Here in Arizona, we plan our Thanksgiving festivities on the patio, where we can enjoy the fabulous weather and our fall blooming plants.

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Winter Color

There are numerous desert-adapted plants that provide a wealth of color for our desert gardens during the cooler part of the year. There are some great plant combinations to consider for a colorful display your winter guests will envy.

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Container Plants

Container plants add color and dimension to a yard, drama to a small patio, and life to an apartment balcony. They can extend a bit of natural habitat into the urban environment, drawing birds and butterflies while creating a relaxing private space.

See Plants that do well in Containers