Best Plants To Grow In Arizona

Best Plants To Grow In Arizona

Choose plants that will thrive in the heat without requiring a lot of extra care if you have a sunny spot in your yard that would be perfect for a flower bed. The cultivation of annual blooms in a hill garden might be difficult.

While some plants wilt in the heat of the sun, others flourish in it. People utilise air conditioning to escape the oppressive summer heat whenever the temperature exceeds 95 degrees, but our plants are not as fortunate.

Compared to perennial plants with robust taproots and water-saving leaves, annuals are less tolerant of heat and sunlight. Annual flowers never get the chance to develop a strong root system because they spend so much of their energy producing so many blossoms.

These fourteen plants are our top recommendations for being able to survive both heat and moisture. Even while you’ll still need to water these favourites frequently, they won’t need as much extra care or succumb to the heat.


Trees, shrubs, and groundcovers make up the diverse group of arid-zone landscape plants known as acacias. Depending on the type, acacias can enhance your landscape with shade, screening, and stunning flower displays.

They may thrive in a range of soil types but need full light. Plant acacias need deep irrigation on a frequent yet irregular basis to develop a stronger root structure.

This is accomplished by washing around the margins of the canopy rather than at the base of the trunk. The phyllodes, modified leaf stems found in all Aussie acacias, provide the same function as the leaves.

Agave \sAgave

Amazing leaf succulents known as agaves have rosettes that vary in size, colour, and shape. There are about 200 different types in Central America, Mexico, and the southwest.

The environment’s fine-textured desert-adapted shrubs and trees stand in stark contrast to the huge rosettes. Due to their ability to withstand extremes of heat, frost, drought, and soil salinity, agaves are among the most valuable desert plants.

Agave, also referred to as century plants, can take five to fifty years to reach full bloom and have a stunning blooming stalk. After flowering, the plant gradually withers away. However, they do frequently produce seedlings, bulbils, or progeny (plantlets).

Because of their large size and spiky leaves, agave plants should not be planted close to terraces, windows, or walkways.

A dynamic landscape can be created by mixing agaves, especially medium to small ones, with groundcovers and meadows in pots. The optimum time to plant them is in the late winter or fall. Deep and infrequent watering is best for enhancing plant health.

Aloe Vera plant in a pot on the room’s windowsill. Text box available

Beautiful aloe plants from southern and eastern Africa give Arizona gardens some of the best colours during the cold season with their spectacular and enduring bloom display.

Aloes are found in a wide range of sizes and shapes, from modest groundcovers to species that resemble trees.

Tree shapes, particularly when coupled with groundcovers and meadows, work well as accent or mass plantings. Small clustered forms perform well in containers.

Their conical flowers, which are borne on long-blooming stems and range in colour from yellow to cherry to deep red-orange, draw hummingbirds. There are light to dark brown teeth lining the edges of the leaves with pointed tips.

After blooming, the rosettes continue to grow, and a number of aloe species produce spurs that spread across significant areas. Aloes can withstand a wide variety of temperatures, however at 24 degrees F, many varieties suffer some damage to their rosettes and flower stems.

Caesalpinia (Bird of Paradise) (Bird of Paradise)

Caesalpinia gives the scene a burst of colour. The fluffy leaf contrasts with the bright yellow, fiery red, and orange of their big multicoloured blossoms, which persist for a very long time and produce spectacular colour.

Bird of paradise shrubs and trees range significantly in size from large trees to small bushes.

They thrive in the hot desert and grow there with little watering. When plants are blossoming, give them a good watering every two weeks to prolong bloom and keep them healthy.

Although it may grow in a variety of soil types, bird of paradise prefers well-drained soils. Although iron chelate can be used to cure it, chlorosis can develop in heavy soils.

Deciduous trees can be severely pruned while dormant in the fall, and new shoots will grow back in the spring. This pruning will make the form more rounded and compact. The seeds should not be consumed.

Hummingbirds and butterflies are attracted to the flowers.

Calliandra (Fairy Duster) (Fairy Duster)

They have gorgeous hues that range from soft pink to rich scarlet. These small and medium shrubs produce flowers against a background of finely divided, lacy-looking leaves.

The plant caliandra is adaptable and can be used in a variety of landscape settings. Fairy dusters are a perfect option for animal gardens because they add a pop of colour and serve as a food source for hummingbirds.

Additionally, Calliandra thrives in more traditional landscapes where its nearly evergreen foliage and delicate blossoms give interest and colour.

Fairy dusters require relatively little maintenance to maintain their naturally rounded look and are drought tolerant, blossoming profusely in full sun. They can survive a variety of soil types and quickly recover from cold damage.

Dalea \sDalea

A diverse collection of plants known as daleas, they have a soft texture, a vivid winter and early spring colour, and can tolerate our scorching summer heat.

These plants include about 200 species of trees, shrubs, and other plantings, the majority of which are unique to the deserts of the Southwest.

Most of the Daleas that have lately been added are ground covers or shrubs, growing anywhere from 1 1/2 to 5 feet tall.

The pea-like blooms, which range in colour from violet to rose to yellow, draw pollinating flies and butterflies. Among the species that enjoy the seeds are quail, doves, and finches.


The mid- to dry regions of Australia are home to this class of perennial plants. Eremos, the exact term, means “desert” or “lonely region.” There are eremophilas, often known as emu bushes, in a variety of soil types that are very similar to those in the Southwest.

The majority of those can survive lengthy periods without water and are drought-resistant. Among the many colours of eremophila blooms are white, yellow, violet, mauve, pink, and red.

The throats of the tubular blooms are occasionally visible, yet they consistently draw hummingbirds and other nectar-eating insects.

Leucophyllum (Texas Sage) (Texas Sage)

One of Arizona’s most dependable and trouble-free low-water-use plants is the Texas sage. 15 years ago, there was just one kind of Texas sage (Leucophyllum frutescens) offered by neighbourhood nurseries.

In recent years, several new species and variants have been brought into cultivation. These low-maintenance evergreen trees are indigenous to Mexico and Texas and flourish in our desert environments. These shrubs require ample drainage and full light.

Now that this plant is available in a range of grown sizes, choosing the proper Texas sage eliminates the need for pruning. You can prune your tree gently if you wish to maintain its shape (do not shear).

There are so many different varieties of penstemon that it is difficult to choose just a handful. When these plants bloom, their trumpet-shaped buds can be any hue from orange to red, violet to white, or anything in between. Hummingbirds are drawn to flowers.

Penstemons have a variety of characteristics, including low-growing earth coverings with short spikes or tiny base rosettes that develop high, persistent flower spikes.

Penstemons need protection from the heat or reflected sun in the dry desert since they like full light. Most of them are unaffected by our yearly temperature fluctuations. They can resist drought and require excellent drainage.

In the winter, they don’t require much water. However, during the dry months, irrigation is necessary. Avoid overwatering during the summer.

They effortlessly replant themselves, giving your yard a spectrum of colour. Since penstemons dislike being crowded and require lots of space to flourish, space them 2 to 3 ft apart.

Salvia (Sage) (Sage)

With over 750 kinds, salvia comes in a wide variety of forms, blooms, and seasonal colours. Sages are renowned for their exquisite, fragrant, and persistent blossoms.

Above the rounded shrubs, the flowers emerge in long, closely packed clusters or widely divided on tall spears. The majority of salvias produce lovely blue, violet, or purple flowers, but some can produce stunning crimson, scarlet, orange, yellow, or even white flowers.

Many varieties are beautiful additions to Xeriscapes and are suitable for dry climates. Salvias are excellent in luring hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees to gardens with native wildlife.

Some of them have potent aromas that keep feeders like rabbits away. All of them are non-toxic, although the majority of them can be added to drinks, utilised medicinally, or used as herbs.

Annual groundcovers that thrive in heat and bloom from spring to summer, verbenas offer stunning colour. When used in big quantities, verbenas enhance the atmosphere with colour and charm.

In warm, bright, and well-drained soil, verbenas flourish. The growth of stunning flower displays is aided by weekly irrigation during their flowering season. The watering can be reduced once the blooms have stopped flowering.

A small nitrogen spray revives the plants during the summer, but more fertiliser is rarely required. If the dried flower stems and dead foliage are cut off in the early summer, the plants will appear cleaner.

You may need to replace verbenas every two to three years due to their brief lifespan. On the other hand, certain types have the ability to reseed and naturalise in the environment.

Yuccas are eye-catching perennial accent flowers that have beautiful white blossoms and a variety of textures. Ruellia and leucophyllum, two smooth plants, are blended with them to give interest and focal points.

Yuccas are cold-weather tolerant and require adequate irrigation as well as direct sunlight. Although they can survive with very little water, they do benefit from monthly summer baths. The optimum times to plant them are in the fall and winter.

Yuccas give the setting a southwestern feel, but their location needs to be carefully thought out. Because to their large size, prickly leaves, and proximity to patios, yuccas should not be planted close to them.

Yucca’s distinctive shape makes it an excellent choice for planting as a backdrop. Yuccas should have their old foliage removed as soon as possible since it protects the plants from heat, cold, and insects.

Prosopis (Mesquite) (Mesquite)

Prosopis, sometimes known as mesquite, is very adaptable and resilient to a variety of growth environments. They can adjust to both an abundance and a scarcity of water, and by controlling their development, they can resist droughts.

Some species have distorted personalities, which some attribute to dry weather while others blame on pruning techniques. Mesquites have long given desert people shade, food, and medicine.

Mesquites have robust, thick bark and dark green foliage with sculpted growth habits. They produce catkin flowers in the spring that range in colour from yellow to cream, followed by seeds of many different sizes and shapes.

Depending on the type, the top extends to the full width of 20 to 35 feet. Mesquites should be encouraged to establish wide roots in order to maintain stability. This is controlled by watering around the rim of the canopy rather than at the base of the trunk.

Oenothera (Evening Primrose) (Evening Primrose)

Oenothera is a widespread groundcover found in lowlands, grasslands, and deserts in North America.

With their enormous, exquisite four-petalled blossoms in pink, white, or yellow, they create carpets of brilliant hues in desert environments. Oenotheras tend to flower at night, however the bulk of them will remain open until midday.

These plants may thrive in a variety of landscape settings, including full sun and light shade. They look particularly attractive in clusters and as a groundcover or colour splash beneath arid trees like mesquites and palo verdes.

A lovely perennial bloom that fits very well with other annual wildflowers is evening wildflowers. All varieties of evening primrose produce pods that are a dependable source of food for desert finches. Animals that are active at night are drawn to the blossoms.

Last Word

Not all plants can grow in Arizona’s scorching summers because of the state’s well-known summer temperatures.

We’ve put up a list of some of the Arizonan plants that thrive in full sun. Any of them can be planted in your yard, where you can watch them develop into lovely trees.

By Michael Caine

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