Desert Plants

Desert Plants Names and Pictures

Last updated on January 2nd, 2024 at 05:48 pm

Desert Plants Names and Pictures

Desert plants for the southwest. If you are looking for a maintenance-free low watering landscape, you want to buy these.  They all need full sun and can tolerate partial shade but they need at least 6 hours of full sun.

Do desert plants need a water drip system installed?

No, they don’t most landscapers and novice desert gardeners will install a water sprinkler system on these plants, and this is ok but a word of caution here.  If you do install a water system, be sure it’s only for the desert plants and other non-native plants. The water requirements are about 10 -15 minutes twice per month. It also depends on the types of desert plants you are using.

A few things to consider if you do decide to use a water system on desert plants.  The water timer should be set once per week for about 5-10 minutes throughout the hot summer months.  Less water during the spring and fall months.

Turn off the system once late fall and winter arrive and be sure not to attach the water system to other plants that need more water.  It is best to use two watering stations, one for regular water plants and one for the true desert plants.

Watering by hand

Only water once per week by hand at about 2-4 gallons each time.  Stop watering about the second or third month.

True cactus plants should only be watered at initial planting do not install a water sprinkler system on cactus plants period!  What are “True Cactus Plants”?  Purple cactus, Paddle Cactus, Bunny ear cactus, Cactus barrel, and Cholla plants.

They all tolerate sandy or poor soil.  However, it’s best to plant them in a good cactus mix or soil to help them get going.

Desert Plants Names with Picture of each plant

Desert Plants Names and Pictures

  1.  The Ocotillo Plant – Drought tolerant easy care. Produces a bright orange bloom in mid-spring. USDA Zones 8-11
  2.  Large Saguaro – Slow-growing cactus and does not like temperatures below 20°.  USDA Zones 8a to 11b.
  3.  Red Tip Yucca – Easy care low water plant for any type of Xeriscaping design. Zones 5 – 7.
  4.  Parry’s Agave Plant – Nice looking Agave USDA planting zone 5-11
  5.  Paddle Cactus – Also Called the Bunny Ears Cactus.  USDA zones 9-11
  6.  Golden Barrel Cactus – USDA zone 9-11.  Height is 3 ft. tall and wide. Yellow and or red flowers in early summer
  7.  Spanish Bayonet – USDA zones 7-11. Grows up to 6 ft. tall. It will produce a large plume.
  8.  Purple Cactus – USDA zone 8-11. Height 3-4 ft. tall and wide.  Will produce a red or yellow flower.
  9.  Purple Salvia – USDA zone 7-11.  Needs more water than other cactus and or agave plants.  Once a week will do.
  10.  Common Sotol – USDA 7-11. Grows up to 5 ft. tall with a plume up to 3 ft. taller.
  11.  Variegated Agave – USDA 8-11.  Height at maturity 5-6 ft.
  12.  Ball Cactus – USDA 8-11.  Height at maturity 3 ft. tall and 4 ft. wide.

Desert Landscaping Plants

Desert Plants Names and Pictures


Desert plants


  1. Thompson’s Yucca – Planting zone 8-11.  Up to 10ft. in height.
  2. Teddy Bear Cholla – Zones 8-11 will grow up to 6 ft. in height.
  3. Variegated Century Plant – Zones 7-11 maximum height is about 6 ft. tall.
  4. Red Echeveria – Zone 9-11 can grow up to  7 ft. in height.
  5. Mescal Agave – Zone 5 – 11.  Mature height at 6 ft. tall.
  6. Hedge Euphorbia – Zone 9- 11 grows up to 4 ft. tall.
  7. Pamilia Yucca Rigida – Zone 7 – 10 grows up to 7 ft. tall and 4 ft. wide.
  8. Cow Tongue Prickly Pear Cactus – Zone 8-11.  Height 6-7 tall and wide.
  9. Century Plant Agave Victoriae – Zone 9 – 11.  Mature height 3-4 ft. tall.  This variety is the shorter type.
  10. Arizona Hedgehog – Zone 9 – 11.  Height 3-4 ft. tall 2-3 wide.
  11. Claret Cup Cactus – Planting zone 5 – 10 mature height 1-2 ft. tall and wide, sometimes larger if placed in the right area.  Produces a bright orange almost red flower.

Where to place these types of plants?

Plant them in the full blazing hot sun.  Pick the hottest part of your landscape and they will thrive and are disease and insect resistant.  The biggest problem is the Javelina (wild peccary – looks like a pig) as they love to eat the root system or part of the plant itself.

Do insects and diseases attack desert plants?

Yes, they do.  Mainly mealybugs these insects will attack the cactus-type plants, especially the prickly pear varieties.  One organic way to make them fall off is to spray the plant with a strong stream of water a good nozzle will work.

Insecticidal soaps will also work but it will normally take several applications before it starts to work effectively. Here is a post on How to Use Insecticidal Soaps.

Learn more about removing mealybugs and other insects from your plants here.  Disease and Insects ln Plants.

Click on the image to learn more.

Mealybug Infestation on Cactus Paddle
Mealybug Infestation on Cactus Paddle.  Also called the Cactus Mealybug or Atrococcus mamillariae

The Variegated Spanish Dagger

Yuccas for landscaping
Variegated Spanish dagger leaves – Latin name – Yucca gloriosa Variegata

A Handsome Yucca for those looking to add a colorful almost no-watering plant to their desert landscape.

Desert Plants

Remember it is against the law to remove desert plants from public land.  This includes State and National parks.

Visit for some excellent information on desert plants.

Desert Plants Names and Pictures

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Mickie Reynolds
Mickie Reynolds
10 months ago

Love this place!

Paul Guzman
10 months ago

Thanks for the compliment.

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