Plants for the Southwest

Plants for the Southwest.  These desert shrubs will do well in the lower elevations of the southwest. Most require little to moderate watering. You’ll be surprised what will grow in the Southwestern deserts. Most of these photos were taken in and around the Las Cruces, New Mexico area.
Red Bird of ParadiseRed Bird of Paradise (above)
Scientific Name: Caesalpinia pulcherrima Full Sun – USDA Zone: 8b-10 Beautiful bright red/orange blooms. Fast-growing plant 6 to 8 feet tall and wide. Sold as annual in the lower elevations of the southwest.  Learn more about this beautiful plant here.  Red Bird of Paradise Plant. 


Plants for the Southwest


Variegated Euonymouys (above)
Scientific Name: Celastraceae
Full Sun or Partial – Zone: Varies by species. This plant has white, yellow, and green leaves. It may also produce shoots with dark green, normal leaves. Ideal for that open spot. Moderate watering. Can grow up to 10ft tall.

Green Cloud Sage
Texas Sage Scientific Name: Leucophyllum frutescens (above)
Needs Full Sun – USDA Hardiness Zone 7a or 7b; Sunset Climate Zones 7-24
Also called Texas ranger, Texas sage, green cloud sage, and purple sage. Is Drought tolerant with profuse purple-like blooms during mid-summer. Especially after monsoon rainfall.  More on Texas Sage Bushes.

Plants for the SouthwestRed Tip Yucca Scientific Name: Hesperaloe parvifolia (above)
Sun: Full – USDA zones: 8-10  Red Tip Yucca
It has a thick-shaped recurved gray-green foliage. Beautiful low-water accent shrub. The bloom tips are light red or pink in color. There is also the brake light red tip Yucca the blooms are a deeper red.  Ask for it at your local nursery. Caring for Yucca’s – Click here

The yucca gloriosa plant. Drought Tolerant Plant


Variegated Spanish Dagger Scientific Name: Yucca gloriosa ‘Variegata’ Sun: Full Sun – Sunset: 7-9, 12-32 USDA: 9-1. This southwestern shrub or Yucca loves full sun. A good Xeriscaping shrub for rock gardens or stand-a-alone plants, it does well in containers, moderate to little watering once established.  Beautiful ivory colored blooms during spring or fall seasons.

Plants for the Southwest
A row of nice Red Tip Photinia

Scientific Name: Photinia fraseri Full Sun-partial shade – USDA zones 7a: to -17.7The Spirea Little Princess Spirea japonica is a dense, upright, compact, mounded deciduous shrub that will grow to a height of two to four feet with an equal spread.  Easily grown in average, medium wet soil. Loves Southwestern Gardens.

damanitiaDamanitia Scientific Name: Damanitia
Full Sun – USDA Zones 8-10.  Damanitia – beautiful yellow blooms in early summer. Great for landscaping the front entrance. Easy care low water requirements.  One of the first plants to bloom in early spring. They will bloom in early spring and again in fall.

Plants for the southwest

Viburnum – Tinus Scientific Name: Caprifoliaceae Full Sun or partial shade.  Dark evergreen with fragrant white flowers and good hedge plants can be trained as small trees. A fast-growing shrub blooms in the fall into the spring.

Plants of the Southwest
Apache Plume in the Southwest

Apache Plume  Scientific Name: Fallugia paradoxa
Full Sun – USDA Zones 6-10.  A Southwestern high desert native shrub does great in southern New Mexico. Open upright plants produce a dense, shrubby character with fine leaves on twiggy branches for an overall gray-green appearance. Drought tolerant and cold hardy.  Blooms in early spring into summer with showy white flowers that reflect a spectacular color under the moonlight.

Plants for the southwest


Yellow Bells Scientific Name: Bignoniaceae (above)
Also called the Esperanza plant. Does better in full sun. Dark green leaves are beautiful yellow Blooms in spring into mid-summer. Fast-growing in the desert southwest. Can grow up to 10ft. tall and 5 ft. wide.  More information on Yellow Bells Plant here.

Plants for the Southwest

The Russian Sage Bush.  Easy care maintenance and drought tolerance once it gets established.  More information on How to grow Russian Sage is Here. 

Plants for the Southwest

The Santolina Plant – Drought tolerant, minimal maintenance plant.  A nice-looking yellow button-like flower.  Read more here. 

The Creosote Bush (Larrea tridentata). Is native to the American Southwest and northern Mexico.  It produces a small yellow flower during the spring season.  Drought-tolerant bush and requires no fertilizer.  It thrives in sandy soil with only rainwater.   It can be easily trimmed to suit your needs.  Read more about this plant on Wikipedia. 

Desert plants southwest
Rabbitbrush or Chamisa (Spanish) blooming in late summer in the high desert of northern New Mexico

This desert brush plant will produce yellow flowers in late summer.  It is very drought tolerant and can be planted in the full hot sun.  The hardest thing with this desert plant is finding one at local nurseries.

Southwest front yard landscape
The image above shows some great plants for the Southwest.  Red Salvia, Wichita Blue Juniper, behind the fence the yellow flowering Palo Verde below are the Parry’s Agave, Queen Victoria Agave, and the yellow Lantana. 

More Desert Type Plants at List of Xeriscaping Plants.

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