5 Non-Prickly Plants for the Desert Landscape

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The cactus is the symbol of every desert landscape, but a variety of drought-tolerant plants will round out your garden with more interest, color and texture.

5 Plant Groups to Grow in the Desert:

  1. Ornamental grasses. Many varieties perform well in the desert. Try blue grama, ‘Blonde Ambition,’ or bamboo muhly.
  2. Wildflowers. Many wildflowers are native to the desert. Plant seeds or buy perennial wildflowers for your garden to add a lot of color from spring to fall.
  3. Shrubs. Just because you live in the desert doesn’t mean you have to live without shrubs. Those adapted to desert conditions are extremely drought tolerant and only need water during the driest seasons. Try turpentine bush to attract pollinators and butterflies, or the reliable creosote bush.
  4. Palm trees. Many palms perform in the desert southwest, including sago palms, windmill palms and California fan palms. At their mature size, some palms also provide shade for other growing plants. Avoid planting near power lines, underground pipes and utilities, and your home’s foundation.
  5. Ground covers. Ground covers shade soil and cool it from searing daytime temperatures. They also hold in heat at night. Lantana, cotoneaster and moss verbena are all good choices.

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