Desert Loving Plants

Choosing desert loving plants, such as banana yucca, firecracker penstemon, and others will ensure their survival throughout an Arizona summer as temperatures hover in the triple-digits. The following are just four of many desert loving plants. Because they are drought tolerant, these plants make ideal choices for xeriscaping as well.

Banana Yucca


Native to the Southwest United States, the banana yucca (Yucca baccata) grows as a perennial in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 through 10. This desert loving plant has needle-sharp thorns that extend to three feet, with brilliant, large white flowers and edible fruit that attracts Arizona’s varied wildlife. These bloom in late spring to early summer. Landscape use: container gardening, hardscaping, and xeriscaping. Requires full sun.

Firecracker Penstemon


Firecracker penstemon (Penstemon eatonii) flourishes as a perennial in Zones 4 through 9. Tall stalks adorned with tubular flowers that are scarlet red bloom in late winter and continue through early summer. Plant in a xeriscape or rock garden – just ensure it gets partial to full sun. Little to no litter makes it ideal for landscaping around a pool. Attracts hummingbirds, bees, and other pollinators.

Yellow Bird of Paradise


Large clusters of yellow flowers with long red stamens adorn this upright shrub. The yellow bird of paradise (Caesalpinia gilliesii) thrives in Zones 8 through 10. Blooms in the spring and summer. It reaches a height of six to ten feet and a spread of four to six feet at maturity. Yellow bird of paradise makes an excellent plant for tropical or desert landscaping projects. It requires full sun.

Tufted Evening Primrose


Tufted evening primrose (Oenothera caespitosa) is a groundcover with gray-green fuzzy leaves and brilliant three- to four-inch white flowers that open in the evening and close the next day. The flowers fade to pink as they close. Tufted evening primrose grows in Zones 4 through 10, and requires little water, which makes it ideal for xeriscaping. It also attracts a wide range of wildlife. Requires partial to full sun.


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