Desert Plants for Landscaping

More and more homeowners in the arid regions of the United States, such as the southwest, are using desert plants in their landscape designs. These plants require very little water, helping to conserve this precious resource as well as saving homeowners money on their water bills. Desert plants are well adapted to the low-nutrient soils of the region and require very little maintenance. The wide variety of foliage color, flower color, size, shape and texture of desert plants allows homeowners the opportunity to create a beautiful and memorable residential landscape.

Desert Senna

Desert senna is a perennial shrub that grows quickly to reach 3 feet in height and width. In the spring, bright yellow flowers appear, providing an interesting contrast to the grayish green foliage. The plant does well in the soils of desert yards as long as drainage is adequate. Watering desert senna once per month during the hottest months can help perpetuate the blooms into the fall.

Red Bird of Paradise

The red bird of paradise brings an exotic, tropical look to a desert landscape with its striking orange-red flowers that appear in late spring. The flowers grow in bright clusters on the tips of the plant's branches. Blooming through the summer can be encouraged with periodic watering. Butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to this plant. The red bird of paradise is a rapid grower that reaches a height and width of 6 feet. The stems of the plant are prickly, and the seed pods are poisonous. The plant does well in full sun or partial shade. The red bird of paradise is native to the West Indies and Mexico.

Bush Dalea

The Bush Dalea provides winter color to a desert landscape. In late winter a beautiful display of violet flowers appears on the plant. These blooms last well into the spring. The plant has a rounded, airy appearance with fine silver-green foliage. The bush dalea is an evergreen shrub that grows moderately quickly to a height of 4 feet and a width of 5 feet. The plant does not produce much litter, so it is a good choice for an area around a swimming pool. The bush dalea is a native of Arizona and Mexico, so it thrives in the lower nutrient soil conditions of the region.

Turpentine Bush

The turpentine bush is a very low water-usage plant. It is a slow grower that matures to a height of 2 feet and a width of 3 feet, in a mounded shape. Native to the southwestern United States and Mexico, the plant will grow well even in relatively poor soil conditions. The turpentine bush has fragrant bright green foliage, with yellow clusters of flowers that appear in late summer and bloom into the fall. The seeds of the turpentine bush attract birds. A location in full sun is fine.

Keywords: desert landscaping, desert plants, southwestern landscaping

About this Author

Brian Hill's first writing credit was the cover story for a national magazine. He is the author of three popular books, "The Making of a Bestseller," "Inside Secrets to Venture Capital" and "Attracting Capital from Angels." Among his magazine article credits are the March 2005 and June 2008 issues of "The Writer." His interests include golf, football, movies and his two dogs.