Desert Garden Ideas

In arid areas where drought is abundant, there is still hope for gardeners. Plants designed for drought conditions, desert gardening, can still be pretty. For those making a desert landscape of plants, here are some starter choices for your drought-tolerant garden.

Washington Palm

Washington palm, or Washingtonia robusta, is from the Arecacea/Palmae, or Palm, family. It is a fast-growing evergreen that can be grown in a container. It gets to 100 feet tall with leaves in glossy green that may grow to 5 feet long and 4 feet wide. This palm can survive in sand and poor soils and in bright sun. Propagate via seeds.

Fountain Grass

Fountain grass, or Pennisetum setaceum, is from the Poaceae/Gramineae, or Grass, family. It is a perennial grass. These are fountains of airy plumes in copper and reddish hues. It needs no care and is able to tolerate high humidity and temperatures while living in drought conditions. It requires full sun and is very hardy. It is propagated via seed or clump division.


Absinthe, or Artemisia absinthium, is from the Asteraceae/Compositae, or Aster/Daisy, family. It is a perennial. It will get 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide with divided leaves and yellow flowers. It requires full sun or partial shade and can be propagated via semihardwood cuttings or by root division.

Tepary Bean

Tepary bean, or Phaseolus acutifolius, is from the Fabaceae/Leguminosae, or Bean, family. It is an annual vine with beans that look like lima beans and green hairy pods. It requires full sun and can be propagated via seed. These beans have a sweet and nutty flavor good for soup.

Yellow Elder

Yellow elder, or Tecoma stans, is from the Bignoniaceae, or Bignonia, family. It is a perennial fast-growing plant that attracts hummingbirds. It can be a small tree or a dense shrub with green leaves and showy clusters of flowers in yellow. It requires full sun and well-drained soil. Propagate via seeds or root cuttings.

Keywords: desert gardening, arid areas, drought tolerant

About this Author

Tina Samuels has been a full-time freelance writer for more than 10 years, concentrating on health and gardening topics, and a writer for 20 years. She has written for "Arthritis Today," "Alabama Living," and "Mature Years," as well as online content. She has one book, “A Georgia Native Plant Guide,” offered through Mercer University; others are in development.