Plants in a Desert

Desert ecosystems are dry and hot with little precipitation, so the plant and wildlife that inhabit the desert regions adapt to survive. Starting and maintaining a garden in a desert environment isn't very difficult because there are many plants that thrive naturally in an arid climate. With a little creative gardening, you can grow practically anything in the desert. For a natural landscaped garden, you can choose a variety of flowers, herbs, shrubs and edibles that occur naturally in deserts.

Brittle Bush

The brittle bush is a deciduous bush, native to the Mojave and Sonoran deserts. It is a stout, and low-growing bush only reaching as high as 5 feet, producing several thin stems that originate from the thick woody stalk of the plant. The flowers are numerous and small and range in color from pale to bright canary yellow. It produces a sort of earthy scent that can be compared to the smell of rain in the desert. A member of the sunflower family, the small blooms resemble miniature sunflowers, and the resin within the stems was once used as a gum by Native Americans. It grows well in full sunlight and minimal water, much like its cousin, the sunflower.

Desert Ironwood

The desert ironwood is the tallest growing tree in the Sonoran desert, reaching up to 25 feet tall. Its foliage is a dull grayish-green, and it produces flowers that resemble sweet-pea blossoms that are equally as fragrant. It's a slow-growing tree, with a deep and thick root system that preserves moisture and nutrition for survival in the harsh desert atmosphere. It stands against droughts and direct sunlight.

Soaptree Yucca

The soaptree yucca plant is an interesting growth that thrives well in dry soil and direct sunlight of desert regions. It is identified by its palm-like leaves located at its base, and its single stalk-like stem that emerge from the center of it. The upper part of the stalk erupts into a blast of fuzzy, succulent-like white flowers. The soaptree yucca is ordinarily used as a decorative plant in desert landscapes because it requires very little care.

Keywords: desert plants, drought hardy plants, deserts

About this Author

Chelsea Hoffman is a professional freelance writer with works published both on the Web and in print. She currently resides in Las Vegas. The author of the new series of horror novellas, titled "Fear Chronicles," her work can also be found on environmental websites like, where she helps spread environmental awareness with her mighty pen.