10 Best Plants and Trees for Your Desert Yard

Arizona is a tough nut when it comes to weather. If you live there or are thinking about moving there and need to landscape, you want to be sure to have the right look for your yard so it survives all year round and doesn't use up a ton of water. You should be aware that the US is divided into zones for planting, whether it's a veggie garden or plants or trees. Arizona, specifically Phoenix, is listed as a 9b, 10a zone for hardiness.

What does this mean?

It means you are dealing with warmer temperatures for your plants and gardens.

I've researched and found some great plants (not just cactus!) and trees to add to your Arizona yard that can survive all year round. Let's go!

Lantana Dallas Red or other versions of Lantana are so pretty and add a nice touch to any front or backyard. They are vibrant in color and the colors actually change a bit as the plant matures. Pretty neat!  They like full sun and deep watering weekly. It's a shrub that grows up to 4 feet tall and and 1 to 3 feet wide. 

The Croton plant is another one that is vibrant and beautiful in color. Seriously - check out those leaves! This is a shrub that is capable of growing five to six feet tall! They prefer weather that is above 60 degrees all year round, not hard to do in Phoenix.  They love direct sunlight and soil that drains well. This can also be a plant that is kept indoors but be aware, they don't like to be moved.

Palm trees. There are soo many palm trees in Arizona , especially Mesa to be exact, that I thought I was in California when I saw them all. They seem to do well in this state. You do need to water them 4-5x a week when the temperature is over 100 degrees. You could use a soaker or drip hose. The most common reason palm trees die is improper fertilization? Who knew!

Hostas. I've never seen or heard of this plant before but it looks like it would be nice to provide some ground cover if that's what you are wanting. They prefer shadier areas so in the corner of a house or under a tree would work best. They can tolerate periods of dryness as long as they are healthy.

Phlox! This one is pink-creeping and super bright and pretty.  This plant LOVES the sun and spreads to about 24 inches wide and grows about 6 inches tall. It spreads slowly, growing in mounds.

Butterfly Bush is another pretty addition to any yard. And yes, it'll attract the butterflies! And bees...but that's okay.  It's fairly fast growing but does not need to be pruned every year. However, pruning encourages new growth so some gardeners do trim it back quite a bit.

Peach trees apparently do well in Arizona which is interesting because I just noticed tons of orange trees when I lived there.  Peaches can be in season from May until September. Desert Gold peach trees bear a large amount of fruit.

Plum trees are also another winner if you are looking to plant a fruit tree in your yard. I just love the taste of plums when they are halfway ripe, still a little sour in your mouth and nice and firm. Late winter to early spring is the best time to plant plum trees.

One of my absolute favorite trees ever!! The Weeping Willow. I don't know why but I've always loved the way it looks. Someday I'll live by one or better yet, have one in my yard.

The Sissoo tree is a fun one to say and it grows fairly quickly and provides great shade. They get about 60 feet tall and can grow 2+ feet each year! They are considered a semi-evergreen. Their leaves have a similar movement in the wind as to a quaking aspen.

So! After looking at all these trees and plants, do you prefer to move to a home that is already landscaped and ready or would you rather have a blank slate to work with, so to speak ?

When you buy a home through Homie - now available in Arizona! - you can find homes with or without desert landscaping.

Here are some homes I'm loving, both the home and the yards.

As you can see with that last house and yard, it's a blank slate - you could do so many things with that space!



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