Top 100 Desert Plants
Here is a list of our 100 of my favorite desert plants. This doesn’t mean there aren’t other desert plants you can enjoy and do well in desert, but these seem to be the most fun to grow in desert gardens.
To make the below easier to read, we have divided the plants into 4 categories. If we show you pictures of all 100 in one post, this page could get really slow! So we are showing you are favorite dozen from each category along with a list of all of them. But you can click through to the sections and see full lists and pictures of every desert plant, succulent, tree, flower, shrub and grass type.
Table Of Content
24 Most Popular Desert Wildflowers
You can see our 12 favorites with pictures and content just below. But if you go to the bottom, you can see the complete list. You can also go to our desert wildflowers page here.
Oleander (Nerium oleander)
Few things in the desert hold up to our insanely hot summers like the good old oleander. These guys grow quickly, withstand reflective heat, dry conditions, horrific soil and just about anything you can throw at it. They come in dwarf varieties in colors like pink, red and white. If you look around you might find double flower varieties as well, which looks almost like a carnation. Oleander seeds germinate very easily.
The Desert Willow also known as Chilopsis linearis is a highly tolerant, unique plant that blossoms its shade from purple, pink, white or yellow. They range from Nevada, southern California, through New Mexico and Arizona to northern Mexico and west Texas. Its main habitat ranges from the low desert to the grasslands. The desert willow has very rapid developing shrubs that can grow for about 30 feet long and about 20 feet in diameter.
The Hesperaloe plants have a very unique design and because of their unique design, the Hesperaloe plants are considered as one of the most used ornamental plants throughout America, Mexico and other parts of the world. They are usually used to enhance the beauty of the landscape. It would also make for an amazing gift. It can also be used to attract humming birds. The plant can be grown in pots and arranged on side of the swimming pool, arrange on the entrance and in other areas around the house in order to enhance the beauty of landscape.
Lantana is the term given to a genus of almost 150 flowering plants. These plants are native to the tropical regions of south America, central America and Africa. The plant is also found in Australia however it is not native to Australia. It was only introduced in the country in 1841 as an ornamental plant.
Hibiscus is a flowering plant genus which loves to grow in tropical and desert areas because it loves the warmth and sunlight. You’ll find the hibiscus growing in areas like this all around the world.
What is unique about this flowering plant is its aesthetic appeal. It is a large red flower which gets used often as an ornamental plant. In some cultures, they even brew tea from the red petals of the hibiscus plant. Hibiscus tea contains a high amount of Vitamin C.
To see the complete list and description of each wildflower, just click the button bellow the other 22 lists.
- Texas olive
- Mexican Bird of Paradise
- Potato Bush
- Mexican Heather
- California Poppy
- Lady Slipper
- Torch Glow
- Pink Fairy Duster
- Crape Myrtle
- Desert Ruellia
- Baja Ruellia
33 Most Popular Desert Trees
This lovely palm is sure to stand out in any desert landscape. It has a gorgeous silvery-blue color with a deep mahogany colored trunk. The palm is drought tolerant once established, fast-growing and can get quite large. It looks amazing at night when lit up from the ground. These palms are hard to find at nurseries and big box stores. Moon Valley Nursery tends to carry them. They are pricey there. There are also a few shops online that carry them as well, a quick search will pull them up.
Ficus are about 900 species of plants, shrubs and vines in the family of Moraceae. Many of these species are commonly known as figs. These plants are mostly found in the tropical areas of the world. Ficus are ever-green trees with waxy leaves. The leaves produce yellow or white latex when it’s broken down. Many species of Ficus has aerial roots and some of these trees are also found in the non-tropic region. The tree also produces a hollow fruit which is called ‘syconium’. The fruit encloses small male and female flowers inside it in a bunch.
For almost 30 years, the orange tree has been the most cultivated tree in the world. The tree is known to originate in Ancient China however with time its cultivation has spread to almost all corners of the world. In the present world nearly all countries in the world cultivate orange trees.
You think of Florida and the first thing or name that comes to your mind is Pindo Palm tree. There are the types of palm trees which can tolerate to live and grow well in extreme cold regions of the world, unlike the normal palm trees which die due to cold temperatures. They are also known as jelly palms and they grow very slowly in the cooler regions. On average, they grow mature to be 15 to 20 feet tall. Their trunk also grows about 1 to 1.5 feet in diameter.
The Queen Palm tree, scientifically known as Arecastrum romazoffianum and commonly regarded as Coco plumasa or Syagrus romanzoffianum. Queen Palm is native to Paraguay, Northern Argentina, and Brazil. It is widely known for its high tolerance to any weather condition and rapid growth in moist soil.
Queen Palm trees can grow one of its trunks to be as tall as 20 meters. They are usually chosen for areas with landscape and help add a tropical ambiance to a garden.
To see the complete list and description of each trees, just click the button bellow the other 33 lists.
- California Fan Palm
- Canary Island Date Palm
- Pygmy Date Palm
- Lemon Tree
- Lime Tree
- Ponytail Palm
- Grapefruit Tree
- Palo Brea
- Palo Verde
- Chilean Mesquite
- Texas Mountain Laurel
- Joshua Tree
- Date Palm
- Senegal Date Palm
- Mediterranean Fan Palm
- Natal Plum
- Dragon’s Blood Tree
- Sago Palm
- Red Gum Tree
- Arizona Ash
- Almond Tree
13 Most Popular Shrubs & Grass
The salvia flower plants exist in dry or moist areas where the temperature is normally hot. Some other names associated with this plant species include sage of the diviners and seer’s sage. The plant is native to a mountainous area of Oaxaca, Mexico called the Sierra Mazateca. You’ll find it in a cloud forest where the outdoor conditions are moist, humid, and dim.
The Ocotillo, known as Fouquieria splendens also has many other names such as candlewood, coachwhip, desert coral, Jacob cactus, Jacob staff, and vine cactus. It is made up of three species which are splendens engelms, breviflora Hendrickson and campanulata Henrickson. The ocotillo is a strangely shaped plant that is a native to the Southwestern part of the United States. The plant usually looks like a dead brownish bundle of a stick in the absence of rain but on a closer look, some of its parts are actually green. But as soon as the rain falls, its ovate leaves spring out intermittently along the long branches and can remain for many months.
Lady Banks Rose
To see the complete list and description of each shrubs and grass, just click the button bellow the other 13 lists.
- Baja Fairy Duster
- Red Bird of Paradise
- Fire Sticks
- Triangle Leaf Bursage
- Bookleaf Mallee
30 Most Popular Succulents
Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea)
A gentle giant that stands up to incredible climate conditions, poor soil and desert critters. The edible fruit matures in the summer and is enjoyed by birds and other desert dwellers. These cacti can grow as tall as 40 feet, so allow a lot of space if you’re planning on using them in a desert landscape. This is the “typical” cactus you see in western movies, but these grow primarily throughout Arizona, California and parts of Northern Mexico.
The Golden Barrel cactus, also known as golden ball cactus with a botanical name Echinocactus is a popular slow growing desert plant known for its remarkable golden spines. The golden barrel is native to both South and North America. The plant is usually very scarce and endangered but can live for up to 30 years in the wild. It is usually found growing in volcanic rocks on slopes that has an altitude of about 1400 meters.
The Dasylirion wheeleri, popularly known as the Desert Spoon, is a species of plants in the asparagus family. It is native to Northern Mexico, and parts of Arizona and Texas in the United States.
It is an evergreen shrub characterized by a single unbranched trunk and a slender, grey-green leaf blade with a toothed margin. It also has a characteristic flowering stem which rises above the foliage and is topped by a plume if small, straw colored flowers. It is typically grown as an ornamental plant, and may be used in the production of an alcoholic drink called Sotol.
The Aloe vera is one of the most popular plants in the world. It is an evergreen perennial from the Arabian Peninsula, which has been cultivated around the world for medicinal and ornamental purposes. The used for a wide range of beauty products including skin lotions and ointments as a result of its medically active photochemically.
The plant itself is stemless, with thick, fleshy green leaves which have serrated leaves and pendulous flowers.It’s succulence makes it possible for the Aloe Vera to grow in arid regions, which has contributed to its worldwide popularity.
Prickly Pear Cactus
The Prickly Pear Cactus is a member of the cactus family most notable for its pink or reddish fruit. This fruit is known as tuna, and it is commonly eaten in the Mediterranean region and Mexico.
The plant is native to the Americas, particularly in the central areas of Mexico as well as in the Carribean islands. The Prickly Pear Cactus has a characteristic segmented trunk with flat, rounded cladodes. The Prickly Pear Cactus is also used as dye, medicine and can be used to make a tasty candy.
To see the complete list and description of each succulents, just click the button bellow the other 30 lists.
- Red Barrel Cactus
- Mexican Fence Post Cactus
- Totem Pole Cactus
- Foxtail Agave (Agave attenuata)
- Century Plant (Agave americana)
- Soaptree Yucca
- Teddybear Cholla
- Ice Plant
- Golden Torch Cactus
- Strawberry Hedgehog Cactus
- Peruvian Apple Cactus
- Old Man Cactus
- Soft Tip Yucca
- Elephant Bush (Portulacarea afra)
- Chaste Tree (Vitex agnes castus)
- Trichocereus grandifloras
- Fishhook Barrel Cactus
- Eve’s Needle Cactus
- Candelabra Cactus
- Chainfruit Cholla
- Octopus Agave
- Desert Agave