Last weekend, I went on a quick trip to San Diego with my in-laws. My mother-in-law loves plants and is always looking for a new addition for her yard. While in San Diego, we spent an afternoon at Balboa Park, taking in the beauty and cooler weather. My mother-in-law was taking pictures of the plants, and was dreaming up landscaping ideas for her yard. This prompted me to remind her that we live in the DESERT, and conditions are just so different here. While those plants in San Diego were beautiful, planting them here would most likely be just a disappointment and waste of money. As such, I want to share some of my favorite desert landscaping plants that are just as beautiful, very affordable, and very easy to maintain.
When selecting desert landscaping plants, the Chilean Mesquite is a very popular choice for a tree. This tree is thornless, grows very quickly, uses little water, gets very wide and is extremely hearty. It thrives with full or reflected sun. The Chilean Mesquite can be very dense, and as such, native birds love living in them. This tree is also popular because it is non allergenic and needs little maintenance. It blooms during the Spring. At maturity it can measure 30’h X 30’w.
Yellow Bells and Orange Bells are excellent choices for desert shrubs. These shrubs require full sun, grow fast, and use a low to moderate amount of water. The Orange Bells bloom year round and the Yellow Bells bloom in the Spring and Fall. These shrubs are non allergenic and produce trumpetlike clusters. The Bells also attract birds and hummingbirds. Full grown, Orange Bells are about 8’h X 5’w and Yellow Bells are 6’h X 6’w.
Trailing Rosemary and Lantanas are great groundcover options for the desert. These desert landscaping plants are great for use around pools as they produce little litter, have no thorns, and grow in full sun light. Trailing Rosemary produces beautiful blue foliage. It requires little water, and has a moderate growth rate. It has no allergens, but yet is very fragrant. It blooms in the Winter to Spring, and at maturity measures 2’h X 4’w. Lantanas offer vibrant summer colors. They not only trail, but also mound. They use a moderate amount of water and grow quickly. They produce yellow, orange and gold foliage year-round and are known to attract butterflies. At maturity, they are about 2’h X 3’w.
Succulents are always a smart choice for the desert. The Desert Spoon is one of my favorites. It requires little water, has a moderate growth rate, and also has no allergens. It is unique in that it has grey-green saw tooth leaves and produces cream blooms on its tall stalks during late Spring to Summer. It is also very easy to maintain and works great near pools. They are about 4’h X 4’w.
It is so important to research your plants. Consult with your landscaper or local nursery to determine the best plants for your specific situation. Having the right plants will not only set your yard apart, but will also make it so much easier to care for.