plantingIt’s not unusual to lose plants each year. Plants may be living out a natural cycle (especially if they are annuals or perennials). Or there may have been some other stressful situation that caused the plant to decline. Dryness, heat, alkaline soils, and even winter frosts are just some of the conditions that plants have to endure in the Southwest.

When you replace these plants, consider a native plant. Desert plants have special characteristics that help them tolerate tough conditions. Light colored leaves help reflect sunlight to prevent heat buildup. Small or waxy leaves are more water efficient. And succulent stems store water for later use.

By selecting plants that are well adapted to our desert climate, you’ll have less maintenance, save time and money, and be able to enjoy a more attractive landscape. Use these tips for successful plant selection:

  • Location, location, location. Check the mature plant size to ensure you are selecting the right plant for the right place. Consider other site conditions. For example, if you have an area with reflected sun, be sure to select a plant that can tolerate extra-hot conditions.
  • Group plants with similar water needs to create a landscape that is easier to maintain and is more water efficient. This way, plants will also have less problems with being over- or under-watered.
  • Decide what function you want from your plants. You may want a plant for screening, for shade, for color, or to attract wildlife.

For ideas on plants for your landscape, check out our Low Water-Use Plant Lists.

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