Landscape Wisely

Make Low-Water Use Plants a High Priority

The best plants for a water-wise landscape are trees, shrubs and groundcover that require little water once they’re established, or those like cactus and succulents that hold onto the water they get.  Arizona’s flora is as unique as the Sonoran Desert with hundreds of plants available that vary in color, texture, form, and function for your landscape. While native plants are always a great choice, there are also many that do well from other arid climates around the world. If you’re new to Arizona, you may not be familiar with many of our desert-adapted varieties. We offer these tips:

  1. Educate yourself about plants available and that will work best for your landscape. You’re doing that already… we’ve got all the links for you right on this page.
  2. Trust us! When you go to the nursery, many of these plants may not look very exciting. Many native or desert plants aren’t bred for looking their best in containers. If you’re unsure, ask your nursery staff for confirmation that the plant is healthy.
  3. Visit a Xeriscape demonstration garden to see how these plants look once planted in the ground or grown to maturity.
  4. Don’t miss specialty plant sales at local botanical gardens or arboreta for unique and unusual selections.


Resources / Links for Our Informative Plant Selection pages:

An excellent plant selection tool is AMWUA’s Landscape Plants for the Arizona Desert booklet featuring photos and information charts on over 200 low-water-use plants for Central Arizona. Contact your Water – Use It Wisely partner for a free booklet, pick one up at your local nursery, or visit Landscape Plants online. All plants highlighted are listed in and comply with the Arizona Department of Water Resources “Drought Tolerant/Low Water Use Plant List” for the Phoenix Active Management Area.

Also on their site, you can find a listing of Plants with a Purpose. This option filters out plant listings for ideas such as plants that are native, pool-friendly, great for containers, winter color, rabbit resistance, and more.

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