Best Shrubs and Bushes for Desert Landscape

Whenever you are designing your home’s landscape, you should always keep your climate in mind. The plants that naturally thrive in your local climate are going to consistently look great while being easy to care for. But what if you live in a “tricky” climate—like the desert?

It’s true that the desert isn’t exactly a hospitable environment for more traditional shrubs and bushes. Most of the lush plants that people love don’t exactly thrive in low water and high temperatures. That said, there are several great shrub and bush options for those who live in a desert area and want to have a thoughtfully landscaped yard.

Here are some of our favorite shrubs and bushes for desert landscapes.

Myrtle — This dense shrub is easy to trim and shape, making it an excellent hedge option. It also features small white flowers in spring and summer, and dark berries in the fall. Its low water usage makes it an optimal choice for desert dwellers.

Lantana — Bright colors, easy growth, and low maintenance—what more could you ask for? Lantana are prevalent in desert landscapes for good reasons. They are very easy to care for, and their bright blooms add beautiful pops of color, even in the hottest summer months. Lantanas are available in a couple different varieties which will grow to different heights, so be sure to ask your local nursery which variety will best suit your needs.

Texas sage — Texas sage is a shrub that will survive even the most extreme desert temperatures, including frosty winter nights. That said, they do their best in the summer, and the monsoons will encourage them to bloom. They’re so hardy, in fact, that you shouldn’t have to water them at all, except in times of extreme drought. Plant this shrub in an area with full sun and good drainage, and watch it thrive!

Arizona rosewood — Want to fill a lot of space? The Arizona rosewood can help with that. These shrubs can grow as tall as 25 feet, and as wide as 15 feet, making them a great way to cover a lot of ground (literally). They also grow fairly quickly, and do best in either full or half sun.

Desert cassia — With beautiful yellow blooms in the spring and a lovely fragrance all year long, this is a great addition to any desert landscape. This low-maintenance option also does well around concrete, making it a great filler to use around hardscaped areas. 

Brittlebush — Another bush with bright yellow blooms, this is about as low maintenance as it gets. Once established, this desert-native plant requires little-to-no watering and can tolerate full sun and high temperatures. 

Deer grass — With a unique appearance and a spectacular bloom, this is an excellent (and popular) option for ground cover in desert landscapes. Several of these bushes planted together create a uniquely desert-looking landscape. The best part? The flower spikes that bloom in the summer. 

Related: Tips for Creating an Outdoor Space Where you Can Host Events.

Using these shrubs and bushes, you can create a beautiful desert landscape that will survive (and thrive) in even the most hostile conditions. Mix and match these options to create a landscape that reflects not only the beauty of the desert, but your own personal style as well. 

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