Shade Trees & Other Plants


Shade Trees and Other Plants

Planting in the Desert

Phoenix's wettest month averages just over one inch of rain and temperatures reach or exceed 100°F for about 90 days of the year. Many homeowners buy plants that are not well-adapted to Phoenix conditions and waste money when plants die.

Despite these growing conditions, landscaping in Phoenix does not have to be a challenge if you know what to plant. When you visit your local nursery or garden center, ask first to see a selection of hardy native-Arizona plants or low-water-use plant varieties. These plants thrive in the Valley's extreme climate conditions with little water and limited maintenance. You'll leave the nursery knowing that you're saving water, money and time!

Visiting a Valley Nursery or Garden Center

  • Arrive with a sketch or landscape plan of your yard.
  • Don't be turned off by native/low-water-use plants that are not as showy in nursery pots as high-water-use exotics. Ask to see plant tags or images of the native or low-water-use plants in full-leaf or -bloom. You'll likely find a wide range of desirable colors and textures to enhance your yard.
  • Ask for watering instructions. Plants that are newly installed or transplanted require more water than when they mature. Ask how much to water at the start and when to cut back. Overwatering is the reason many plants do not survive.
  • Consider attractive Sonoran Desert natives.

Shade and other trees

Blue palo verde tree with brilliant yellow leaves.

Caption plum: Blue Palo Verde

  • Blue Palo Verde
    Parkinsonia florida
  • Feather Bush
    Lysiloma microphylla v. thornberi
  • Foothills Palo Verde
    Parkinsonia microphylla
  • Ironwood
    Olneya tesota
  • Velvet Mesquite
    Prosopis velutina
  • White Thorn Acacia
    Acacia constricta

Other plants

Prickly pear cactus leaves with lots of thorns.

Caption plum: Purple Prickly Pear

  • Brittlebush
    Encelia farinosa
  • Engelmann's Hedgehog
    Echinocereus engelmannii
  • Jojoba
    Simmondsia chinensis
  • Little-leaf Cordia
    Cordia parvifolia
  • Ocotillo
    Fouquieria splendens
  • Purple Prickly Pear
    Opuntia santa-rita


Where can I find out more?