If you yearn for a slice of paradise in your backyard oasis, certain desert plants will thrive and pop with color without soaking up gallons of water and your time as they grow. You can achieve a lush, colorful landscape in Las Vegas with the right plant in the right place with the right starter fertilizer and soil mix. When you fill your space with a variety of desert plants, you can create a stunning landscape that provides fragrant and visual delights. From spindly cacti and thick, boxy shrubs to delicate grasses, flowers and sturdy trees, the options for desert gardening are ample. Once established, desert plants can survive with little fuss or water worries. They have adapted to the arid environment to collect and preserve water from the valley’s minimal rainfall each season.
Bushes and Box Hedges
For leafy privacy fences or boundary walls, there are a few bright green bushes that grow quickly and provide bursts of color throughout the year. These provide height and depth in a garden and can cover bland concrete brick walls or frame a stunning view.
Dwarf Oleander – The oleander is a profuse bloomer that is typically used as a hedge. It can tolerate the lackluster Las Vegas soil with very little water. The sturdy shrub can grow upwards of 5 feet and can stand up to the valley’s strong winds.
Cup Leaf Texas sage – This compact bushy plant has cup leaf leaves and beautiful light purple flowers. It enjoys full sun and blooms off and on from early spring through fall.
Chaste Tree – A giant desert shrub choice, that can also be trained into a tree. The Chaste Tree can grow up to 15 feet with gorgeous deep blue blooms at the tips of its many branches.
Glossy Abelia – The added bonus of this towering hedge that grows to 6 x 5 feet are the tiny pinkish white fragrant flowers that begin to bloom in spring.
Pink Lady Hawthorn – The rounded canopy of this compact bush makes it ideal for adding shape and color to your garden. It blooms with fragrant pink flowers each spring and is often used in front yards.
Grasses for Growing in the Desert
Feathery grasses add a whimsical element to the aesthetic of your garden or large landscape. They do require more pruning to keep their shape than bushes but are generally low maintenance.
Red Fountain Grass – The pinkish-purple plumes of this showy grass grow tall and wide. They can soften a stark landscape and add colorful, willowy plumes.
Variegated Flax Lily – Pops of deep lavender blooms shoot from the bushy base of this thick grassy ornamental. Although it prefers morning sun, It can handle full sun with moderate water while providing color to your garden all year long.
Regal Mist – Fast and vigorous, this clumping grass can grow as tall as 3 feet and makes an excellent accent to lackluster gardens. It puts on it’s best show in the fall, when the entire plant is covered in pink plumes.
Lilly Turf – For summer color, this large ornamental grass provides beads of blue flowers on long stalks. It prefers a little shade in the afternoon to show off its best blooms.
Climbing Vines for Scent and Color
There are a number of fast growing vines that do well in the Las Vegas area and can set your home apart with billowing blooms in spring, summer and fall.
Star Jasmine – This hardy vine produces layers of fragrant white flowers each spring. It can handle moderate water and prefers morning sun. Treat it to Dr. Q’s Tree, Shrub and Vine Food 16-8-4 in the spring and fall.
Honeysuckle – The honeysuckle creates a cascade of white and yellow flowers as it climbs over trellises and fences. It can handle the full sun and deep, infrequent watering once it has been established.
Tangerine Beauty Crossvine -Thick, drooping bright orange blossoms characterize this fat-leafed vine. It can quickly grow to more than 30-feet in full to part sun with moderate water and fertilizer in spring.
For more information on incorporating desert plants into your garden or landscape this summer, be sure to check our Star Notes at StarNursery.com. And For all of your desert plant needs, visit a Star Nursery location to get your garden and landscape ready for the warmer temperatures that are just around the corner.
Members of the editorial and news staff of the Las Vegas Review-Journal were not involved in the creation of this content.