Plants That Do Well In Arizona – From Small Succulents To Big Trees

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Due to the extreme heat of the desert, many will fear that it is hard to choose plants that do well in Arizona. However, that can’t be further from the truth. Not only are there desert plants that grow in Arizona, but they can also thrive and flourish more than in other climates.

Take a glance at, in this article, we will go into detail about plants that grow well in Arizona full sun. But first, let’s take a look at some of the notable criteria before choosing them.

What To Look At When Choosing A Plant For Arizona?

Plants are an essential part of any landscape design, especially if you have an outdoor yard. And we bet you do since you are asking this question. 

The first and foremost thing you need to keep in mind is that you have to choose something that can survive or even thrive in Arizona’s extreme heat and dryness. Unlike many other areas of the U.S., Arizona has a year-round dry and clear climate, sweltering summers, and cold winters. 

As a result, the best choices are desert plants that can withstand such extremes and develop under the burning sun. Luckily, multiple native plants love dryness and direct sunlight; those include fountain grass, autumn sage, palm trees, etc. Of course, you can have a wide range of options if you can keep them indoors or partly in shades.

Another essential factor is that you need to choose a plant that suits your preference, blends well in the design style and regional landscape, and is on good terms with the native wildlife

Last but not least, you have to decide whether you want to spend your money on annual or perennial plants. Annual species only live one season, while perennials will come back to flourish every year.

Plants That Do Well In Arizona

So, what plants grow well in Arizona summer? Based on the above criteria, we should choose something that has these advantages:

  • Drought-resistant and thrive with little to no water
  • Attracts native wildlife to flourish on its own
  • Complements the landscape and is in harmony with the ecosystem
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Here are some great choices that we have picked for you:

Succulents And Cacti

Parry’s Agave

What first springs up in your mind when thinking about what grows well in Arizona? Exactly, something like a wide variety of cacti or succulents that is drought-tolerant. Parry’s agave is a great native plant for your backyard and can live next to forever. It looks nice and even more charming when flowers. You can plant them individually or in a group.

what grows well in Arizona

The plant is a perennial, suitable for full sun. However, keep in mind that it can take 10 to 25 years to flower, so you should check that carefully before buying.

Saguaro Cactus

The Saguaro cactus is the iconic and most recognizable century plant in the desert. Being able to live for hundreds of years, it is a large desert plant, great for perennial lovers. They will shine in any Arizona yard.

Like Parry’s agave, it requires no water as a drought-tolerant plant, and can grow to 25-50 feet in height with beautiful branches.

Argentine Giant

Another America-native plant, Argentina Giant is most famous for its lovely, large white flowers that bloom at night to eight inches wide.  The flowers attract night pollinators, bats, and moths. You can expect this medium-sized succulent to be about 3 feet tall. 


Desert Willow

The desert willow is notorious for its showy, beautiful, and very decorative summer flower. Blooming time will last up to half of a year, from April to October. However, it can shed and look dreadful during winter. The tree is suitable for many different soil types, including dry soil and poor soil, and only requires little water during hot summer.

what plants grow well in Arizona summer

Despite the name and the similarity to a willow, it is, in fact, related to the trumpet vine. All in all, it is a great choice if you want to spruce up your yard with beauty and flashiness.

Velvet Mesquite

Here comes another excellent green leaves shade tree for the intense heat of the Arizona desert. The tree is exceptionally suitable for xeriscaping and can withstand plenty of sunlight. If you have a large yard, few can beat this candidate for a garden makeover. 

However, note that it can shed leaves and seed pods requiring tidying.  

Arizona Cypress

This one is unique since it is the only cypress native to the U.S. arid region. In a desert landscape, it is eye-catching and stands out. The tree is exceptionally low-maintenance, grows to 60 feet tall and 30 feet wide. As a bonus, it’s dotted with graceful cones that stay on for years.

Ornamental Grass

Pink Muhly

what plants grow well in Arizona summer

It is a great way to add a vibrant color to your landscape to make it more lively. The grass features alluring pink plumes combined with green stalks. It can thrive in direct sunlight, well-drained soil and only needs occasional watering – one to two times each week.

Deer Grass

This grass grows in bunches and can breathe a signature sense to your landscape with its attractive flower. Its water needs are the same as pink muhly and is a perennial.

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Arizona Poppy

plants that do well in Arizona

For open, spacious yards, the native Arizona poppy should fill the bill. In late summer, you’ll have a chance to contemplate its gorgeous yellow flowers. It prefers a bit of watering and loves drained soil.


If you want a winter annual, petunia will hit the spot. It requires a regular watering habit but is easy to grow. It attracts butterflies and is a great source of fragrant. 

The flower comes in a variety of colors including pink, blue, purple, white, and yellow. Winter months and early hot summers are their prime time for growth and blooming. Be careful not to leave it in the danger of frost, though.


Above are some of the best plants that do well in Arizona. Choosing an aesthetic, hardy plant for the hot and arid climate of the area is tricky but not impossible. We hope the article is helpful and you can find joy in the gardening of your own yard. Best of luck.

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