desert friendly plants

How to Grow Desert-Friendly Plants

Gardening in the Las Vegas Valley poses the usual desert challenges: little water, salty soil, low organic matter and extreme temperatures, according to the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. But these issues dont have to discourage Las Vegas locals from keeping their desert landscapes vibrant and healthy.

For desert gardening newbies, GardenWeb suggests prioritizing plants native to the Sonoran, Mojave or Chihuahuan deserts, all of which are found in the Southwestern United States and Mexico. The Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) also provides a plant search site with a comprehensive list of plants that are reported to grow well in the Valley.

Here are some of the more familiar plants to consider adding to a your desert-gardening palette.


Organic Gardening says that bamboo can be easily grown in partial shade or full sun, as long as the area is located in damp soil. Bamboos are well adapted to desert heat and can grow in a variety of zones, according to the magazine.

The site says these plants can help establish a more serene and nature-friendly home. They also provide a fast-growing screen for your home that gives you privacy and blocks out car fumes and road noise.

Aloe Vera

Often utilized as a design element, this hardy succulent can grow well in indoor containers, as well as in sunny, well-drained gardens outside the home, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

More than just providing a striking accent in the garden, the aloe vera’s fleshy leaves produce a juice that is often used as home remedy for treating burns, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. This plant is also used as a softening ingredient in skin lotions.

Palm Trees

Palms are cold-hardy plants that grow well in either acid or alkaline soil, as long as they are properly watered, especially during their establishment period, according to Better Homes and Gardens. According to the magazine, palm trees require moist (but not wet) soil, so make sure you have a good drainage system. As it is important never to let a root ball dry out, forming a saucer or soil barrier to the edge of the root ball for holding water is ideal. The University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences suggests adding organic materials such as mulch to further facilitate root production.

Blackberry Plants

The National Gardening Association website says that a number of blackberry plants grow effectively in Las Vegas because they can survive the heat. A well-drained site in full sun and trellises constructed before planting are crucial in creating the blackberries’ healthy trailing stems. The soil should be kept moist throughout the growing season.

It is important to note that blackberries are generally subject to a number of diseases and pests. The site suggests purchasing virus-free plants and understanding comprehensive pest-control methods for growing plants in Las Vegas. According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, a plant infected with the Blackberry Calico virus will have yellow blotches on its leaves.

Desert Marigold

Described as a sun-loving plant by, the desert marigold is a yellow daisy-like flower that is extremely drought-tolerant. As it grows abundantly in the presence of some water, supplemental irrigation helps promote plant growth. Rain can also trigger additional rounds of flowering, according to the website.

The GardenWeb site says that this conspicuous species of wildflowers will reseed and provide seasonal color to the garden throughout the year, including the hottest Vegas summer days.

Meanwhile, and say that the desert marigold grows well in dry, well drained, sandy, gravel-filled and rocky soils. It is commonly seen around stony slopes, sandy plains and mesas, and it often makes dense yellow carpets on roadsides and home yards.

By knowing which flora will grow in Las Vegas, you’ll be on your way to a blossoming garden. 

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