Garden Plants for the Low Desert

Not every landscape plant qualifies for the Recommended Plant list, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a place in your landscape. Some common low desert landscape plants have aesthetic value, but perhaps not so many benefits to native bees or pollinators – these plants are organized under this page.

The list of plants that grow in the Southwest and can serve as host or nectar plants can be overwhelming. Selecting plants for your garden is made even more difficult by the dizzying array of plants sold at box stores.

If you’re serious about supporting pollinators, you can whittle down the list by removing plants that have been hybridized for color, plants that take a lot of water to make it through the summer heat, and plants that have been treated with pesticides to increase their beauty and shelf life.

Regarding pesticides, ask a store attendant if they can definitively say that their plants are pesticide free. Unless, of course, the label on the plant explicitly states that no pesticides were used. Neonicotinoid pesticides are especially harmful, and can stay in the plant for a season or more. As an aside, this also means that you shouldn’t use pesticides in your pollinator garden either – here is a list of common pesticides.

New, Plant tags!

Plants featured in the list below have, or are slated to have, aluminum plant tags available. For more information, see our Garden Tags page.

Native, Nativar, Cultivar

“Most cultivars, including nativars, are propagated by cloning, so that each plant has the same genetic makeup as the parent plant, and so on. A cloned cultivar has a set genetic package. Sometimes these clones go on to participate in the natural reproductive cycle by cross-pollinating with other true natives, sometimes they do not.”

Note: I’m still creating a detailed web page for some of these tags- it will take some time before they’re all completed, but let me know if you’re interested in a plant that’s under construction and I’ll bump it up on the list.

MPPH – Maricopa Pollinator Pathway Host Starter Palette
MPPN – Maricopa Pollinator Pathway Nectar Starter Palette
* – Coming Soon