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Low Water Shrubs for the Desert

Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, Arizona and Southern California

Low Water Shrubs for the Desert

Botanical Name Index
 C-D     E-H     M-R     S-Z   

Aloysia gratissima: Whitebrush
A shrub with tiny white flowers clustered on spikes and a strong vanilla smell.

Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii: Wright's Desert Honeysuckle / Flame Honeysuckle
Reddish-orange, tubular flowers.

Anisacanthus thurberi: Thurber's Desert Honeysuckle
This shrub sports dark orange to red, tubular flowers.

Barkleyanthus salicifolius: Willow Ragwort
Yellow rays with pale orange centers.

Bauhinia lunarioides: Texasplume / Orchid Tree
Fragrant, white to pinkish flowers.

Buddleja marrubiifolia: Woolly Butterfly Bush
A shrub with ball-shaped clusters of orange flowers.


Caesalpinia gilliesii: Bird-of-Paradise Shrub / Yellow Bird of Paradise
Yellow flowers with red stamens 3" long.

Caesalpinia mexicana: Mexican Holdback / Mexican Bird of Paradise
Flowers with yellow petals and yellow stamens adorn this shrub.

Caesalpinia pulcherrima: Pride-of-Barbados / Red Bird of Paradise
Flowers with yellow, orange and red petals.

Calliandra californica: Tabardillo / Baja Fairy Duster
Flowers of this shrub have bright red, clustered stamens resembling miniature dusters.

Calliandra eriophylla: Fairyduster
Pink, powder-puff flowers.

Callistemon citrinus: Crimson Bottlebrush / Lemon Bottlebrush
Large, red, bottlebrush flowers give this shrub its name.

Carissa macrocarpa: Natal Plum
A shrub or small tree. White, fragrant flowers and tasty red fruit.

Ceanothus greggii: Desert Ceanothus / Wild Lilac
Bright pink, red or magenta flowers before leaf-out.

Chrysactinia mexicana: Damianita
Fragrant, yellow, 1" daisies cover entire plant.

Cordia parvifolia: Small-leaf Geigertree / Little Leaf Cordia
White flowers, 1-1.5" wide in clusters.

Dalea frutescens: Black Prairie Clover / Black Dalea
Rose-purple flowers in short spikes adorn this shrub.

Dalea pulchra: Santa Catalina Prairie Clover / Indigo Bush
Clustered purple flowers.

Dodonaea viscosa: Florida Hopbush
Papery, winged seed capsules.


Encelia farinosa: Encelia farinosa: Brittlebush
A desert shrub with yellow flowers having orange to brown centers and sliver, blue-green leaves.

Eremophila glabra: Common Emu Bush
Red tubular flowers.

Eremophila hygrophana: Blue Emu Bush
Blue tubular flowers on this shrub bloom most of the year.

Eremophila maculata var maculata: Red Eremophila / Valentine Bush
Tubular flowers in red or other colors.

Ericameria laricifolia: Turpentine Bush
Yellow flowers cover entire plant.

Erythrina flabelliformis: Coralbean
Red, tubular flowers, 3" long, in clusters, lend a spectacular appearance to this succulent shrub.

Fallugia paradoxa: Apache Plume
White flowers, 1-2" wide with yellow centers. Feathery, pink, seed head plumes.

Fouquieria splendens: Ocotillo
Very spiny green canes. Orange to red flowers 1" long in clusters at top of canes.

Hesperaloe parviflora: Redflower False Yucca / Red Yucca
A succulent, with reddish tubular flowers and yellow throats hang from narrow spikes on stalks.

Hyptis emoryi: Desert Lavender
Fragrant (lavender scent) leaves. Small, clustered, purple flowers.

Justicia spicigera: Mohintli / Mexican Honeysuckle
Clusters of orange, tubular flowers.

Lantana camara: Lantana
This shrub has small flowers clustered into hemispheres of various colors depending upon the variety.

Rhamnus ilicifolia: Hollyleaf Redberry
Rhamnus ilicifolia:
Hollyleaf Redberry
Lantana montevidensis: Trailing Shrubverbena / Trailing Lantana
Small flowers, usually purple or gold, in rounded clusters.

Larrea tridentata: Creosote Bush
Small yellow flowers. Shiny green, resinous leaves.

Leucophyllum frutescens: Texas Barometer Bush / Texas Sage
Purple, pink or white flowers. Green to silver leaves.

Lysiloma watsonii: Littleleaf False Tamarind / Desert Fern
White puffball flowers. Fern-like leaves.


Mimosa dysocarpa: Velvetpod Mimosa
Fragrant bottlebrush flowers, bright pink aging to white.

Myrtus communis: Common Myrtle
Fragrant white to cream flowers. Exotic leaf pattern.

Nerium oleander: Oleander
Flowers bloom spring through fall with many colors available.

Olneya tesota: Desert Ironwood
Sweet pea-like purple and white flowers.

Pedilanthus macrocarpus: Slipper Plant / Lady's Slipper
Red bracts in slipper-like shape contain flowers.

Poliomintha maderensis: Lavender Spice / Mexican Oregano
Purple to white tubular flowers in clusters, fragrant.

Pomegranate: Punica granatum
An ornamental, drought resistant fruit tree.

Rhamnus ilicifolia: Hollyleaf Redberry
Dark green holly-like leaves with soft spines and red stems. Red berries in summer.

Rhus trilobata: Skunkbush Sumac
Edible, reddish berries.

Ruellia peninsularis: Desert Ruellia
Blue or purple trumpet-shaped flowers.


Salvia chamaedryoides: Germander Sage / Mexican Blue Sage
Vivid dark blue flowers. Leaves are fragrant.

Salvia clevelandii: Fragrant Sage / Blue Sage
Gray-green leaves are fragrant. Blue trumpet-shaped flowers.

Salvia greggii: Autumn Sage
Red flowers, 1" long.

Senna artemisioides: Silver Senna / Feathery Cassia
Clustered yellow flowers in winter and spring.

Senna wislizeni: Wislizenus' Senna / Shrubby Senna
Clustered yellow flowers 1" wide.

Simmondsia chinensis: Jojoba
Dull green leaves, densely spaced, make this an ideal xeric garden specimen.

Sophora secundiflora: Mescal Bean / Texas Mountain Laurel
Fragrant violet-blue flowers in drooping clusters. Seedpods persist for months.

Tagetes lemmonii: Lemmon's Marigold
Aromatic leaves. Yellow flowers with orange centers.

Tecoma capensis: Cape Honeysuckle
Orange trumpet flowers.

Tecoma stans angustata: Yellow Bells
Yellow bell-like flowers 2" long.

Teucrium fruticans: Shrubby Germander / Tree Germander
Blue flowers, silver-blue leaves.

Vauquelinia californica: Arizona Rosewood
Clusters of small white flowers.

Yucca baccata: Banana Yucca
Flower stalk to 6' high. Yellow-white flowers, from red buds, to 5" long.

Zinnia grandiflora: Rocky Mountain Zinnia
Yellow flowers with orange eye.

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