In the hot desert climate, there are certain requirements a plant needs in order to thrive. We call these plants “bulletproof” due to their hardiness and ability to flourish in arid conditions, particularly during times of drought. Bulletproofing your landscaping has many benefits. Not only will you use much less water, as these plants have adapted to the local environment and are less thirsty, but you will spend less time maintaining them and still have a vibrant, beautiful garden. Often when people think of hardy, desert-friendly plants, they think of cacti or succulents. And those plants are great. However, there are many other bulletproof desert landscapes that are well-designed and use a large variety of other attractive plants. Here are examples of a few we like:
Calliandra californica – Red Fairy Duster
The Red Fairy Duster is an evergreen, woody shrub whose flowers appear in early summer and feature clusters of red stamens. While the Fairy Duster is cold tolerant to temperatures below freezing, it is most successful in full sun. This hardy plants only needs 10 inches of water a year and adds a vivid pop of color to your landscaping.
Aloe barbarensis – Medical Aloe
Aloe is a highly recognizable plant, both for its decorative and medicinal purposes. Aloe plants are well-suited for the desert, as they are intolerant of very heavy frost and snow and survive in areas of low natural rainfall. They are relatively resistant to most pests and do best in bright, sunny conditions. Their sturdiness and vibrant green color make them an attractive and durable addition to your xeriscaping.
Eremophila hygrophana – Blue Bells
This beautiful shrub blooms throughout the year and thrives in hot temperatures. As Blue Bells grow at a slow rate and top out at about 3 feet tall and wide, they tend to require little to no pruning. As an added bonus, they attract local hummingbirds to their purple-hued flowers.
Dasylirion wheeleri – Desert Spoon
Despite sounding like a utensil, the Desert Spoon is in fact an evergreen shrub that is highly valued in drought tolerant landscaping, as it is drought and frost tolerant and needs no care once established. These plants can grow to be quite large – up to six feet – so their landscaping should be planned accordingly.
Eremophila – Valentine Bush
Bulletproof plants can be colorful too! The Valentine plant, so named for its flowers that bloom around Valentine’s Day, has beautiful red blossoms that open to reveal hot-pink centers. This plant is extremely low-maintenance and thrives in the hot, arid weather typical of the Coachella Valley.
These are simply examples of five bulletproof plants that work great in drought landscaping. RGA’s experts can identify which ones work best for your property and which ones aren’t as hardy as others. Call us to assess your particular landscaping needs or to learn more about what bulletproof plants are best for your site.