Growing Perennials In The Desert: Types Of Perennials For The Southwest

Red-Yellow Perennial Flowers
SW perennials
(Image credit: cgshoots)

Perennials for the southwest have certain requirements that may not factor into planting decisions in other regions. The good news is that gardeners can choose from a huge variety of southwest region perennial flowers. Take a look at this sampling of beautiful perennials for the southwest.

Southwest Region Perennial Flowers

In general, southwestern perennials, especially perennials in the desert, must be tough enough to withstand dry conditions, intense sunlight, and in some cases, extreme heat. Many of the best perennials for the southwest are native to the area, which is always a plus.

Here are some popular plants to try in your southwestern garden:

  • Black-eyed Susan: Black-eyed Susan produces bright orange-yellow blooms all summer. There are perennial varieties available.
  • Blanket flower: Also known as Gaillardia, it is available in a variety of richly colored, daisy-like flowers. It’s appropriate for nearly every climate, although zone 10 may be too intense for some varieties.
  • Yarrow: Yarrow is a dependable, low-maintenance native that blooms all summer in shades of yellow, red, pink, gold, and white.
  • Purple coneflower: Echinacea is a rugged, hardy plant recognized by drooping, purple petals and prominent brown cones. Birds love this plant as well.
  • Garden verbena: Garden verbena is a clump-forming perennial that produces clusters of small flowers. Purple and red are the original colors, but newer varieties are available in shades of white, magenta, and pink.
  • Coreopsis: Also known as tickseed, this is a native prairie plant with cheery, daisy-like blooms in shades of bright yellow, orange, red, and pink.
  • Gazania: This is a hardy plant that produces masses of colorful flowers in springtime. Gazania tolerates heat as far south as zone 10.
  • Joe Pye weed: A native wildflower that produces mauve to dusty rose blooms from midsummer to fall. Joe pye weed loves sun but also tolerates a fair amount of shade. 
  • Red hot poker: Also called torch lily, it is well-known for its spikes of intense red, yellow, and orange.
  • Switchgrass: Switchgrass is a versatile native prairie bunchgrass that emerges green in spring, turning pink, silver, or red in summer and then burgundy or gold in autumn.
  • Pink muhly grass: A gorgeous native grass that shows off billows of feathery pink or white flowers above spiky green foliage is pink muhly grass.
Mary H. Dyer

A Credentialed Garden Writer, Mary H. Dyer was with Gardening Know How in the very beginning, publishing articles as early as 2007.