Best Plants to Grow in Arizona – 9 Best Vegetables and Ornamental Plants for Arizona Full Sun
If you live in Arizona, you may want to know the plants that grow well in Arizona to help you can make the right choices.
When most people think of Arizona, they think of a state with a desert climate made up of hot summers and mild warm winters.
While this is true of the Southern part of the state, Arizona also has cooler climates where over 25% of the state is made up of forests and the mountain region has cool summers and snowy enough winters to support a couple of ski resorts.
This makes it difficult to talk about specific landscaping or garden plants that grow well in the state in general. So this article will focus mainly on those plants that grow in Arizona’s hotter region.
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Landscaping Plants that Grow Well in Arizona
With temperatures that can soar over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, Arizona’s southern climate is not conducive to the growing of all plants.
However, for those who are looking for plants to landscape their property here are some plants that can thrive even in the state’s hot summer weather.
#1. Agave Plants
There are over 200 species of Agave plants varying in colors, shapes and sizes. Many varieties of these plants features rosettes with some having spines and others having thorns.
Sharp edges on this plant makes it essential that it be planted away from walkways and driveways to prevent injuries to family members and visitors.
Agave plants can tolerate heat, frost, and drought. They also can take between 5 and 50 years to flower, with the plant dying after it blooms. Luckily the flowers release seeds from which baby Agave plants grow.
#2. Bird of Paradise
Bird of Paradise plants can range in size from medium size bush like plants to small trees.
This flowering plant is drought tolerant and can grow in different soil types (as long as the soil is well-drained). It is known for its colorful flowers and fluffy leaves that can come in shades of yellow, bright red, and ranges of oranges.
The Bird of Paradise originates from Mexico and can take several years for its first flower to appear.
#3. Texas Sage
There are over 700 species of sage, several of which do well in the hot, dry desert setting of Southern Arizona. Sage plants come in a wide variety of shapes, colors and hues, many featuring durable flowers that add a bit of bright color to any desert setting.
Sage flowers grow on tall spears over rounded shrubs. The flowers appear as packed clusters at the very top of the spears.
While most common sage plants have flowers that are blue, purple and violet, there are also some of these plants whose flowers are red, orange, yellow and even shades of white.
These flowering plants are favorites of hummingbirds, bees and butterflies.
#4. Yucca Plants
Yucca plants often grow naturally in desert regions, but they do make a wonderful landscaping plant. These plants come in various textures and have beautiful white flowers.
You should plant this plant during the fall and winter and they prefer full exposure to sunlight. Yucca can grow up to 3 feet tall and have spiky strap like leaves. It is a fast growing plant that is known for providing food and shelter for various animals.
This plant is also used in the manufacturing of furniture and other goods.
Lavender is a plant that originated in the Mediterranean. It does especially well in alkaline and sandy soil with full morning sunlight and afternoon shade.
While the plant is drought tolerant it does need extra watering during the hottest weeks in Arizona. If you are planning on planting Lavender it should be planted in either the early spring or in late fall.
Vegetables that Grow Well in Arizona
While not all vegetables fair well in the heat of Southern Arizona there are a few hot weather-loving vegetables that produce well in this area. Here is a look at some of the best vegetables to grow in Arizona.
Okra is a heat loving plant that grows well in Arizona. Plant this vegetable during the middle of March to the end of April for the best harvest. You can directly sow the seeds out of doors when the soil temperature reaches 85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
This nutrient rich vegetable does well in full sun with regular watering. Make sure you plant one of the high heat varieties of okra.
This plant will flower and the flowers then turn into the Okra pods that then should be harvested daily to encourage the plant to produce more okra pods. You should harvest the pods when they are 2 to 3 inches long since allowing them to grow longer produces less tender vegetables.
#7. Asparagus Beans
Asparagus beans is a heat loving vegetable plant that has several different names including Chinese long beans. These beans are high in vitamin B, iron, and calcium. This plant grows best when planted between March 15 through July.
The seeds are directly planted in the soil and grow well in full sun. The plant should be planted near the base of a trellis (or something they can climb). These beans are best when harvested when they are 10 to 12 inches long. Harvesting beans encourages the plant to produce even more beans.
#8. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes are easy to grow in Arizona. These tubers are rich in vitamins A, B6, and C as well as potassium and foliate. Sweet potatoes can be roasted, baked, fried, or boiled.
You will want to choose a variety of sweet potato that is suitable to your climate. These potatoes are planted from a slip early in the spring. It then takes 100 to 110 days after planting before the potatoes are harvested.
After harvesting your sweet potatoes can be stored up to 3 months in a cool dark place.
#9. Bell Peppers
Bell Pepper is another vegetable that grows well in the Arizona heat. It is recommended that you plant your pepper plants close together so that they provide shade for one another to avoid your peppers from becoming sunscalded.
This vegetable does best when planted between late February to Early March. Peppers take 120 to 150 days to reach maturity and be ready to harvest.
Final Thoughts on the Best Plants for Arizona Full Sun
While the heat of Arizona is not suitable for the growing of all plants, the above plants can thrive in the heat of this state.