Low Maintenance Plants for Arizona 

  • By: CarlBroadbent
  • Time to read: 6 min.
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If you’re a gardener in Arizona, you know that some plants just don’t thrive in our intense sun and heat.

But that doesn’t mean you have to forgo gardening altogether!

Low maintenance plants for Arizona area
Low maintenance plants for Arizona

There are plenty of low-maintenance plants that will do well in Arizona’s hot and dry climate.

In This Post – We’ll share different low-maintenance plants for all your gardening spaces. So whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gardener, be sure to check out these plants!

Low Maintenance Plants

There are a variety of plants that thrive with little care.

These types of plants are perfect for gardeners who do not have a lot of time to dedicate to plant maintenance.

Though they require much less attention, low-maintenance plants still need some basic care.

These plants are drought resilient so they don’t need a lot of water, but if it hasn’t rained in a while, it wouldn’t hurt to water them.

Arizona Rosewood Vauquelina Californica

Arizona Rosewood is an evergreen shrub from the rose family.

The wood is dark and streaked with red, and in the early spring, it produces white blossoms.

Feathery Cassia Cassia Nemophila

Cassia Nemophila
Feathery Cassia Cassia Nemophila

Feathery Cassia is another evergreen shrub. It grows quickly and loves the full sun on the feathery needle-like leaves.

This shrub also flowers, producing round yellow flower clusters at the ends of the branches.

Sugar Bush Rhus Ovata

The Sugar Bush plant is a shrub that typically grows 3 to 4 feet tall.

It has green leaves that are edged with red, and in the fall the leaves turn a beautiful orange or red color.

The sugar bush plant also produces small yellow flowers.

Chihuahuan Sage Leucophyllum Laevigatum

Chihuahuan Sage is a low-maintenance plant that thrives in Arizona’s dry climate.

It has small, grayish leaves and produces clusters of purple flowers.

These shrubs grow quite big; up to 4 feet in height and spreading 5 feet wide!

Mexican Bird of Paradise Caesalpinia Pulcherrima

Mexican Bird of Paradise Caesalpinia Pulcherrima
Mexican Bird of Paradise Caesalpinia Pulcherrima

The Mexican bird of paradise plant is a tropical shrub that has bright, showy flowers.

The flowers are typically red, orange, or yellow, and they are often arranged in clusters.

Little Leaf Cordia Cordia Parvifolia

The little leaf cordia is a small, shrubby tree that typically grows 3 to 6 feet tall.

It has a broad, rounded canopy and produces fragrant white flowers in the spring.

The leaves are small and pointed, and the bark is thin and light brown.

Perennial Plants

There are many benefits to having perennial plants in your garden.

Perennials come back year after year, so you don’t have to spend time planting them each year.

They also typically require less maintenance than annual plants, since you only have to deadhead them or weed them once a year instead of every week.

Perennials are a great low-maintenance option as you only need to plant them once, then enjoy them as they keep coming back.

Some perennials to try in your garden include:

  • Coneflower Echinacea
  • Foxglove Penstemon
  • Giant Hyssops Agastache Foeniculum
  • Lantana Lantana Camara
  • Lavender Lavandula Angustifolia
  • Russian Sage Perovskia Atriplicifolia
  • Speedwells Veronica Spicata
  • Yarrow Achillea Millefolium
  • Yucca Yucca Aloifolia

Annual Plants

Annual plants almost didn’t make it onto this list as low maintenance plants, since they only bloom the year they grow from seeds.

Cosmos Cosmos Bipinnatus plant flowers
Cosmos Cosmos Bipinnatus
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However, if you only need to spend a couple of hours of one day each year putting new plants in your garden to change things up, and there’s still very little maintenance, these plants still deserve a spot on the list:

  • Cosmos Cosmos Bipinnatus
  • Marigolds Tagetes
  • Moss Rose Portulaca Grandiflora
  • Silver Ragwort Jacobaea Maritima
  • Zinnia Zinnia Elegans

Low Maintenance Plants for Shaded Areas

There are so many drought resilient plants that love full sun, but what about shaded areas?

If you have shade in your garden from buildings, other plants, or even shade from structures you put up in your backyard so you had somewhere shaded to sit, here are plants that will do well in the heat, but need a little shade.

Japanese Boxwood Buxus Microphylla

Japanese Boxwood is a small, evergreen shrub with dark green leaves.

It is a low-maintenance plant that is perfect for Arizona gardens.

One plant can grow to be three feet tall and three feet wide.

Fox Tail Fern Asparagus Aethiopicus

Fox Tail Fern is a plant that has long stems with tiny green leaves on them.

Fox Tail Fern Asparagus Aethiopicus plant
Fox Tail Fern Asparagus Aethiopicus

The tip of each stem is thinner than the base of the stem, making the plant look like it has a dozen green fox tails growing from it.

Tropical Bird of Paradise Strelitzia Reginae

The bird of paradise flower is a striking orange and blue, although sometimes you can see pinks, purples, and yellows too.

The flowers look like hummingbirds in flight, and not only do they add color to a garden, but they add interest with their shape.

Baby Sun Rose Mesembryanthemum Cordifolia

This plant is a creeping succulent that produces a carpet of bright green leaves and pretty pink flowers.

If there’s no room to expand outwards, this plant will start growing upwards and can reach up to a foot tall.

Bamboo Palm Chamaedorea Seifrizii

Bamboo palm, or reed palm, is a small, slow-growing palm that typically reaches heights of 6 to 10 feet.

The trunk is slender and smooth, and the leaves are long, thin, and green.

Crossandra Crossandra Infundibuliformis

The firecracker flower is a brightly colored flower that can be found in Arizona.

Crossandra Infundibuliformis flowers
Crossandra Crossandra Infundibuliformis

It has a long, spiky stem and bright red, orange, or yellow flowers.

It is a low-maintenance plant that does not require much care as long as it’s in the shade.

Croton Codiaeum Variegatum

Crotons are a plant that looks like fall in the north.

The leaves are a deep shade of red, yellow, and orange and will add deep colors to your garden.

These bushes are also sometimes called “bush on fire”, which is exactly what it looks like from the warm tones in the leaves.

Low Maintenance Potted Plants

Plants in pots fit into three different categories:

  1. thrillers
  2. fillers
  3. spillers

A thriller is a plant that is the focal point of the pot.

It is usually a tall plant with a dramatic effect, such as a large flower or a spiky leaf.

A filler is a plant that doesn’t have a lot of height, but spreads out and fills up the pot.

Fillers are usually leafy with smaller flowers to not overwhelm the thriller.

Low Maintenance Potted Plants for Arizona
The Texas Lantana

A spiller is a plant that hangs over the edge of the pot, often cascading down like a waterfall.

They are usually plants that have long vines or stems with tiny leaves, but not usually with any flowers.

You can also put one type of plant in a pot at a time.

By doing so you can move the pot and manage how much sun the pot gets, you can monitor how much water the plants are getting, and you can add fertilizer without needing to consider other plants.

If you’re looking for a specific type of look for your pots, here is a breakdown of plants that do well in pots, and what category they fall under.

1. Thrillers

  • Cosmos
  • Gomphrena
  • Salvia
  • The Texas Lantana
  • Purple coneflower
  • Santa Rita Prickly Pear

2. Fillers

  • Marigold
  • Vinca
  • Zinnia
  • Mint
  • Desert Agave
  • The Blue Flax
  • Autumn Sage
  • Echeveria

3. Spillers

  • Calibrachoa
  • Ivy
  • String of Pearls
  • Portulaca

Low Maintenance Food Garden Plants

We’ve seen shrubs, trees, flowers, thrillers, fillers, and spillers, but did you even consider the possibility that some vegetables might be a low-maintenance plants that will thrive in Arizona?

There’s a whole list of veggies that you can grow in gardens, or in pots, in the Arizona heat.

Some vegetables do better in the cool season, and some do better in the warm season.

Your elevation will also affect the average temperature, so even though it’s summer, you might be further ahead to plant cool season vegetables.

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With the exception of melons, you’ll notice something in common with this list. There aren’t any fruits.

That’s because the flowers needed to produce fruits aren’t as hardy as the flowers needed to grow vegetables, and the heat reduces the quality of the fruit flowers.

The heat can also kill the fruit flowers, which means no fruit has a chance of growing.

You can try fruits if you’re a seasoned gardener, and you think you can handle the needs of the fruits, but those won’t be low-maintenance plants!

Cool Season Vegetables

Warm Season Vegetables

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Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance plant that will thrive in Arizona, consider one of the plants from this list.

Some plants love the sun, some plants like the shade, plants you can grow in pots, and even plants you can feed your family with.

With a little bit of planning, it’s easy to create a beautiful and productive garden that requires very little maintenance but will add color and life to your surroundings.

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