45 Desert Plants Chart: Photos, Locations, Species, Map, Grow Tip

9 Desert Plants With Names Chart, Pictures, and Identification of desert plants in circle frames with green background.

Many desert plants are exceptional types of trees that can survive scorching climates and places that receive minimal rainfall.

Unique features like fleshy leaves and massive root systems help them withstand such harsh conditions, but many also produce stunningly beautiful flowers and provide a crucial aspect of the arid ecosystems where they live.

In this extensive desert plants guide, you can discover fascinating facts about the most common desert plants, where they grow, their adaptive characteristics, and much more.

Desert Plants With Names Chart

The following 45 desert plants with names chart outlines some of the most interesting varieties, and provides a closer look so you can learn to identify desert plants.

Eye-level shot of Prickly Pear cactus with yellow and orange hues of flowers.

(Image: GregMontani28)

1. Prickly Pear Cactus

This desert plant is one of the most exceptional cacti commonly growing in southwestern parts of the US, known for its thick succulent spiky leaves where they store water to survive.

The blooming Prickly Pear Cactus flowers only show when the conditions are favorable.19 It has purple, red, and yellow flowers that are easy to identify in the barren landscapes, and they can grow to massive 16- 23 feet and look like rabbit ears cacti.

2. The Joshua Tree

(Yucca brevifolia)

You will find this majestic yucca plant species in the Mojave Desert standing single and tall. It is skilled in drought tolerance and is sometimes called the Yucca Palm.

Wide shot of the Joshua Tree next to a road.

(Image: 12707128)

It is native to Nevada, California, Utah, and Arizona and can reach an impressive 50 feet, although it has a slow growth rate.

3. Curve Leaf Yucca

(Yucca Gloriosa var. Tristis)

The yucca species are well adapted to deserts, living under the hot sun and little moisture.

Like other species, the curve leaf can grow in coastal and sandy soils, but its leaves are the most outstanding feature. The lower fronds of the Curve Leaf Yucca blooming curve back while they are long and pointed at the top while the trunk grows to 4-5 feet.

4. Golden Barrel Cactus

(Echinocactus grusonii)

The spherical Golden Barrel Cactus is easily identified by its massive sphere shape with white or yellow spikes and tiny flowers.

Eye-level shot of huge Golden barrel cactus with its yellow spikes.

(Image: marcelkessler28)

It resembles a globe and is an ideal addition to your landscaping if you live in an arid region. It grows slowly and can live for 30 years, reaching 3 feet high.

You can plant one in your home if you have well-draining sandy soil.

Low angle shot of tall Saguaro cactus with the sky in the background.

(Image: andrewsbird28)

5. Saguaro Cactus

(Carnegiea gigantea)

From its scientific name, you can tell that the Saguaro, the tallest cactus in the US is a massive cactus.

It is tall, elegant, and majestic, with armed branches that curve upwards. They are popular as trees native to Mexico and states in the southwestern parts of the country.

Being a gigantic tree reaching 52 feet, its massive flowers attract pollinators like bees and birds thanks to their flowers that show in April, May, and June.

6. Organ Pipe Cactus

(Stenocereus thurberi)

The Organ Pipe Cactus with mature fruits has long tubular stems that resemble pipe organs and can reach 16 feet.21

Wide shot of Organ pipe cactus situated in a desert with mountains in the background.

(Image: 12707128)

The branches have sharp spikes all over them, but their most impressive feature is their massive tasty fruits loved by locals. They can thrive under direct sunlight with minimal shade and water, and you will find them naturally growing in Mexico and Arizona.

Closeup of Brittlebush plant with its yellow flowers.

(Image: Leo_Fontes28)

7. Brittlebush

(Encelia farinosa)

The Brittlebush in the wild is a common species found in Mexico and states in the southern part of the US.

It grows into a shrub and brightens up the landscape when it flowers. Going by the name, the stems are rigid and easy to break.

It has beautiful yellow flowers growing in small groups, but the leaves fall off in the dry season, leaving the tree surviving on the water stored in the stems.23

8. Creosote Bush

(Larrea tridentata)

Also called Greasewood, this flowering plant is one of the most resilient desert species thriving in arid conditions.

Closeup shot of Creosote bush with its green leaves and blooming flowers.

(Image: Darci Parsley29)

The blooming Creosote Bush is an evergreen shrub with yellow flowers and boasts a massive root system for enhanced water absorption from the soil.12 It can grow under temperatures of 160 degrees and gets its name because it smells like creosote compounds.4

Closeup shot of Graptopetalum paraguayense with dew on its greenish-red leaves.

(Image: TuJardínDesdeCero28)

9. Ghost Plant

(Graptopetalum paraguayense)

This succulent desert plant can grow in various places, including arid and semi-arid regions.

The Ghost Plant rosettes also called the Sedum Weinbergii, Mother-of-pearl, or Porcelain Succulent Plant and grows low on the ground, covering the ground in beautiful rosette forms. Its look makes it perfect for landscaping or growing as a houseplant on a pot, terrarium, or garden.

10. Red Pancake

(Kalanchoe thyrsiflora)

Also commonly called the Paddle Plant, Flapjack, and Desert Cabbage, this shrub is known for its thick, large, rounded green leaves with red highlights at the edges.3

Red pancake plant with its red and green leaves.

(Image: Kathleen Culbertson29)

The planted Flapjacks also produces yellow flowers and is preferred for growing at home since it doesn’t need a lot of maintenance.24 The leaves store moisture, allowing survival without water for extended periods, and the sun helps the leaves retain their beautiful color.

Closeup shot of Foxtail agave plant with its spiky leaves.

(Image: Leo_Fontes28)

11. Fox Tail Agave

(Agave attenuata)

Like other succulents, the Fox Tail Agave also does well in desert climates, especially in the South West.

By its looks, many believe that the Fox Tail Agave is part of the aloe family, but it is not, despite its shape and similar features. Its spiky features and overall appearance make it a top choice for gardens, and it is one of the most popular ornamental species to grow at home.

12. Mexican Feather Grass

This species is perfect for you if you love growing ornamental grasses, and the advantage is that it is easy to maintain, besides its beauty.25

Closeup of Mexican Feather grass plant in a greenhouse.

(Image: Harry Page30)

It is also called the Fine-stem Needlegrass and Fine-leaved Nassella. Its long, light fronds and delicate blades make it more striking and enhance its entire look, making it suitable for desert landscaping.

13. Desert Marigold

(Baileya multiradiata)

The first thing you see when looking at the Desert Marigold is its exquisite bright yellow flowers that add color to otherwise barren, arid landscapes.

It grows naturally in Mexico, Utah, Arizona, and California. Its flowers bloom from spring through the hottest months, and many living in desert regions grow them in their homes.

How Do Plants Survive the Desert?

While discussing what plants live in the desert, it is critical to understand how they can survive without water all year round.

They have developed three adaptations: drought tolerance and avoidance, and succulence.


Succulent desert plants conveniently store water in their leaves, roots, and stems; this way, they always have a reserve even when there is no rain for months.14

They use this storage efficiently to stay alive and use other strategies.

For instance, their waxy cuticles and closed stomata are almost waterproof, and more water stays locked inside due to the reduced surface area of the tiny leaves.

Drought Tolerance

Also known as drought dormancy, it is a state where the plant finds ways to survive by remaining inactive. It may be through the shedding leaves to avoid water loss via transpiration or covering with resinous coatings that enhance moisture retention.

The roots of such trees are also extended, allowing them to reach deeper for more water in the ground. Sometimes the roots can develop to twice the canopy’s size.

Drought Avoidance

Some desert plants would rather not exist to avoid the drought seasons.

They grow fast and die after dedicating their lives to producing as many seeds as possible, but still, some seeds stay dormant for a while, waiting for the ideal conditions to germinate, like the case of the desert lupine.1

14. Desert Lily


The desert is not only home to cactus & succulents; species like the Desert Lily can also adapt to arid climates.

The Desert Lily flowers are a common plant growing in Mexico and the southwestern US. From the family name, this species is not a true lily and is closer to agave plants.18

Wide shot of huge Jumping Cholla plant situated on dry and gravely soil.

(Image: 12707128)

15. Jumping Cholla

(Cylindropuntia fulgida)

This tree-like plant mainly grows in Arizona’s Sonora desert and California and is a breed between a cactus and a tree.

The Jumping Cholla spines features a thick trunk and branches with barbs all over it. The species can grow to 13 feet and has beautiful white and pink flowers with purple-like marks.

16. Ocotillo

The Ocotillo is a common desert cactus known for its long slender stems. It is also called the Desert Coral, Vine Cactus, or Candlewood and is popular in New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, and California.

Wide shot of tall ocotillo plant situated in desert with mountains in the background.

(Image: ArtTower28)

A fantastic feature is that it drastically transforms into a lively tree with thick stems and bright red flowers when it rains.

Closeup of Yellow Palo Verde tree with its yellow flowers.

(Image: TootSweetCarole28)

17. Yellow Palo Verde

This gigantic desert tree is native to the Sonoran Desert and grows to an impressive 16 feet in height with yellow-green flowers.

The Yellow Palo Verde in full bloom deciduous, meaning it sheds its leaves when it’s too hot to maintain its water reserve. It can brave the harsh arid temperatures and minimal rainfall, and its flowers bloom when it starts raining like similar plants.

18. Mojave Aster

Look no further if searching for a striking desert plant. The Blooming Mojave Aster or Mojave Woody Aster is native to the desert by the same name and is known for its beautiful flowers that look like daisies.

Close up of Mojave aster flower with its purple petals and yellow center.

(Image: Zachary Cava | USGS Western Ecological Research Center35)

The blooms are lavender with white strands from a yellow center, and you will likely find it growing near trees like the Joshua and Saltbush.

Closeup shot of Jade plant leaves.

(Image: leoleobobeo28)

19. Jade Plant

(Crassula ovata)

The Jade, also the money tree, is a small stunning tree popular as a houseplant. It is easy to maintain and resilient despite drought conditions.

The Jade Plant growing indoors grows as a small shrub or mini tree and needs a lot of sunlight to thrive as it does outdoors. Homeowners regard these plants highly since many believe they bring good luck to a household.

20. Yellow Bells

From its name, this plant is famous for its bright yellow flowers that take a funnel shape. Also called the Yellow Trumpetbush, this species is very hardy, growing under extreme heat and long periods of drought.

Closeup of Yellow bell plant with its yellow trumpet-like flowers.

(Image: ignartonosbg28)

The Yellow Bells flowers make it ideal for landscaping if you want a flowering desert plant that needs little maintenance.

Closeup of Aloe Vera plant.

(Image: sarangib28)

21. Aloe Vera

(Aloe barbadensis)

Aloe Vera is one of the most popular desert plants you will likely find growing naturally in dry forests under harsh climates.

There are more than 500 aloe species, but Aloe Vera is the most common. The Aloe Vera usually grows in rosette shapes with thick succulent leaves and can withstand arid, rocky, sandy soils.22

22. Texas Sage

(Leucophyllum frutescens)

Unlike other majestic desert plants, the Texas Sage is tiny and compact, growing low and producing purple flowers.

Closeup of Texas sage plant with its purple flower.

(Image: mrngochuy28)

It is also known as the Wild Lilac, Texas Silverleaf, Purple Sage, Texas Ranger, and Ash Bush. Interestingly, the Texas Sage leaves and flowers species are not from the sage family, but you can use them for ornamental purposes in your home.

Closeup of Bottlebrush plant with its needle-like leaves and red flowers.

(Image: SpencerWing28)

23. Bottlebrush


This low-growing shrub’s native habitat is in Australia, growing in various climatic conditions, including arid regions.

The Bottlebrush flowers features bright red flowers against light needle-like leaves and makes an excellent ornamental tree for your home. Closely looking at it, you will understand that it obtains its name from the bottle brush shape of its flowers.

24. Arizona Poppy Flowers

Native to the southwest US, the Arizona Poppy is a spreading bush that boasts attractive orange or yellow flowers that can reach 6cm wide.

Close up photo of Arizona Poppy plants with its yellow-orange flowers.


You will find the Arizona Poppy leaves and flowers in Texas, California, and the sandy desert, and it has pinnate lanceolate leaves and soft stems.8 These hardy species grow as bushes measuring 2-3 feet high and up to 5 feet wide.

Closeup of a bee on a Marsh aster flower with its lavender petals and yellow center.

(Image: Andrey Zharkikh34)

25. Marsh Aster

(Almutaster pauciflorus)

This desert plant grows in sandy soils and arid climates and is a perennial native with tiny purplish cup-shaped flowers with a round yellow center.

The leaves on the stems are thin and elongated, measuring up to 10 cm long. The flower of a Mash Aster shows from spring to summer, the plant can reach a height of 120 cm and is common in southwestern parts of the Northern US.

26. California Poppy

(Eschscholzia californica)

The California Poppy, or the golden cup, is a hardy species that you can plant if you live in USDA hardiness zones 8-10.

Wide shot of California poppy flowers with bees.

(Image: Nennieinszweidrei28)

The stunning California Poppy flowers features bright orange cup-shaped flowers that reach 3 inches wide and grow wide and low, best for ground-covering landscaping on borders and paths.

27. Desert Primrose

(Oenothera primiveris)

This desert plant is also called the Birdcage Evening Primrose or the Devil’s Lantern. Its most outstanding quality is its yellow blooms wich resemble crepe paper.

The flowering Desert Primrose commonly and naturally grows in Utah, Nevada, California, and Arizona and reaches only 45cm high and spreads to 101 cm wide.10,20

28. Apache Plume

(Fallugia paradoxa)

The Apache Plume is a native plant to the southwest US. This flowering shrub grows in the desert and has pure white flowers extending 3-6 feet tall and 6 feet wide.

Closeup of Apache plume plant with its seed heads.

(Image: 1201928)

The Apache Plume seed head and flowers blooms have five petals and a greenish center, forming a star shape, and look great on top of the bushy green leaves on whitish stems.

Closeup of Devil's Claw plant with its yellow flower.


29. Devil’s Claw

Like other desert shrubs, the Devil’s Claw/ Wood Spider/ Grapple Plant grows low and wide and is recognizable by its massive funnel-shaped brightly-colored flowers and heart-shaped leaves with curly margins and colossal seed pods.

The Devil’s Claw leaves and flowers grow only 10 cm high and can spread to 60 cm along the ground.

30. Fairy Duster

(Calliandra eriophylla)

The Fairy Duster is another common native shrub, synonymous with its ground-hugging nature and striking white and pink flowers that resemble feather dusters, hence the name.

Closeup of Fairy duster plant with its pink and white feather duster-like flowers.

(Image: Fatih Turan30)

It is a generally slow grower known for its arching branches that can reach 3 feet tall; you can grow it as a foundation or a landscaping plant.

Closeup of Desert Mariposa lily plant with its orange 3-petaled flower.


31. Desert Mariposa Lily

The Mariposa Lily, also the Star Tulip or Mariposa Tulip, is a perennial shrub that grows 2-18 inches high and wide.

You can distinguish it by its yellow or orange three-petaled trumpet-shaped blooms that measure 1-2 inches wide. The Desert Mariposa Lily flowers also have thin grayish leaves 10-20 cm long.16

32. Chaste Tree

(Vitex agnus-castus)

This desert species is a drought and heat-tolerant flowering plant that grows into a mini tree or tall shrub, known for its lilac flowers and grayish leaves.

Closeup of Chaste Tree with its lilac-colored flowers.

(Image: Griffin Taylor29)

Additionally, the Chaste Tree blooms is multi-stemmed and grows to 16 feet high. Its best features are its attractive flowers, sage-scented leaves, and ability to thrive in various habitats.

33. Mulga

(Acacia aneura)

You cannot miss this massive shrub-like desert plant with several yellow bottlebrush blooms.

It grows round and spreads broad, sometimes reaching 20 feet tall or remaining a low shrub. It has silverish leaves and is a go-to for planting if you live in an arid region.

What Are the Features of a Desert Willow Tree?

The Desert Willow is a native deciduous desert tree that grows as a mini tree or huge shrub reaching 15-40 feet. It features a winding stem, light green opposite alternate leaves running 4-12 inches long, and bright trumpet-like flowers resembling a Pink Magnolia Tree.

Plants need water to survive; otherwise, they wither and die, but the case is different with species that thrive in the desert. While other species need frequent watering, cacti and succulents have adapted to their arid and semi-arid habitats and can survive with minimal rainfall all year round.

They have thick leaves and stems, and their roots reach deep into the ground to find more water. Besides, each plant has unique adaptations to withstand harsh conditions, making them ideal for growing in your home for desert landscaping and gardening.

What Is Tumbleweed?

These groups of various plant species prefer growing under sweltering and dry desert conditions. They come in multiple sizes, and you will stumble upon them in Africa, the US, and Australia.

They start rooted in the ground but blow over in the wind, dispersing their seeds and conquering more territories. On the downside, they are invasive, overtaking other plant life, and since they are dry, they are highly flammable and dangerous in cases of wildfires.

34. Anacacho Orchid Tree

(Bauhinia lunarioides)

The Anacacho Orchid is one of the most attractive flowering desert shrubs with its spectacular white orchid-like flowers.

The flowers of an Anacacho Orchid have two-lobed dull green leaves, flat seed pods, and a silvery-gray bark.7 It typically reaches 1-12 feet tall, and its impressive feature is the butterfly-like leaves and striking flowers, making it perfect for landscaping.

Closeup of Cane Cholla plant with its bright pink flowers.

(Image: imoney28)

35. Cane Cholla

(Cylindropuntia spinosior)

This beautiful shrub-like native species has unique twisting stems with bright pink cup-shaped flowers that measure 7.5 cm wide.

The open flowers of the Cane Cholla transform into long-lasting cactus fruits, and the tree can grow 3-8 feet high. Its shape distinguishes it from other desert plants sprucing up your garden.

36. Claret Cup Cactus

The Claret Cup Cactus has an impressive ornamental feature thanks to its bright red flowers of a Claret Cup Cactus measuring 3-4 inches long.17

Close up image of a Claret Cup Cactus with its bright red petals.

(Image: Gary M. Stolz32)

It has extended upright cylindrical stems with sharp spikes all around for water reservation and defense and can reach 15-24 inches tall and 60 cm wide.13

Closeup of Old Man cactus plant with its long spikes.

(Image: David Clode29)

37. Old Man Cactus

(Cephalocereus senilis)

Another common desert shrub you should know is the Old Man Cactus, which features several cylindrical stems with protruding ribs.

The Old Man Cactus forms a massive shrub with large white flowers and conspicuous egg-shaped fruits.11 It can also reach 10 feet high and wide and tends to flower at night, explaining why it is known as the queen of the night.

38. Mexican Fencepost Cactus

From its name, this desert plant is a common accent species that people grow in masses to form a natural security fence around their homes or as a windbreak in regions experiencing minimal rainfall.

Closeup of short spikes of Mexican Fencepost cactus.

(Image: Chris Linnett29)

The Majestic Mexican Fencepost can reach an impressive 10-15 feet tall and 4 feet wide and features enormous pink flowers.9

Closeup of Purple Poppy Mallow plant with its purple flower.

(Image: Lengyel_Art28)

39. Purple Poppy Mallow

(Callirhoe involucrata)

The Purple Poppy is one of the most beautiful flowering desert plants.

It is also called Buffalo Roses or Wine Cups and has several magenta cup-shaped flowers. The beautiful Purple Poppy flowers is hardy and grows as a low shrub, measuring 8-12 inches high and 35 inches wide, ideal as a foundation plant.

40. Purple Sage

(Salvia dorii)

The Purple/Desert Sage is a woody shrub famous for its purple flowers that nicely contrast with the silvery leaves.

Closeup of Purple Sage plant with its purple flowers.

(Image: IlonaBurschl28)

The Purple Sage blooms reach 1 meter high and can stretch to 4 feet wide.15 You can grow it as a foundation planting or ground cover, and the best part is that it is resilient to extreme heat and cold and doesn’t need frequent watering.

Photo of Torchwood Copal shrub situated on gravelly soil.

(Image: Amante Darmanin33)

41. Torchwood Copal

You will bump into this woody shrub in Arizona and California, easily identifiable by its clustered white flowers, reddish bark, and pinnate leaves.

The Torchwood Copal fruits and leaves are typically 10-32 feet high and have a short thick trunk with papery bark and an interesting branching tendency.27 You can grow it indoors or outdoors as a low-maintenance decorative plant.

What Are the Types of Plants in Desert?

Deserts form more than 20% of the earth’s surface, receiving below 25 cm of rainfall annually. Water is one of the keys to plant and animal survival; therefore, living things inhabiting such environments must find ways to survive.

Desert plants must prepare for months or years without water; some have long roots that travel deep into the ground to find more water, while others are succulents, storing water in their leaves. Others reduce transpiration (water loss through the leaves) in several ways.6

While some have tiny, needle-like leaves to reduce the surface area of water loss, others feature hairy and silvery leaves to reflect the sun’s rays. These plants can live for decades in harsh climates thanks to these adaptations.

42. Pencil Tree

(Euphorbia tirucalli)

The Pencil Tree is unusual, with long, succulent golden or reddish-yellow stems growing from silvery branches and containing toxic sap.

Close up photo of a Pencil tree in a desert.

(Image: Wicki32)

A Pencil Tree also has bright yellow flowers and can reach 23 feet high. Additionally, it is commonly known as the Indian tree spurge, milk bushy, or fire stick.

Closeup of Mexican Lime cactus with its red spikes situated among other species of cactus.

(Image: Marisa0428)

43. Mexican Lime Cactus

(Ferocactus pilosus)

As the name suggests, this desert plant is lime-green with a barrel-like stem with spikes running all over it.

It is a decorative plant that grows in clumps, and the barrel shape eventually thins out to make it slender and tube-like. This species blooms with reddish-orange flowers that form a beautiful crown.

44. Coral Vine

(Antigonon Leptopus)

Otherwise known as the Queen’s Wreath, this desert plant native to Mexico and the Sonora Desert is stunning with massive heart-shaped leaves and beautiful flowers.

Closeup of Coral Vine plant with its pink flowers.

(Image: sarangib28)

The pink or white blooms grow as tiny clusters alongside large leaves measuring 2-3 inches, and the Coral Vine leaves and flowers tree can stretch to 22 feet.26

Wide shot of Beaked Yucca plant on ground.

(Image: 12707128)

45. Beaked Yucca

(Yucca rostrata)

The Beaked Yucca is a top choice for adding color to your home’s xeriscape landscaping or focal point, thanks to its attractive overall look.

Yucca Rostrata features massive spiky bluish-green pointed leaves and is native to the southwestern parts of the country.1 It grows to 15 feet and has clusters of white flowers.

Fun Facts About Plants in Desert Biome

  1. The Pereskia Cactus is one of the first desert plants dating more than 20 million years ago.
  2. The Mesquite Plant’s roots are some of the longest, reaching up to 24 meters long.
  3. The gel from Aloe Vera is famous for treating skin complications.
  4. Desert plants like the Desert Lupine can have striking, beautiful flowers, and some, like the saguaro, produce edible fruits.
  5. The Desert Marigold is very poisonous.
  6. Homeowners prefer growing small cacti, given their low maintenance.
  7. Some seeds can stay dormant, waiting for sufficient moisture in the ground to grow.
  8. Plants in the desert store water in their stem, trunk, and leaves.
  9. These trees have ornamental value, perfect for home décor.
  10. The Desert Sage helps cure stomach aches, headaches, pneumonia, and other ailments.5

What Are the Best Types of Desert Plants?

The most popular and common desert plants include several cacti species like the Barrel Cactus and Prickly Bear.

The Aloe Vera and the Desert Lily are the best flowering shrubs, while the Acacia and Desert Willow Tree are ideal for shade and landscaping.

The perfect desert plants do not mind growing under full sunlight, thrive under arid soils, and have adaptive features to survive for a long time without water. They also grow when it is too hot during the day and freezing at night.

Types of Desert Palm Trees

Among the different kinds of trees worldwide, palm trees are synonymous with tropical islands and beaches, but interestingly, they can also grow in arid regions like the southwestern US. Thankfully, given how many types of palm trees are there, you can find perfect hardy species for your home.

You can choose Acrocomia species that thrive in arid regions or the Bismarck Palm, known for its impressive fan-shaped fronds. Alternatively, the Cuban Paddle and the Ravenea xerophila don’t mind full hot sunlight and can withstand extreme heat and cold and minimal moisture.

Tips for Successful Desert Gardening

Desert gardening may seem effortless, given that you are dealing with low-maintenance plants that don’t need frequent watering. However, like any other plant, these hardy species also need care; the first step is to know your hardiness zone and which plants grow best in the region.2

You can pick a succulent, shrub, or tree that works for you depending on your needs and ensure that it is drought and heat-tolerant; otherwise, you will have to water it often and provide shade. It also helps to choose effective seeds carefully and if uncertain, ask your local nursery for guidance.

What Are the Top 10 Most Popular Succulents?

Various types of succulents are used in homes for their aesthetic appeal indoors and outdoors. They are now popular landscaping options and home decor, coming in different shapes and sizes.

The top 10 most popular succulents include the Pencil Plant, Ghost Plant, Burro’s Tail, Paddle Plant, Queen Victoria Agave, Living Stones, Zebra Cactus, Bunny Ear Cactus, Golden Barrel, and Fox Tail Agave.

What Are the Types of Tall Succulents Desert Plants?

Interestingly, some desert plants can grow to 100 feet and live for hundreds of years. If you want one to grow as a privacy hedge or for landscaping around your home, you can choose from various aloes, agave plants, and cacti that grow in different shapes and heights.

The most popular tall succulents include the Fishhook Barrel, Century Plant, Joshua Tree, Aloe Vera, Fox Tail Agave, Saguaro Cactus, Organ Pipe Cactus, African Milk Tree, and several more.

There are various types of desert plants to choose from that feature impressive outstanding features based on your needs, whether you need a tall/ short succulent or wildflower for aesthetics.

Frequently Asked Questions About Desert Plants

What Are the Top 5 Most Popular Desert Wildflowers?

Most desert wildflowers will likely grow naturally in their habitats, but you can domesticate many species for their beautiful blooms. The top 5 most popular wildflowers are the Winecup, California Poppy, Desert Marigold, Desert Sage, and Purple Poppy Mallow.

What Are the Top 5 Most Popular Trees, Shrubs, and Grasses?

You can grow desert trees, shrubs & grasses in your yard for landscaping or as privacy hedges, especially if you live in an arid or semi-arid region. The top 5 most popular options for homeowners include the Ocotillo, Joshua Tree, Aloe Vera, Palo Verde, and Mexican Feather Grass.


1Dimmit, M. (2022). How Plants Cope with the Desert Climate. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Retrieved December 27, 2022, from <https://www.desertmuseum.org/programs/succulents_adaptation.php>

2Dyer, M. (2022). Desert Gardening For Beginners – Desert Gardening 101. Gardening Know How. Retrieved December 27, 2022, from <https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/garden-by-region/general/desert-gardening-for-beginners.htm>

3FTD. (2016, June 14). 127 Stunning Desert Plants. FTD. Retrieved December 27, 2022, from <https://www.ftd.com/blog/share/desert-plants>

4Leafy Place. (2022). 47 Desert Plants (With Pictures and Names) – Identification Guide. Leafy Place. Retrieved December 27, 2022, from <https://leafyplace.com/desert-plants/>

5Mocomi. (2022). Desert plants and their adaptations. Mocomi. Retrieved December 27, 2022, from <https://mocomi.com/desert-plants-adaptations-facts/>

6Twinkl. (2022). Plants that Live in the Desert. Twinkl. Retrieved December 27, 2022, from <https://www.twinkl.co.ke/teaching-wiki/plants-that-live-in-the-desert>

7Arizona Board of Regents. The University of Arizona. (2023). Anacacho Orchid Tree. College of Agriculture and Life Sciences The University of Arizona. Retrieved January 10, 2023, from <https://cals.arizona.edu/yuma/plant_index/bauhinia_lunarioides.htm>

8Arizona Board of Regents. The University of Arizona. (2023). Arizona Poppy. College of Agriculture and Life Sciences The University of Arizona. Retrieved January 10, 2023, from <https://cals.arizona.edu/yuma/plant_index/kallstroemia_grandiflora.htm>

9Arizona Board of Regents. The University of Arizona. (2023). Central Mexico Organ Pipe (Mexican Fence Post). College of Agriculture and Life Sciences The University of Arizona. Retrieved January 11, 2023, from <https://cals.arizona.edu/yuma/plant_index/pachycereus_marginatus.htm>

10Arizona Board of Regents. The University of Arizona. (2023). Evening Primrose. College of Agriculture and Life Sciences The University of Arizona. Retrieved January 10, 2023, from <https://cals.arizona.edu/yuma/plant_index/oenothera_primiveris.htm>

11Arizona Board of Regents. The University of Arizona. (2023). Old Man Cactus. College of Agriculture and Life Sciences The University of Arizona. Retrieved January 11, 2023, from <https://cals.arizona.edu//yuma/plant_index/cephalocereus_senilis.htm>

12Barrows, C. (2021, March 20). Tomorrow’s environments will be different. California Naturalist Agriculture and Natural Resource Blogs. Retrieved January 9, 2023, from <https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=46148>

13Bhangu, P., Singh, S., Brasil, C., Ziya, Z., Lee, K. M., & Prum, R. (2022, March 22). Succulence. California State University Stanislaus. Retrieved January 11, 2023, from <https://www.csustan.edu/biology/stan-state-greenhouse/desert-plants-storing-and-protecting-water>

14Brown, D. L. (2018). Cacti and succulents. Extension at the University of Minnesota. Retrieved January 9, 2023, from <https://extension.umn.edu/houseplants/cacti-and-succulents>

15Bryant, P. J. (2023). Purple Sage. Natural History of Orange County, California and nearby places. Retrieved January 12, 2023, from <https://nathistoc.bio.uci.edu/plants/Lamiaceae/Salvia%20leucophylla.htm>

16Chappell, M. A. (2008). Desert mariposa lily (Calochortus kennedyi). Information Technology Solutions. Retrieved January 10, 2023, from <https://faculty.ucr.edu/~chappell/INW/plants/Kennedymariposa.shtml>

17Chappell, M. A. (2013). Claret-cup cactus. Information Technology Solutions University of California Riverside. Retrieved January 10, 2023, from <https://faculty.ucr.edu/~chappell/INW/plants/claretcupcactus.shtml>

18Chappell, M. A. (2017). Desert lily, Hesperocallis undulata. Information Technology Solutions University of California Riverside. Retrieved January 10, 2023, from <https://faculty.ucr.edu/~chappell/INW/plants/desertlily.shtml>

19Elmer, N. L. (2020, March 2). Moth Threatens Prickly Pear Cactus. The University of Texas at Austin Biodiversity Center. Retrieved January 9, 2023, from <https://biodiversity.utexas.edu/news/entry/moth-threatens>

20Erdmann, K. S. (1961, June 1). Classification and distribution of the native trees of Utah. Brigham Young University ScholarsArchive. Retrieved January 10, 2023, from <https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=9047&context=etd>

21Goerner, A., Brown, C., & Foster, J. (2002, March 21). Organ Pipe in Fruit. Earth Science Picture of the Day a service of USRA. Retrieved January 9, 2022, from <https://epod.usra.edu/blog/2002/03/organ-pipe-in-fruit-1.html>

22Harry, B. (2023). Aloe vera. aloe. Plants of Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park. Retrieved January 12, 2023, from <http://www.botany.hawaii.edu/basch/uhnpscesu/htms/kahoplnt/fish_pops/liliac/plant01.htm>

23Kaufmann, M. J. (1973). Encelia farinosa. Bioimages Vanderbilt University. Retrieved January 9, 2023, from <http://bioimages.vanderbilt.edu/kaufmannm/ke016.htm>

24Mahr, S. (2023). Flapjacks, Kalanchoe spp. Wisconsin Horticulture Division of Extension. Retrieved January 9, 2023, from <https://hort.extension.wisc.edu/articles/flapjacks-kalanchoe-spp/>

25Marsh, J. (2023). Ornamental Grasses. City of Corona. Retrieved January 9, 2023, from <https://www.coronaca.gov/home/showpublisheddocument/2170/636192221309100000>

26N.C. Cooperative Extension. (2023). Antigonon leptopus. NC State Extension. Retrieved January 11, 2023, from <https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/antigonon-leptopus/>

27Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. (2022, April 13). Bursera fagaroides. Wikipedia. Retrieved January 11, 2023, from <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bursera_fagaroides>

28Prickly Pear Cactus by GregMontani, The Joshua Tree by 127071, Golden Barrel Cactus by marcelkessler, Saguaro Cactus by andrewsbird, Organ Pipe Cactus by 127071, Brittlebush by Leo_Fontes, Ghost Plant by TuJardínDesdeCero, Fox Tail Agave by Leo_Fontes, Jumping Cholla by 127071, Ocotillo by ArtTower, Yellow Palo Verde by TootSweetCarole, Jade Plant by leoleobobeo, Yellow Bells by ignartonosbg, Aloe Vera by sarangib, Texas Sage by mrngochuy, Bottlebrush by SpencerWing, California Poppy by Nennieinszweidrei, Apache Plume by 12019, Cane Cholla by imoney, Purple Poppy Mallow by Lengyel_Art, Purple Sage by IlonaBurschl. Mexican Lime Cactus by Marisa04. Coral Vine by sarangib. Beaked Yucca by 127071. Pixabay. Retrieved from <https://pixabay.com/>

29Creosote Bush by Darci Parsley, Red Pancake by Kathleen Culbertson, Chaste Tree by Griffin Taylor, Old Man Cactus by David Clode, Mexican Fencepost Cactus by Chris Linnett. Unsplash. Retrieved from <https://unsplash.com/>

30Mexican Feather Grass by Harry Page, Fairy Duster by Fatih Turan. Pexels. Retrieved from <https://www.pexels.com/>

31Arizona Poppy Flowers by ALAN SCHMIERER, Desert Primrose by Patrick Alexander, Desert Mariposa Lily by ALAN SCHMIERER, Devil’s Claw by ALAN SCHMIERER. Public Domain. Flickr. Retrieved from <https://www.flickr.com/>

32Claret Cup Cactus by Gary M. Stolz, Pencil Tree by Wicki. Public Domain. Wikimedia. Retrieved from <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page>

33Amante Darmanin. (CC BY 2.0). Resized, Changed Format. Flickr. Retrieved from <https://flickr.com/photos/9243304@N04/5760830637>

34Andrey Zharkikh. (CC BY 2.0). Resized, Changed Format. Flickr. Retrieved from <https://www.flickr.com/photos/zharkikh/48584416677/>

35Zachary Cava | USGS Western Ecological Research Center. USGS.gov. Retrieved from <https://www.usgs.gov/media/images/werc-mojave-aster-xylorhiza-tortifolia>