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People living in harsh climates can feel left out of their passion for gardening as it is difficult to grow plants in harsh conditions. Many plants can’t survive in harsh conditions, therefore people living in such climates have much less choice of plants to grow at home. So, if you live in a harsh desert-like environment you can grow several desert plants in your home.

Desert plants also known as xerophytes have particular adaptations that help them to survive in harsh environments. These plants in the desert have special features and the ability to adapt to tough situations which makes them sturdy and hard to kill.

Benefits of Desert Plants

Desert plants have many benefits that can either be involved with their cultivation or overall maintenance. These plants in the desert play a significant role to maintain the stabilization of the desert environment. Some benefits of desert plants include-

  • Water Conservation: Desert plants can survive on minimal water and rely mostly on groundwater as their extensive root system goes deep in the ground to collect water. This makes them ideal for regions with water scarcity.
  • Prevents Erosion: Desert plants prevent desert soil erosion with the help of their sturdy root system. These plants prevent desertification caused by winds and water.
  • Medicinal Properties: Many desert plants such as aloe vera and some species of cacti provide numerous medicinal benefits that make them a good choice for a house plant.
  • Aesthetic Appearance: Desert plants are linked with the beauty of many arid landscapes. Their unique shape and size and vibrant colors beautify the dry lands of the desert.

10 Desert Plants to Grow at Home:

Desert Rose (Adenium obesum)

desert plants

This flowering desert plant is both beautiful and sturdy. Desert rose is a succulent shrub that features dark glossy leaves, swollen stems, and vibrant showy flowers. The flowers can bloom in many colors such as pink, white, yellow, red, and bi-colors. Apart from the flowers, the unique shape of the trunk makes it a popular choice as a bonsai plant. Since this plant is toxic it is advised to keep a check on children and pets around it.

Tips on growing Desert Rose:
  • Plant it in a well-draining soil mix.
  • Provide bright and indirect sunlight.
  • Water regularly during the growing season and reduce it in winter.


desert plants

Commonly known as American aloe this plant is native to Mexico and Texas. These large desert plants are often used in landscaping and are known for their spiral-shaped foliage, thick pointed leaves, and blue-gray color. These plants look similar to cactus but are succulents. They are mainly grown for their symmetrical and different-colored foliage.

Tips on growing Agave:
  • Use a well-draining soil mix.
  • Provide bright and indirect sunlight.
  • Requires less and irregular watering.

Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora)

desert plants

Red yucca is a succulent plant that resembles the grassy clump of a yucca plant. These plants in the desert feature long, strap-like leaves, with a blue-green hue. Its flowers bloom in shades of red, yellow, and coral. This plant is a great addition to any rock garden it also works as a great pollinator plant and attracts hummingbirds with its nectar-rich flowers.

Tips on growing Red Yucca:
  • Use a well-draining soil mix.
  • These plants are drought-tolerant and can be watered sparingly once established.
  • Red Yucca thrives in full sun or partial shade.

Aloe Vera

desert plants

Aloe vera is one of the most common desert plants that are grown in the home. These plants are not only beautiful but also provide many benefits. Aloe vera foliage is filled with a gel that is used to treat burns and scars and even improves skin health. Not only that but aloe vera is also an edible plant that is used as an ingredient in many smoothies and juices as it helps in digestion and boosts intestinal health.

Tips on growing Aloe Vera:
  • Provide bright indirect sunlight.
  • Water infrequently but deeply. Overwatering can cause root rot.
  • Use a well-draining soil mix.

Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia spp.)

edible plants

Cactus is a true desert-born plant. It thrives in arid conditions with dry weather. Cactus are very low-maintenance desert plants and come in many different species with distinctive shapes and sizes. Among such is the prickly pear cactus which is famous for its paddled-shaped stems covered with spikes. These plants in the desert produce beautiful flowers and edible fruits known as “prickly pears” that is high in vitamin C.

Tips on growing Pricky Pear Cactus:
  • Use well-draining soil such as sandy or rocky soil.
  • Plant them under full sun.
  • Water irregularly and let the soil dry out between watering.
  • Be careful of spines while performing any plant care activities.

Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifloia)

Joshua Tree is another yucca that has a tree-like appearance. These plants in the desert are famous for their tall and thick branches, spiky leaves, and blooms of beautiful white flowers. This tree can reach up to a height of 40 feet (12 meters) so it is best suited for outdoor gardens.

Tips on growing Joshua Tree:
  • Provide full sun exposure.
  • Require minimal water once established.
  • Provide ample space for its outstretched branches.

Pink Fairy Duster (Calliandra eriophylla)

The fairy duster is a low-growing shrub that produces beautiful bright red or pink flowers. Each flower consists of numerous long and fluffy stamens hence the name “fairy duster”. This plant is native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Fairy duster adds a touch of beauty to your garden and also attracts many pollinators.

Tips on growing Fairy Duster:
  • Use well-draining soil such as sandy or loamy.
  • Provide 6-8 hours of direct sunlight.
  • Water the plant deeply but irregularly.
  • Lightly prune any dead or damaged branches that you notice.

Desert Marigold (Baileya multiradiata)

Desert marigold also known as paper daisy is a perennial plant that blooms some of the most beautiful and vibrant desert flowers. This plant features silver-gray foliage and bright yellow daisy-like flowers. Though this plant isn’t that tall it can’t be grown as an indoor plant as it needs full sun exposure.

Tips on growing Desert Marigold:
  • Use sandy or gravelly soil.
  • Provide full sun exposure for at least 6-8 hours.
  • Desert marigolds are drought-tolerant once established.
  • Prune any dead flower or unusual growth to produce more blooming.

Desert Mariposa Lily (Calochortus kennedyi)

This plant is native to the regions of the southern United States and northern Mexico. It is another flowering plant that blooms large and showy flowers that looks similar to a lily. The color of these flowers can vary from red, and pink to lavender, and white. The petals of the flower feature striking patterns.

Tips on growing Desert Mariposa Lily:
  • Plant it in a sunny location.
  • Use well-draining soil.
  • Water irregularly and let the soil dry out in between waterings.
  • Let the flowers die naturally as they can nourish the bulb for the next season.

Desert Ironwood (Olneya tesota)

These desert plants are native to the Sonoran desert in the southwestern United States. It features dense dark green foliage. The leaves are leathery and elliptical in shape and are arranged in an alternate pattern on the branch. In spring the tree produces clusters of purple flowers. Furthermore, the wood of this tree is very dense and durable and is used by Native Americans to craft tools and artifacts.

Tips on growing Desert Ironwood:
  • Use rocky or sandy soil for planting.
  • Needs regular watering only during the initial period.
  • Remove any dead or damaged branches.


Desert plants are some of the easiest to grow plants if you can provide them with desert-like arid and harsh conditions. These plants in the desert can be beneficial in many ways as all plants are. Though it should be noted that most of these plants have some specific requirements that should be kept in mind while cultivating them. But once established these desert plants can enhance any garden with their aura.

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