Chihuahuan Desert Native Plants

 Cleveland Square, Downtown El Paso
ClevelendSq_signs_Main Sign

Learn more by watching our 9 minute video.

In El Paso we landscape with native plants from our Chihuahuan Desert.

Here are some important planning steps to take before you begin your native plant landscape.

Analyze your yard. The key to planting a native landscape with drought tolerant plants is to understand which plants can grow there easily with minimum effort.

Select plants for different zones in your yard including oasis areas that receive runoff from rain and shade, transition areas between oasis area and arid areas, and arid areas the farthest from your home where there is little moisture and lots of sun. Select plants appropriate for your yard.

Study the information in websites above and look for plants that grow naturally in your area. Group water-needy plants near a structure where they will benefit from the shade and runoff from the rain.

Choose an appropriate mulch to help reduce erosion and retain moisture in your soil.

Learn more by checking out these websites

El Paso Low Water Desert Plant List
Recommended Native Trees for El Paso County
Recommended Southwestern Native Plants
El Paso Rock and Cactus Club
Texas Master Gardeners Association

Examples of drought tolerant and native plants growing in Cleveland Square including desert willow, mesquite, yucca, and century plant.

Landscaping with native desert plants that require little water creates backyard habitats attracting birds, butterflies and other wildlife. These mini habitats when connected with other natural areas in the neighborhood can make a real impact in helping provide food and water for local wildlife while also helping our community conserve drinking water.

Learn more about some of our native plants here in Cleveland Square.

Desert Willow – click image to enlarge
ClevelendSq_signs_Desert Willow

This small Chihuahuan Desert tree grows up to 20 feet high. It responds to heavy rains 2-3 times each year with new spurts of pink flower clusters. Although the leaves are willow like the plant is actually related to yellow bells. It provides both color and nesting sites for birds in your yard.

Honey Mesquite  – click image to enlarge
ClevelendSq_signs_Honey Mesquite

This large shrub can actually grow into a nice size tree reaching up to 50 feet. Flowering from March to November; the seeds are eaten by a variety of animals. It is a smart choice for water conserving landscapes and can add beauty, drama and shade to any yard.

Curve-leaf Yucca  – click image to enlarge
ClevelendSq_signs_Torrey Yucca

Yuccas are in the Agave family along with the sharp pointed lechuguilla and century plant. There are over 600 species world wide. Common yuccas in the Chihuahuan Desert include soaptree yucca, Torrey yucca and banna yucca. These succulent plants are smart choices for low water landscapes and most years beautiful while blossoms appear on large flower stalks. You can see a Torrey yucca across the way to the north in the park area at the corner of Santa Fe and Oregon streets.

Red Yucca – click image to enlarge
ClevelendSq_signs_Red Yucca

This succulent plant of the Chihuahuan Desert is also called the hummingbird yucca because its flowers are very attractive to hummingbirds. A member of the Agave Family, it is actually not a yucca and sometimes called red flowering false yucca. It is a very popular desert plant in El Paso and easy to care for.

Ceniza – click image to enlarge
ClevelendSq_signs_Ceniza

This silver-leafed shrub is often called barometer bush because it blooms quickly after summer rains with either pink or purple flowers. Not all desert shrubs are covered with thorns and the ceniza is one of them. The sweet scent of the flowers attracts many desert pollinators including non-stinging native bees, butterflies, moths, bee flies, beetles, and tiny wasps.

Havard’s Century Plant – click image to enlarge
ClevelendSq_signs_Century Plant

The century plant is believed by some to take 100 years to store up enough energy in the leaves before it grows a flower stalk reaching 6-12 feet high. Actually much is still unknown about the flowering cycles for many members of the Agave family. Some may bloom after 10 years. The big yellow flower stalks are spectacular, attracting all kind of insects and other animals including birds and a species of bat that pollinates the flowers at night.


Register your native plant landscape as a certified habitat

See examples of new certified habitats.

The Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition encourages residents to landscape with native plants and create backyard habitats that will attract birds, butterflies and other wildlife. These mini habitats when connected with other natural areas in the neighborhood can make a real impact in helping wildlife such as birds needing trees to build their nests and butterflies needing nectar from flowers. Backyard habitats landscaped with native plants from our local Chihuahuan Desert also help the community conserve drinking water.

Click here to  Register Your Back or Front Yard Habitat !

 

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