Even in harsh, hot, dry environments, desert trees CANNOT thrive yet continue to create foliage and fruit. The dry, sandy soil characteristic of the desert biome and its minimal precipitation are common. To take in moisture and then store it in the trunk, trees that grow in a desert environment need extensive root systems. Growing suitable drought-tolerant trees in your backyard may provide you with needed shade from the beating sun if you live in a desert climate.
What Kinds of Trees Grow in the Desert? Drought-tolerant mesquite trees, acacia trees, and desert willow trees are among the native desert biome trees. When they bloom, these trees produce abundant foliage and lovely hues. The Joshua tree, ironwood tree, chaste tree, and date palm trees are some of the other desert plants that thrive in hot, dry climates. The following are the sorts of trees that flourish in the desert flora:
- Trees that thrive in full sun are those that grow best.
- Drought tolerance is not possible in trees.
- Desert trees that grow in poor, sandy, or rocky soils.
- Trees that can endure both scorching heat during the day and freezing cold at night.
Some of the most prevalent and well-known trees for desert landscaping gardens are listed in this article. Trees that grow in hot, dry, desert environments may be found growing quickly or slowly.
How to Care for Desert Trees
Growing desert trees in your yard is really simple if you live in a dry climate. Trees that live in the desert must have sandy, well-draining soil and full sun to thrive. Desert landscape trees must be watered periodically after they’ve established. During the summer, you may have to water desert trees every week to ten days in states such as Arizona, Texas, or California.
The Best Desert Trees (with Pictures and Names) – Identification Guide
The most popular desert trees are shown below. Pictures and scientific names of trees found in the desert biome are included in the list below.
Desert Ironwood Tree (Olneya tesota)
The ironwood tree is one of the most magnificent little desert trees. The leaves of this blue-green evergreen tree are found in the Sonoran Desert. You may grow the ironwood tree as a desert bush or small shade tree if you prune it properly. This desert tree is adorned with purple and red blooms in the early summer.
Musclewood and hornbeam are two other names for this desert tree. The hardwood that the tree produces is referred to by these common names. Plant the desert landscape tree in a place where it gets some shade if you live in a hot climate.
Palo Verde (Parkinsonia aculeata)
The palo verde tree is a multi-branching desert tree with lovely green leaves. It’s a stunning species. The tree produces a mound of bright and fragrant blossoms that fill your garden with brightness and fragrance when it blooms. During the dry season, the leaves of this deciduous tree fall off.
The jelly bean tree and the Jerusalem thorn are two names for the same tree, the palo verde. This tree thrives in a variety of conditions and can tolerate drought. For those who want to provide some shade in their yard, it’s a magnificent tree to grow in full sun.
Sweet Acacia Tree / Acacia Farnesiana (Vachellia farnesiana)
Acacia farnesiana, also known as the sweet acacia tree and needle bush, is a desert-adapted flowering tree that grows to be about two meters tall. The wide spread of this acacia tree allows for plenty of shade, and it can reach heights of 20 to 30 feet (6 to 9 m).
As it is deciduous in some climates, the tree can be a mess depending on your climate. In many desert regions, on the other hand, it’s an evergreen tree that doesn’t lose leaves. When they bloom, the tree produces yard fragrance and color with spiky branches and yellow puffball blossoms.
Shoestring Acacia (Acacia stenophylla)
The shoestring acacia is a weeping form desert tree with long thin leaves that reaches heights of over 6 feet and is gorgeous. The fast-growing evergreen desert tree may reach heights of 13 to 33 feet (4 to 10 meters). This plant can grow in temperatures as low as freezing and tolerate scorching heat. This is an evergreen acacia, however it may lose leaves in a drought. Water your tree frequently in the summer to prevent it from becoming a mess.
Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis)
The desert willow is a excellent choice for a small, bush-like flowering tree for shade in a desert landscape. Although it bears willow-like leaves, this is not a genuine willow tree. The tree is drought tolerant and thrives in arid environments. The huge, gorgeous flowers of this desert tree are its characteristic feature. To add beauty and color to a bleak environment, these trumpet-shaped blooms bloom in magenta or purple hues.
Catclaw Acacia (Senegalia greggii)
The catclaw acacia is a little tree that thrives in the dry climate of the Southwest and Mexico, also known as the paradise flower and wait-a-minute bush. Because it only grows to around 10 feet (3 meters) tall, this little shrubby tree is an excellent choice for tiny yards in a desert environment.
The hooked prickles on the branches give this sort of desert tree its common name. In the spring, lovely flowers bloom, filling gardens with pleasant aromas. The tree is a good desert landscape tree because it is cold hardy to 0°F (-17°C).
African Sumac (Rhus lancea)
The little, bushy African sumac tree is drought-tolerant and grows in the desert. This tree, which originated in African deserts and can be trimmed to keep its size down, has a shady canopy. You may let the tree reach its typical height of 20 to 30 feet (6 to 10 meters) if you want a deep shade tree in your garden.
Every year, the small pine-like leaves fall away, making a mess. The fallen leaves, on the other hand, may be bagged and thrown around your yard as mulch. The blossoms are unapparent, but the tree blooms every year.
Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus-castus)
In desert regions, the chaste tree (vitex) can be a tiny bush or medium-sized tree. The Mediterranean plant is native to the United States and thrives in the southwest. This is a great shade tree because of its thick green leaves that provide cooling protection in the summer. The blue to lavender floral spikes that bloom in the summer are a distinguishing characteristic of the chaste tree. This desert-loving plant produces white or pink blossoms in certain cultivars.
Forman’s Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus formanii)
One of the smallest eucalyptus species for desert landscape gardens is the Forman’s eucalyptus tree. The tree usually reaches a height of 33 feet (10 meters) when grown in medium conditions. At the end of the branches, there is a bushy foliage crown. Eucalyptus trees are heat-tolerant and drought-resistant.
Boojum Tree (Fouquieria columnaris)
The Boojum tree, also known as the Cirio tree or Fouquieria columnaris, is one of the most unusual desert trees on this list due to its appearance. The Sonoran Desert is home to this kind of desert plant. Unusual branching and bending are common characteristics of this tree.
At the top of the thick succulent main branch, secondary branches develop. In the desert, these quirky trees may grow to be over 70 feet (20 meters) tall. In the summer and autumn, their creamy white blossoms with honey fragrance bloom.
Date Palm Tree (Phoenix dactylifera)
In hot, dry areas, Date Palm Trees may flourish in the desert and add to the beauty of gardens. Deserts do not suit all varieties of date palms. Therefore, choose the Phoenix dactylifera if you’re trying for a suitable palm tree. Arid and semi-arid areas are ideal for this palm tree. This desert date palm variety can survive long periods of drought and high temperatures. In temperatures below 20°F (-6°C), the palm dies.
Texas Mountain Laurel (Dermatophyllum secundiflorum)
A little desert tree that thrives in arid environments, the Texas mountain laurel is a kind of small tree. You may maintain this tree as a blooming sort of shrub, depending on how you treat it. Because of its evergreen leaves, the small tree is not messy. The desert-dwelling tree belongs to the Southwest United States.
Mexico and the United States are also included in the study. To enliven a spring desert garden, this low-maintenance, heat-tolerant plant produces vibrant purple blooms.
The desert tree Texas mountain laurel requires little watering to create leaves and blossoms and thrives in poor soil. The bushy tree that thrives in the sun appears to flourish in harsh conditions.
Texas Ebony (Ebenopsis ebano)
The Texas ebony will certainly fulfill your needs if you want a tiny tree with thick foliage for your desert setting. The spreading evergreen tree grows to a height of around 25 feet (7.5 meters) and has a spread of 6 to 15 feet (1.8 to 4.6 meters). This little desert tree produces clusters of gorgeous puffy white blooms that are fragrant.
The Texas ebony produces thick foliage, unlike other types of desert trees. As a result, you may combine several tiny desert trees to form a privacy barrier.
Sand Palm (Allagoptera Arenaria)
The sand palm is a little desert plant that is ideal for tiny yards when yard space is scarce. These sun-loving palms have a maximum height of roughly 6 feet (1.8 meters). The large feathery leaves seem to protrude straight out of the earth or container. These plants arch over after growing upward. The coasts are home to these palms. You can, however, plant them in your desert garden because they tolerate dry soil, drought, and heat.
Tipu (Tipuana tipu)
The fast-growing desert tree Tipu has orange blooms and grows tall and broad. This gigantic heat-loving tree, which grows to be around 100 feet (30 meters) tall and 65 feet (20 meters) broad, is not for little yards. As it loses its leaves in the winter and spring, the deciduous tree can get a little sloppy. When it blooms for a brief period in late summer, the tipu tree bursts into gorgeous orange-yellow hues.
Sissoo (Dalbergia sissoo)
This desert tree thrives quickly in full sun and hot temperatures and is also known as the North Indian rosewood. It’s a great shade tree for huge desert gardens, and it resembles an aspen in appearance. This drought-tolerant tree may grow up to 82 feet (25 meters) tall. The bright-green leaves of the deciduous tree are leathery.
This desert tree produces a profusion of tiny pink or white flower clusters in the early spring, which are fragrant. You should be aware that this tree can be a messy tree and the roots may damage nearby structures or walks before planting it in an arid garden for shade.
Acacia Bailey (Acacia baileyana)
The acacia bailey plant is a decorative desert plant that can survive long periods of drought and scorching heat. In desert gardens, feathery leaves provide plenty of cover. The tree thrives in full sun and light, rich soil, requiring little upkeep. The golden-yellow flowers that bloom in early spring are one of the desert shade tree’s appealing characteristics. These fragrant clusters generate cylindrical forms and have a vibrant hue.
Chilean Mesquite (Prosopis Chilensis)
In Arizona and other Southwestern states, Chilean Mesquite is one of the most frequent desert trees. The tree’s vast canopy, which affords filtered shade in the blazing desert heat, is why it is so popular. The Chilean mesquite tree grows to a height of around 46 feet (14 meters) and has a fast development rate. The desert tree produces yellowish puffy flowers in early winter, while the foliage forms long pinnate-shaped leaves.
Texas Olive (Cordia boissieri)
The big dark green leaves of the Texas olive, a slow-growing desert tree, are distinctive. For tiny desert gardens with lush green foliage, the small tree is ideal. This tree is not a genuine olive tree, despite its name. It’s a flowered, heat-tolerant shrub that belongs to the Boraginaceae plant family. The tiny tree produces trumpet-shaped white flowers throughout the year and blooms all year. These trees may live for 30 to 50 years and are considered olive.
Palo Brea (Cercidium praecox)
Palo Brea is a big shrub or small tree that grows in the desert. The trees grow to a height of 16 to 40 feet (5 to 12 meters) depending on the conditions. As it blossoms in mid-spring with yellow flowers, this desert plant transforms into a gorgeous brilliantly-colored tree.
Only after rain does the deciduous tree’s foliage appear on branches. They develop an umbrella form that creates cover beneath them. Since it is a low-water, cold-hardy tree that can withstand the heat and complete sun exposure, this tree is particularly suited to desert settings.
Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia)
The Joshua tree is well-known throughout the Southwest for its picturesque image of dry landscapes. Joshua trees are desert trees, despite the fact that they aren’t really trees but a kind of tree-like succulent. The Joshua tree has thick stems and branches with green balls of spiky leaves at the ends, making it the world’s largest yucca plant. After any rainfall, these desert plants grow quickly and absorb water.
The plant’s extensive roots system, which may extend 36 feet (11 meters) deep, provide the desert plant with moisture. From February to late April, the Joshua tree produces clusters of white desert flowers. Its leaves are evergreen. Joshua trees may reach heights of 70 feet (21 meters) when they are younger, but seldom surpass 40 feet (12 meters).
Mastic Tree (Pistacia lentiscus)
Due to its lush, dense foliage, the mastic tree is one of the most popular desert trees in the Southwest. Because its evergreen leaves don’t fall, it isn’t a messy tree. The tree’s reputation for surviving on little water for many months in harsh heat has made it famous.
The resin, which is employed as a gum-producing and thickening agent, is the source of its popular name. Up to 13 feet (4 meters) tall, the evergreen desert shrub-like tree As an all-year privacy hedge, the tree may be utilized. In desert environments, you may also grow this tree as a dwarf tree.