21 Flowers That Can Survive The Hot, Arid, Arizona Heat

Do you live in the heat of the Arizona desert, and aren't sure what flowers can cut it in the dry, scorching heat? Planting flowers in dry, arid, desert climates can be challenging, especially if you don't pick the right flowering plants. In this article, we take a look at 21 of our favorite flowers that can take the Arizona heat.

Flower in Hot Arizona Heat

Finding the right plants for your garden is hard enough when you live in a temperate climate, but finding ones that thrive in extreme heat can be a lot harder. As an Arizona resident, you may feel that desert plant life isn’t as green as others, and sometimes you just want some bright flowers to shake things up.

But picking the right heat resistant flowering plants can be a challenge. Not only in finding them, but also making sure they will fit your color scheme, or your garden space. You also have to consider if you are planting perennial flowers, or annual flowers. And then there’s that summer heat. Few flowering plants are well equipped to handle it.

Because we know just how hard it is to get plants to thrive in the desert (our managing editor lived in Arizona for years), we’ve put together a list of flowering plants to try out in your Arizona garden, or landscaping space. We will look at flowers, bushes, and ground covers, all that have bright flowers that can add a pop to your garden. Let’s take a look at our favorites!

Amaranth

Amaranthus
These flowers can resist drought, heat and neglect. Perfect for the Arizona climate.
Scientific Name: Amaranthus
  • Plant Type: Annual
  • Geographic Origin: Central America
  • Plant Size: 4 – 6 ft
  • Sun Exposure: Full Direct Sun
  • Plant Zone: 5 to 9

Amaranth or globe amaranth is a tall flowering plant that likes full and partial sunlight. It is very resilient and can tolerate high heat, drought, and neglect. It attracts a myriad of beneficial insects including bees and butterflies, as well as, hummingbirds.

Amaranth should be planted from seed indoors before being transplanted outdoors between March and mid-July. It will then bloom from April until October.

Amaranth grows well indoors and outdoors and is a perfect flower for dried arrangements as the color doesn’t fade with drying.

Angelonia

Angelonia
This flower will bloom all summer long and will attract a variety of different pollinators to your yard or garden.
Scientific Name: Angelonia
  • Plant Type: Annual
  • Geographic Origin: Central and South America
  • Plant Size: 12 – 18 in. tall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 8 to 11

Angelonia is a flowering plant that creates stalks with purple, pink, and sometimes white flowers. It loves the sun and intense heat but grows best in moist, well-drained soils.

Angelonia blooms the whole summer and will grow all year so long as there is no frost or cold snaps.

This plant grows well in earth or containers and likes occasional fertilization. Plant by transplant in spring for best results.

Angelonia will tolerate brief draughts and requires very little outside care. It attracts butterflies and bees and looks good in any part of the garden and large clumps.

Baja Fairy Duster

Calliandra Californica
These flowers are known to be disease and pest resistant and are low-maintenance.
Scientific Name: Calliandra Californica
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Baja California, Mexico
  • Plant Size: 5 – 6 ft. tall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 9 to 12

Baja fairy duster is a unique flowering bush that creates small bristle-like blooms of red, rose, or plum. It can grow up to six feet across and is either evergreen or semi-evergreen depending on the region.

The Baja fairy duster blooms in the summer and fall and is very appealing to hummingbirds.

This plant is ideal for Mediterranean and desert gardens. It rarely attracts disease or pests and doesn’t require pruning. It loves full sunlight, and the leaves fold up overnight.

Bearded iris

Purple Bearded Iris
These flowers come in a variety of different colors and shades, and can tolerate full sun.
Scientific Name: Iris Germanica
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Central and Southern Europe
  • Plant Size: 12 – 14 in. tall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3 to 10

Bearded irises are unique and elegant flowers with curling edges and long, thin stalks. They love the sun but will tolerate light shade, and while they don’t require an excess of care or water, they need well-drained soil and humus-rich earth. These perennial flowers come in a range of colors, from red, to white, and many mixed colors.

Bearded irises can withstand droughts and should be planted between July and September. They will bloom from early spring through early summer and make for marvelous cut flowers. They come in many beautiful colors and make a striking addition to any garden.

While this plant can do well in full-sun, it’s better planted in partial shade in Arizona so it can get a little reprieve from the harsh afternoon sun.

Black-Eyed Susan

Rudbeckia Hirta
Although these flowers do well in this sunny state, they do prefer some afternoon shade.
Scientific Name: Rudbeckia Hirta
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Eastern and Central North America
  • Plant Size: 20 – 23 in. tall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3 to 9

Black-eyed Susans are bright yellow flowers with dark centers that can catch the eye of anyone going by. They should be planted from October to March by seed for the best results.

Black-eyed Susans reseed easily and will bloom the whole summer from June to October. They are also attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.

While they like a lot of sunlight, black-eyed Susans do best with afternoon shade. Do not water the top of the plant as the flowers and leaves may start to grow mildew.

To maintain full blooms, deadhead often during the flowering season. If you want to reseed, leave the heads on at the end of the season.

Small varieties of black-eyed Susans can grow well in pots.

Butterfly Weed

Asclepias Tuberosa
These flowers can tolerate drought and poor soil conditions.
Scientific Name: Asclepias Tuberosa
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Eastern United States
  • Plant Size: 1 – 2 ft. tall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3 to 9

Butterfly weed is an attractive plant that makes large patches of leafy foliage and full clusters of tiny flowers. It comes in a variety of colors, most commonly orange. As the name would imply, butterfly weed is extremely alluring to butterflies and will bring in bees and hummingbirds as well.

Butterfly weed stands from eighteen to twenty-four inches high and can spread to great widths. It doesn’t need much water or care and will grow happily under the full force of the sun.

Butterfly weed is drought tolerant and will even grow in dry, rocky, and salty soil.

Coreopsis

Coreopsis
These flowers love the sun and don’t require a lot of water. They are also very low maintenance.
Scientific Name: Coreopsis
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: United States, Canada, and Mexico
  • Plant Size: 18 – 24 in. tall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 4 to 9

Coreopsis produces wildly full blooms with many bright and colorful perennial flowers. Depending on the variety, coreopsis flowers are either yellow or yellow with dark, red, or brown middles.

This plant is perfect for dry, hot, sunny climates as it loves full sun exposure, needs very little water, and doesn’t require much upkeep.

It is easy to grow and doesn’t attract pests or diseases often. Bees and butterflies love coreopsis, and it is good in droughts.

Coreopsis will bloom through the summer and fall and stands at about twenty-two inches high and twenty-four inches wide with two-by-two-inch flowers.

Daylily

Hemerocallis
These plants thrive best in the sun and will attract all sorts of pollinators.
Scientific Name: Hemerocallis
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Asia
  • Plant Size: 1-3 ft, 3-8 ft
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 4 to 9

Daylilies, as the name would imply, thrive in the daytime sun. They are robust plants that can survive droughts and, without proper care, can take over gardens.

There are a ridiculous number of colors that daylilies come in, and planting a variety is a good way to spice up a garden’s color scheme.

Daylilies flower in the first half of the summer and can be propagated through division every two to three years. This flower attracts butterflies and hummingbirds and requires very little maintenance. Water regularly.

Dianthus

Dianthus
Another unique flower, dianthus can be planted as a perennial, biennial, or annual.
Scientific Name: Dianthus
  • Plant Type: Perennial, Annual, or Biennial
  • Geographic Origin:
  • Plant Size: 6 -12 inches, 1 – 3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Partial Shade
  • Plant Zone: 4 to 8

Dianthus is a gorgeous flower. It produces great, full blooms, usually in shades of pink, white, and red. It makes a ridiculous number of blooms proportional to the size of the plant, so if you’re looking for a lot of flowers, then here you go.

Dianthus like full and partial sunlight and don’t need very much water. It is drought tolerant and easy to grow. This plant grows well in containers and earth where it can spread out. It usually reaches eight to ten inches tall and sixteen to twenty inches high. This makes it a great low growing perennial for around garden borders, walkways, and edges.

Bees and butterflies love this plant, and it looks stunning in arrangements. Deadhead to make room for new blooms.

Gaillardia

Also known as the blanket flower, gaillardia loves high sun environments.
Scientific Name: Gaillardia
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: North and South America
  • Plant Size: 12-18 in. tall
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: 3 to 10

Another full sun-loving flower, the gaillardia grows in almost any soil type, including rocky, salty, and dry soils. It has average to lower water needs and doesn’t require much outside help. This sun-friendly perennial can withstand some hotter conditions.

Gaillardias come in several lovely colors and usually stand at around thirty inches tall and wide. The flowers are three inches across and attract bees and butterflies. They bloom throughout summer and fall.

Gaillardias are drought tolerant and don’t often have trouble with insects or diseases. They are easy to care for but should be cut back to about six inches for winter.

Lantana

Lantana Camara
Lantanas are perennial in Arizona, and are hardy even in full sun.
Scientific Name: Lantana Camara
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Central and South America
  • Plant Size: 3 ft tall and 3 ft wide
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: 7 to 12

Lantana flowers are vibrant and grow in small clusters. They come in many colors including pink, red, orange, yellow, purple, and white. The plant grows as a small shrub and usually reaches no more than six feet tall but can get as wide as ten feet if left unchecked.

Lantana is very toxic and can cause rashes, so it’s best to plant it in an area away from children, pets, and livestock. It makes for nice hedges and borders.

Lantana loves sunlight and is exceedingly drought tolerant. It flowers from late spring until fall and rarely has issues with pests or disease.

Liatris

Liatris
Liatris has beautiful lavender colored blooms, and thrives in full sun.
Scientific Name: Liatris
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Eastern North America
  • Plant Size: 2 – 4 ft. tall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3 to 8

Liatris is a North American plant that grows in tall stalks of two to five feet high and one to two feet wide. This flower is usually pink, purple, or magenta and blooms in late summer and fall. It needs very little water and does well in droughts, as well as in rocky and dry soil.

Liatris hardly ever has diseases or pests, but it does attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds in droves. It also looks lovely in arrangements.

Liatris create tall stalks covered in many, many bright flowers that resemble the buds of thistles. They flower from the top down and provide food for birds during the winter.

Lisianthus

Eustoma
These flowers can tolerate the heat but they will need moist soil in order to thrive.
Scientific Name: Eustoma
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Southern United States
  • Plant Size: 1 – 3 ft. tall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 8 to 10

Lisianthus can be a very difficult plant to propagate through seeds, so try planting plugs or transplants to start. While lisianthus likes lots of sunlight, it does best with afternoon shade in hotter climates and should be planted in spring when there is no risk of frost. In Arizona, plant between March and June.

Lisianthus will bloom from May to November, so long as they have moist soil and regular feeding. They need rich soil and cutting after the first bloom.

Shorter varieties can be grown in pots, and moving them to warmer zones in winter will help keep them alive.

Penstemon

Penstemon
The bright variety of colors to choose from will make a huge impact in any garden.
Scientific Name: Penstemon
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennials
  • Geographic Origin: North America
  • Plant Size: 1 – 3 ft, 3 – 8 ft
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to Partial Shade
  • Plant Zone: 4 to 9

Penstemon is another stalk-forming plant that produces bright, breathtaking flowers. It grows in full and partial sun and usually stands around ten to twenty-four inches high and eighteen to twenty-four inches across.

Penstemon grows vigorously and blooms throughout summer and fall. The flowers are clustered on the stalks and shaped like small bells. They come in many colors and patterns. Some of the most popular are pink with white middles, lavender, pastel pink, and deep mauve.

This plant can grow in almost any well-drained soil including rocky and salty soils and requires very little maintenance or water. They look good in arrangements, as garden borders, and in amongst other tall flowers.

Peony

Paeonia
These whimsical flowers have big beautiful blooms that will last all summer long and into fall.
Scientific Name: Paeonia
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Asia, Europe, and Western North America
  • Plant Size: 3 – 4 ft tall
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3 to 8

Peonies are extremely hardy plants that can withstand bountiful amounts of sunlight and high heat. They are not drought resistant and require deep, regular watering. They also attract butterflies. There are also many different peony cultivars, giving you plenty of options for your garden.

Peonies only flower for a week or two, depending on the variety, and bloom right at the start of summer. They require little care and last well as cut flowers. Honey fungus and peony wilt are some of the only diseases peonies face, and they rarely attract pests.

Always plant your peonies in a sheltered location with partial shade. Some larger peonies require staking, and all types benefit from fertilizer. While they can withstand the heat, they do best with some afternoon shade.

Periwinkle

Catharanthus Roseus
Add a splash of color throughout your garden with these small yet impactful little flowers.
Scientific Name: Catharanthus Roseus
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Madagascar
  • Plant Size: 6-18 in. tall
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun, Partial Shade
  • Plant Zone: 11 to 12

Periwinkle makes bright and adorable little flowers that help to liven up the base of any garden. Periwinkle is a hardy plant that creates abundant and vivacious blooms. It reseeds easily and usually be brought back from deathly states with water.

Periwinkle should be planted anywhere from March to July and will bloom from April until October. It needs regular watering and can start to look dried out quite quickly if it is not attended to.

While a lack of water will make the plant look dead, periwinkle is quite tolerant of neglect and usually perks up quickly with care.

Salvia

Salvia
These blooms are long lasting and will bloom from April all the way to December.
Scientific Name: Salvia
  • Plant Type: Perennials
  • Geographic Origin: Mexico
  • Plant Size: 5 – 6 ft. tall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 4 to 10

Salvia, or common sage, comes in many majestic colors that will help saturate your garden. It is a steadfast plant that blooms from April through December and grows happily in containers or earth.

Salvia is drought tolerant and reseeds easily. Butterflies and hummingbirds love this plant.

To promote the best growth, plant from transplants in September and October and again in March until May. Cut back spent blooms to promote further flowering and cut back all the way in spring. Do not overwater salvia. You should let it dry out between waterings.

Sunflower

Helianthus
These giant, sun shaped flowers can grow to be as tall as 10 feet.
Scientific Name: Helianthus
  • Plant Type: Annuals or Perennials
  • Geographic Origin: North America and Central America
  • Plant Size: 3 – 10 ft. tall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 2 to 11

Sunflowers are bright, tall flowers that add color and height to gardens. Sunflowers are easy to grow, and are tolerant of poor soil. They do create fuller blooms in richer soil.

Sunflowers will bloom from April to October so long as they are planted between February and July. They also produce edible seeds that attract plenty of birds and other wildlife.

Additionally, sunflowers can help other plants grow by acting as a trellis and providing shade. As the name implies, they love direct sunlight.

Plant sunflowers by seed around six inches apart or more. Cut sunflowers are also quite beautiful. Try single-stem or branching types for some variety.

Vervain

Verbena
These intricate little flowers will attract all the birds and the bees to you garden.
Scientific Name: Verbena
  • Plant Type: Annual or Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: The Americas and Asia
  • Plant Size: 1 ft or less in height
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 7 to 11

Vervain is a brilliant little plant that makes many small clumps of vivid flowers. It stands between six and twelve inches high and spreads twelve to thirty-six inches across.

Vervain loves lots of sunlight and well-drained soil. It can survive droughts and doesn’t need much outside care or frequent watering. Vervain looks wonderful as a garden border or in clumps. It also attracts many different types of birds.

This plant is native to the US. You can find these flowers growing in Georgia, California, North and South Dakota, and Mexico. Vervain comes in a few different colors, and different varieties have different-sized flowers, but generally, the flowers are quite small.

Yarrow

Achillea Millefolium
These little flowers are drought tolerant and very low maintenance.
Scientific Name: Achillea Millefolium
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous flowering perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Northern Hemisphere in Asia, Europe, and North America
  • Plant Size: 24 – 36 in. tall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 4 to 8

Yarrow is a resilient plant that can take high heat and full sun. It is very easy to care for, drought-tolerant, and nearly indestructible once established.

Yarrow makes long-lasting clusters of flowers in a variety of colors including yellow, red, orange, pink, white, purple, and peach. It doesn’t need very much water, and butterflies adore it.

The plant will grow about thirty inches tall and spread over two feet. Yarrow looks nice among other stalk plants and in arrangements.

While it blooms through the summer, you can extend the flowering season with proper deadheading and cutting back.

Zinnia

Zinnia
These gorgeous flowers will attract tons of different pollinators to your yard or garden.
Scientific Name: Zinnia
  • Plant Type: Annual
  • Geographic Origin: southwestern United States, Mexico, and Central America
  • Plant Size: 1 -3 ft, 3 – 8 ft.
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun
  • Plant Zone: 3 to 10

Zinnias are perfect for hot climates as they love full or partial sun exposure but don’t require additional feeding. They do, however, need regular watering, so droughts may be tough on them. Getting the leaves wet can also cause them to burn, so be sure to only water the base and ground level.

They are low maintenance and easy to grow, and will attract bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and beneficial insects.

Zinnias bloom between April and November and are best planted by seed between March and June. They also transplant well when young and look lovely as cut flowers.

Final Thoughts

While it may seem like a daunting task to grow vivid and lively flowers in the dry heat of Arizona, this list should help prove that it is not impossible. In fact, depending on the plant, growing flowers in Arizona can be quite easy.

Whether you want small clusters of flowers, tall stalks, or full bushes, many kinds of flowers will happily grow in your garden. Just be sure to look for plants that like lots of sunlight and aren’t sensitive to drought. Which combination of flowers do you think would work best together? Did you see any that caught your fancy? Sign up for our newsletter to learn more about gardening.

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