Winter Plants in Arizona

Although its climate varies slightly throughout the state, in general, Arizona has a dry climate with hot summers and mild winters. Because of the mild winter weather, many perennials stay green throughout the year in Arizona. Some of these plants take advantage of the cooler temperatures and produce flowers through all or part of the winter season.



  • Native to the southwestern United States, chuparosa is a shrub that can reach up to 5 feet high and wide. The gray-green leaves are cold- and drought-sensitive and fall from the plant in both of those conditions. In the wild, this plant grows along the rocky slopes of the Arizona deserts. The flowers of the chuparosa are red and tubular, blooming even in winter and attracting hummingbirds to the gardens. The seeds produced once the blooms mature are food for quail and other birds, according to Desert USA.


Firecracker Penstemon

  • Firecracker penstemon is a perennial herb that grows in full sun and well-drained soil. This plant is drought-tolerant, needing very little additional water once it is established. The red flowers bloom on long stalks throughout the winter in Arizona’s mild climate. Firecracker penstemon grows to 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide with multiple stalks of flowers. This plant will self-seed, according to the Utah Native Plant Society. If you don’t want propagation, cut the flowers before they form seeds.


  • A profusion of white flowers covers this shrub from February to May and again in late summer in Arizona. Plumbago, also known as leadwort and white desert plumbago, grows to 10 feet long and can be trained as a vine. The small green leaves are evergreen and gain a red tinge in the autumn. This plant is drought-tolerant and grows in full sun. The flowers attract birds and pollinating insects to the garden, according to DeLange.

Desert Lavender

  • Reaching 10 feet high and 8 feet wide, the dense growth of the desert lavender is ideal for use as a hedge or privacy screen. Desert lavender is drought-tolerant and prefers well-drained, slightly sandy soil in full sun. Spikes of purple flowers bloom throughout the year in mild climates, and the small gray-green leaves are evergreen and have a lavender scent, according to Arizona Arboretum.


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