Category: Plants at a Glance

Edible Elderberry

Sambucus Cerulea

By Dr. Jacqueline A. Soule More clients today are asking for edible landscaping, and a number now also ask for pollinator friendly landscaping.  To top it off, many want  native plants, and low water options.  Not to worry – there…

Repel Mosquitoes with Landscape Plants

Tagetes Lucida

Zika virus is the latest mosquito borne illness to garner worldwide headlines, but it is not the only one. Zika virus is transmitted by the bites of infected mosquitoes and so are many other deadly and debilitating diseases including West…

Sweet Acacia by Any Other Name Still Smells Sweet.

Sweet acacia is a great choice for desert landscapes, no matter what you call it. Photo courtesy: Arizona State University.

by Dr. Jacqueline A. Soule Our beloved sweet acacia, once know to us as Acacia farnesiana, is now considered Vachellia farnesiana. Why change a perfectly good name?! Some things are just the nature of the beast. Taxonomists change names. Highway…

Texas Sage Success

Lynn's Legacy Texas sage is a standout. Photos courtesy: Mountain States Wholesale Nursery.

By Joe Pearl In the world of Leucophyllums, there are so many choices to be made. Which one is best for a specific location? Which one is going to become a giant plant that needs to be hacked back every…

Fire and Ice and Everything Nice


By Pete Duncombe Much attention has been given to plants from Australia over the years, but the familiar pattern of introducing popular temperate species into desert regions hasn’t always produced positive results. The reality is that species from wetter and…

A Useful Desert Broom

Desert broom offers bright green foliage for the landscape. 
Photos courtesy: Jacqueline Soule.

By Dr. Jacqueline A. Soule Landscapers often face a real challenge with customers from “Back East.” Many times customers complain that they want more “green” in their landscape. Desert broom, Baccharis sarothroides, is one option for the bright green foliage…

The Endearing Prickly Pear

plant 1 0515 Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa

By Steve Plath Few plant types inspire more ire from the professional landscaper or the seasoned Southwest gardener than the thought of intentionally planting a prickly pear (Opuntia spp.) or cholla (Cylindropuntia spp.) in a garden. Yet not many other…

A Penstemon For Every Place


By Joe Pearl With the amount of rainfall this winter in the deserts of the Southwestern United States, coupled with early high temperatures, here comes an explosion of vivid colors in and around our deserts. To pick out one plant…

Sacatone Succeeds in Desert Soils

Alkalai sacatone grass is a beautiful component to any landscape, particularly in areas with extreme environmental conditions. 
Photo courtesy: Alice Newton

By Alice Newton Alkalai sacatone grass, Sporobulus airoides, is also known as giant sacatone, dropseed, alkalai dropseed, or finetop salt grass. It is a tough perennial bunchgrass with flat, quarter inch wide leaves, commonly growing three to four feet high…