Plants and Trees for New Mexico Landscapes

Use this searchable, sortable (by plant name and water usage) reference to assist you in making decisions about what kind of plants and trees to include in your next New Mexico landscaping project. Please note: specific plants may not always available. Check with us.

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Plant NameAppearanceTypeDescriptionWater Use
Althea or Rose of Sharon
Hibiscus syriacus
AltheaSmall tree or large shrubMulti-trunked, but can be trained to a single trunk or hedge trimmed. Large white, pink or lavender flowers with darker contrasting throats. Summer blooming until frost. Prefers full sun and heat.3 Low once established
Apache Plume
Fallugia paradoxa
Apache PlumeLarge shrub
Xeric Plant
Native to the southwest; needs little care. White flowers from spring to fall with rosy pink feathery seed heads. Requires gritty well-drained soil. Full sun.1 Very Low
Austrian Black Pine
Pinus nigra
Austrian Black PineLarge treePyramidal form with evergreen needles. Bears pinecones. Slow to moderate growth. Individuals are decorative or use as a screen or windbreak. Tolerant of urban conditions. High temperature and wind adaptability.3 Low once established
Autumn Sage
Salvia gregii
Autumn SageSmall ShrubThis native to southwest Texas is a cold- tender deciduous shrub at our latitude. Red blooms from late spring to fall. Prefers moderate water but tolerant of some drought. Full sun to part shade.5 Medium
Nolina microcarpa
Xeric Plant
Native to the southwest. Tough grass-like evergreen leaves forming a clump and sending up tall flower stalks bearing creamy white blooms. Hardy in the xeric landscape. Full sun.1 Very Low
Blue Avena or Blue Oatgrass
Helictotrichon semper
Blue AvenaOrnamental GrassNarrow blue-gray leaves form a graceful fountain-shaped clump. Fine textured straw colored flower stems grow above the foliage. Best in rich well-drained soils. Semi-evergreen. Trim back or remove dead leaves. Cold hardy. Full sun to part shade.5 Medium
Blue Fescue
Festuca ovina glauca
Blue FescueOrnamental GrassSmall bunch grass with very fine blue leaf blades. Flowers in spikes. Centers can die out after several years. Cold hardy. Full sun.5 Medium
Blue Mist
Caryopteris clandonensis
Blue MistMedium ShrubSilvery leaved deciduous medium sized shrub. Deep violet blooms late summer and fall. Cold tolerant, Prefer good drainage. Full sun to part shade.2 Low
Boxwood “Winter Gem”
Buxus micriphylla japon
Boxwood “Winter Gem”Medium ShrubCompact evergreen with small shiny Light to medium green leaves. Used most often as a border or hedge. Can be left natural or clipped to a shape. Winter hardy, tolerant of some heat and poor soils, but not extreme sun exposure.5 Medium
Buffalo Juniper
Juniperus sabina spp.
Buffalo JuniperGroundcover ShrubSpreading evergreen with soft green scaly foliage. Tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions, but needs good drainage. Cold hardy. Full sun to part shade.2 Low
Burr Oak
Quercus macrocarpa
Burr OakLarge TreeDeciduous Shade Tree Large deeply-cut lobed leaves. Acorns are have interesting large fringed caps. Full Sun.5 Medium
Butterfly Bush
Buddleia davidii
Butterfly BushMedium to Large ShrubFast-growing coarse textured Shrub. Arching spikes of small flowers attract butterflies in summer. Good to prune back heavily in early spring. Needs good drainage and regular watering.5 Medium
Nepeta faassenii
CatmintPerennial FlowerFlowering plant with soft silvery gray aromatic foliage and spikes of lavender blue flowers. It blooms mid spring to early summer. It is related to catnip and your cat may roll in it. Hybrid does not reseed. Hardy, Full sun to part shade.5 Medium
Chrysothamnus nauseosus
ChamisaLarge Shrub
Xeric Plant
Native to high desert and the Rockies. The whitish stems bear small narrow leaves and fluffy clusters of bright yellow flowers. Needs very little attention, good for natural plantings, revegetation. Full sun.1 Very Low
Chinese Pistache
Pistache chinensis
Chinese PistacheLarge treeDeciduous shade tree with beautiful orange to red fall color. Slow to moderate growth. Can handle alkaline soils, wide temperature range and watering regimens. Full sun.3 Low once established
Colorado Blue Spruce
Picea pungens
Colorado Blue SpruceMedium to Large TreeEvergreen native to the Rocky Mountains. Stiff pyramidal shape can vary in proportions dependent on variety. Does best with cold winters and well- drained soils. Full sun to light shade.4 Low to Medium
Crabapple (Flowering)
Malus spp.
Crabapple (Flowering)Medium TreeOrnamental flowering tree. Lavish white, pink or red flowers in spring. Does bear small fruit. Varieties vary in their disease-resistance. Not all are heat tolerant. Full Sun. 6 Medium to High
Crape Myrtle
Lagerstroemia indica
Crape MyrtleSmall TreeUsually multi-trunked deciduous. Attractive bark. Profuse summer flowers of pink, lavender or red. Nice fall color. Prune in winter or early spring. Full sun. 5 Medium
Desert Willow
Chilopsis linearis
Desert WillowSmall TreeMulti-trunked form can be pruned to have interesting character. Deciduous leaves, Long bloom period of pink to maroon flowers. Persistent seed pods. Full sun.3 Low once established
Elaeagnus or Silverberry
Elaeagnus pungens
ElaeagnusLarge ShrubEvergreen with naturally sprawling form can be pruned to be smaller and denser. Interesting olive green leaves with rough silver 'dust', branches have rusty color. Tough plant can handle exposure to heat and wind. Full sun to part shade.5 Medium
Chamaebatiaria millefolium
FernbushMedium to Large ShrubSemievergreen native to the Rockies with soft ferny foliage. Small white flowers in clusters midsummer. Cold hardy. Needs good drainage. Full sun.2 Low
Forestiera or New Mexico Olive
Forestiera neomexicana
ForestieraSmall TreeNative shrubby tree with small light green leaves. Can be pruned to be a focal point or left natural for excellent screening. Birds love the small fruits born by the female trees. Full Sun. 4 Low to Medium
Gambel’s Oak
Quercus gambelii
Gambel’s OakTreeNative oak with classical lobed leaves. Form varies from small Multi-trunked to large single-trunk tree. Deciduous. Fall acorns. Can spread from roots. Adaptable to wide range of soil and moisture levels. Hardy. Full sun. 4 Low to Medium
Grayleaf Cotoneaster
Cotoneaster buxifolius
Grayleaf CotoneasterSmall ShrubEvergreen shrub with small gray-green leaves on stiff attractive dark reddish brown stems. Small white flowers cover the plant in spring giving way to bright red berries that hang on into winter. Full sun to part shade. Not cold-hardy at higher elevations.5 Medium
Indian Blanketflower
Indian BlanketflowerPerennial FlowerNative composite flowers with colorful Red centers surrounded by yellow. Do well in the hot sun and poor soils with good drainage.4 Low to Medium
Indian Hawthorn
Raphiolepis indica
Indian HawthornSmall to Large ShrubBroadleaf evergreen. Size from 2' to 6' dependent on variety. White to pink flowers most profuse in spring. Prefers full sun to part shade.5 Medium
Karl Foerster Reed Grass
Calamagrostis acutiflora
Karl Foerster Reed GrassOrnamental GrassMore erect arching clump of foliage with very upright golden flower stalks often used in dried flower arrangements. Adapatable, cold hardy. Full sun to part shade.5 Medium
Knock-out Rose
Rosa spp.
Knock-out RoseMedium ShrubCompact shrub rose Deciduous, varieties found with red, pink, or yellow flowers which bloom from spring to fall. Disease-resistant and hardy. Full sun.4 Low to Medium
Lavender (English)
Lavandula angustifolia
Lavender (English)ShrubEvergreen varieties with gray green to soft green foliage and violet blue flowers. Very fragrant. More cold hardy than other lavenders, but still tend to be short-lived. Need very good drainage. Full sun to light shade from west sun.4 Low to Medium
Miscanthus sinensis
MaidengrassOrnamental GrassOne of the larger ornamental clumping grasses with attractive flower plumes rising above the foliage. Cold hardy. Cut back old foliage before new growth in spring. Dividing every few years increases plant vigor. Full sun to part shade.5 Medium
Manhattan Euonymus
Euonymus kiautschovicus
Manhattan EuonymusLarge shrubEvergreen although the dark glossy green leaves may be lost when the temperature drops below zero °F. Useful as a screen or background shrub. Full to part sun.5 Medium
Mugho Pine
Pinus mugo mugo
Mugho PineMedium shrubSlow growing evergreen shrub forms a symmetrical mound. Prefers good drainage. Cold and wind tolerant. Full sun.4 Low to Medium
Nandina or Heavenly Bamboo
Nandina domestica spp.
NandinaSmall to Large shrubEvergreen with light, fine-textured stems and leaves reminiscent of bamboo. New growth pink to bronze turning light green. In fall and winter it can change to reds and purple. Sprays of creamy white flowers in late spring can produce red berries (requires two plants). Prefers rich soil and some shade from hottest sun.5 Medium
Fouquieria splendens
Xeric Plant
Desert native of the Southwest. Clump of grooved thorny stems with occasional small green leaves. Bright orange clusters of flowers appear in hot weather, but not dependable. Not cold hardy at all. Full sun.1 Very Low
Palm Yucca
Yucca faxoniana
Palm YuccaLarge
Xeric Plant
Tall trunk-forming yucca with sharp pointed leaves up to 2 1/2" wide. The dead leaves persist folding down to cover the trunk. Central flower stalk with large white blooms. Not cold-hardy at higher elevations.1 Very Low
Pineleaf Penstemon
Penstemon pinifolius
Pineleaf PenstemonPerennial FlowerNative to southern New Mexico with needle-like bright green leaves and Red flowers thru summer. Small size. Good in borders, rock gardens, as ground cover. Attracts hummingbirds. Adaptable to many conditions, but needs good drainage. Cold hardy. Full sun to part shade.4 Low to Medium
Pinus edulis
PiñonMedium TreeNative evergreen pine with pyramidal shape as a young tree develops character with age. Pinon nuts are edible. Needs full sun and good drainage to thrive. Susceptible to "pine beetle" attack when stressed.4 Low to Medium
Potentilla fruticosa
PotentillaSmall ShrubDeciduous native to mountain meadows that flowers from late spring to early fall. Cold hardy, tolerant of poor soils, heat and drought. Do best in well-drained soil with moderate water supplied. Full sun to part shade.5 Medium
Prickly Pear
Opuntia spp.
Prickly PearMedium
Xeric Plant
Widespread with many species including "Beavertail" types as well as Cholla. Their hardiness varies greatly. Flowers are large, some are shades of yellow while others are pink to red. All bear sharp spines or bristles. Full sun.2 Low
Purple Leaf Plum
Prunus cerastifera
Purple Leaf PlumMedium treeOrnamental shade tree. Profuse pink blooms in spring followed by dark purple leaves. Cold hardy. Full Sun.5 Medium
Purple-leaf Wintercreeper
Euonymus "Coloratus"
Purple-leaf WintercreeperGroundcover ShrubBroadleaf evergreen groundcover with sprawling branches. Leaves green in summer turn purple in fall and winter. Better in full sun better than ivy, but also grows well in shade. Hardy.5 Medium
Red Pygmy Barberry
Berberis thunbergii spp.
Red Pygmy BarberrySmall ShrubSlender arching spiny stems with small finely textured rich red leaves. Very cold hardy. Prefers moderate water and full sun for best leaf color.5 Medium
Red Tip Photinia
Photinia fraseri
Red Tip PhotiniaLarge ShrubEvergreen with young emerging red leaves turning dark green with age. Fast growth and large leaves make it suitable as a screen plant, informal hedge. Can be pruned to tree form or espaliered. Full sun.5 Medium
Red Yucca
Hesperaloe parviflora
Red YuccaMedium
Xeric Plant
Native to Texas and southern New Mexico. Narrow pointed evergreen leaves and tall flower stalks bearing many red blooms. from late spring to early fall. Very heat tolerant. Requires little water, but blooms better with some added water during hottest weather.2 Low
Regal Mist Grass
Muhlenbergia capillaris
Regal Mist GrassOrnamental GrassGreen mounding foliage with a summer show of fine rosy red sprays of flowers spreading across the top of the clump. Cutting back in late winter encourages new spring growth. Full sun. 5 Medium
Rocky Mountain Juniper
Juniperus scopulorum
Rocky Mountain JuniperSmall to Medium TreeNative evergreen has several varieties cultivated for the landscape. Some are quite blue while others may be bright green. All are dense and conical to columnar in form. Prefer full sun.2 Low
Scotch Broom or Moonlight Broom
Cytisis scoparius
Scotch BroomMedium to Large ShrubGreen cane-like stems with small leaves. Many varieties having different colors of blooms. Hardy and wind-tolerant. Also adaptable to infertile soils, but prefer some added acid in alkaline conditions. Full sun.5 Medium
Cotinus coggygria
SmoketreeSmall TreeBroad urn-shaped form at maturity, usually multi-stemmed. As the blooms age they send out a profusion of pink fuzzy stalks. Prefer poor rocky soils with good drainage. Full Sun.4 Low to Medium
Dasylirion wheeleri
Xeric Plant
Native desert plant. Tough evergreen leaves with toothed edges forms a ball-shaped clump. Can develop a trunk of dried dead leaves with age. Produces a tall spike of white flowers. Needs full sun, not cold-hardy.1 Very Low
Spanish Broom
Spartium junceum
Spanish BroomLarge ShrubMany green almost leafless stems bloom with bright yellow pea-like flowers. Fragrant. Can be pruned to fill out. Best in poor rocky soil. Good bank cover. Can become overgrown.5 Medium
Platanus acerfolia
SycamoreLarge TreeDeciduous shade tree with large trunk and branches. Older bark peels off revealing smooth bark below. Leaves are large and lobed. Brown spherical seed clusters drop in fall. Full Sun.7 High
Tam Juniper
Juniperus sabina spp.
Tam JuniperGroundcover ShrubSpreading evergreen with dense blue-green scaly foliage. Tolerant of a wide range of soil types, but need good drainage. Cold hardy. Some problems with pests. Full sun to part shade.2 Low
Thornless Hawthorn
Cratageus crus-galli inermis
Thornless HawthornSmall to Medium TreeGraceful Multi-trunk with small shiny dark green leaves which show off the bright red fall berries. Turns orange to red in fall. Hardy and tolerant of poor soils. Full Sun.5 Medium
Threadgrass or Mexican Feather Grass
Nassella tennuisima
ThreadgrassOrnamental GrassNative bunch grass with the finest leaves is very active in the slightest breeze. Flower stems arch outward with light sivery green awns that last into winter. Can reseed easily. Cold hardy. Full sun.2 Low
Three-leaf Sumac
Rhus trilobata
Three-leaf SumacMedium ShrubDeciduous native with clumping form. Bright green leaves turn crimson in winter. Interesting winter form. Red berries enjoyed by wildlife and good for jellies. Tolerates cold and wind, poor soils, and some drought. Full sun.2 Low
Valley Cottonwood
Populus var. wislizenii
Valley CottonwoodLarge TreeNative variety developing massive contorted trunk and branches. Bright shiny light green triangular leaves to about 4" across turn bright golden yellow in fall. Used as a lawn tree in a large setting. Full sun.7 High
Vinca or Periwinkle
Vinca minor
VincaGroundcover PerennialTrailing evergreen with stems that root where they toch the soil. Lavender-blue flowers occur in early spring. Adaptable to a variety of soils. Can be planted under trees. Not as invasive as the larger Vinca Major. Cold hardy, prefers shade.5 Medium
Vitex agnus-castus
VitexSmall tree or large shrubBroad spreading multi-trunked form with deciduous leaves. Spikes of lavender blooms have best color in full sun. Tolerant of heat and many soil types. Full sun. Susceptible to winter freezing.5 Medium
Washington Hawthorn
Cratageus phaenopyrum
Washington HawthornSmall to Medium TreeGraceful multi-stemmed tree with year-round interest. Covered with white flowers in spring, glossy lobed leaves turn bright orange to red in fall. Red berries persist well into winter. Hardy and tolerant of poor soils. Full Sun.5 Medium
Whirling Butterflies
Gaura lindheimeri
Whirling ButterfliesPerennial FlowerNative to Texas with open airy growth. Flower stalks have many 1" white flowers loved by butterflies. Blooms from spring to fall. Hardy, long-lived. Some drought-tolerance. Full sun.4 Low to Medium
Winter Jasmine
Jasminum nudiflorum
Winter JasmineGroundcoverLong slender arching green stems form mound up to 4' high or cascade down over terrace walls. Good for bank cover and naturalizing. Bright yellow flowers appear in late winter or early spring. Very cold hardy. Full to part sun.2 Low