Whether you grew up here in El Paso or you’ve come from elsewhere in the country or even the world, it’s always good to know exactly what zone you’ve gotten yourself into. The United States is split into 11-13 different zones, which inform you about the climate in the area regarding plant growth and survival as well as the first/last frost. This will help narrow down what plants are best for your perfect little green space.
El Paso falls under Zone 8, which has about 245 growing days, so knowing when the best time to grow which plants are necessary and different plants have different times and needs. If you’ve taken a look around El Paso, you know, or you’ll begin to see just how much of a desert we live in! Most areas will most likely have a type of landscaping called Xeriscaping/Xeric Scapes. This sort of landscaping is a design meant to reduce irrigation use using only native vegetation that grows well in the provided natural climate. Xeriscaping isn’t the only way you can go, and there are plenty of beautiful grasses, flowers, and other plants that can be grown right here in Zone 8. Let’s take a look at a couple of examples of each.
– Desert Museum Palo Verde: The Desert Museum, unlike the native Palo Verde, is thornless. It’s medium in size, still blossoms with gorgeous bright yellow flowers and branches out in an upright canopy. As far as maintenance goes, periodic irrigation suits it best, and it should be pruned young to keep it thin and balanced as it grows. (This will help avoid issues in the future)
– Chinese Pistache: The Chinese Pistache thrives in sunny areas; although it can grow in partial shade, too much shade can distort its round shape. Its leaves turn beautiful shades of red and orange from dark green. When caring for this tree, be sure to water twice a week for the first month; afterward, check the soil once a week and water typically when the first inch of soil is dry. Cleaning up the tree’s fallen leaves and berries will prevent unwanted seedlings.
– Pineapple Guava: This shrub is easy to grow with cute pink and white edible flowers along with a guava fruit that ripens in the late fall. Its best grown in full sunlight, blooms in early summer, requires lots of water during the first growing season, and after a constant but less frequent consistency.
– Indian Hawthorne [majestic beauty variety]: This shrub is much larger but still just as easy to grow with beautiful green leaves and bunches of soft pink flowers that bloom in the spring. These do well both in front and backyards, in full or partial sun, and only require occasional watering.
– Shasta Daisies: Shasta Daisies seem to be one of the sturdiest of dainty-looking flowers lasting through intense heat and heavy rain. These are also very easy to grow and maintain, it requires a sunny setting, frequent watering and tending to as foliage falls to keep a clean look
– Snapdragons: Snapdragons not only come in varieties of gorgeous colors but also welcome a small friend, the hummingbird! These too require full sun and frequent watering to flourish, adding brilliant splashes of color to your home.
– Vinca: Vincas do best in full sun, shade is alright but too much, and they’ll begin to wither. Weekly watering (so long as the soil does not become overwhelmed with water) will keep them happy and healthy, and since they do well to take care of themselves, deadheading isn’t needed.
– Pansies: Pansies come in multiple colors with a deep dark center that more or less representative of faces. They come in purple, yellow, pink, and other blooms and also attract butterflies. They can be planted in full and partial sun and do the best during the cooler months (early spring or fall). They should be watered regularly to keep them from drying out and deadheaded to keep the blooming going.
– Tifway hybrid Bermuda: Grass is everything, and one of our personal favorites is Tifway Hybrid Bermuda Grass. Maintenance includes mowing at least weekly if you want that clean-cut look as a constant. Although this is a drought-tolerant grass, watering this grass with about an inch of water a week will keep it nice and healthy.