21 Flowers To Grow in the 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.

Zinnia flower in Arizona garden

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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. Sometimes you just want some bright flowers to shake things up.

Picking the right heat-resistant flowering plants can be a challenge. Not only in finding them, but also in making sure they will thrive within your garden environment.

Because we know just how hard it is to get plants to thrive in the desert, we’ve put together a list of flowering plants to try out in your Arizona garden. Let’s take a look at our favorites!

Amaranth

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Love-Lies-Bleeding Amaranth Seeds

Sunflower

Mongolian Giant Sunflower Seeds

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Mongolian Giant Sunflower Seeds

Zinnia

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Senora Zinnia Seeds

Amaranth

Close up of amaranth (Amaranthus) in the garden.
These flowers can resist drought, heat, and neglect; a perfect Arizona flower.
botanical-name botanical name Amaranthus spp.
plant-type plant type Annual
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Amaranth is a tall flowering plant that likes full sunlight. It is 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 direct sown outdoors between March and mid-July. It will then bloom from April until October.

This plant grows well outdoors and is a perfect flower for dried arrangements as the color doesn’t fade with drying. If you don’t want a massive patch of amaranth next year, harvest flowers often. Amaranth seeds are high in number and viability.

Angelonia

Purple angelonias in a field.
This flower will bloom all summer long and attract a variety of different pollinators to your garden.
botanical-name botanical name Angelonia spp.
plant-type plant type Annual
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

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, as long as there is no frost or cold snaps. It’s also known as summer snapdragon, as it can handle heat easily.

This Arizona flower grows well in earth or containers and likes occasional fertilization. Plant by transplant in spring for best results. Grow yours in a container, or as a bedding plant.

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

Baja Fairy Duster

Orange flower of Calliandra californica or Baja fairy duster, an ideal Arizona flower.
These flowers are known to be disease and pest-resistant and are low-maintenance.
botanical-name botanical name Calliandra californica
plant-type plant type Perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-12

Baja fairy duster is a unique flowering bush that produces 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 duster blooms in the summer and fall and is appealing to hummingbirds, butterflies, and birds.

This plant is ideal for Mediterranean and desert gardens. It rarely attracts disease or pests and doesn’t require pruning. It loves full sunlight. Much like its other relatives in the Legume family, the leaves fold up overnight in a process called nyctinasty. The evolutionary function of nyctinasty is still under research.

Bearded Iris

Purple Bearded Iris
These flowers come in a variety of different colors and shades and can tolerate full sun.
botanical-name botanical name Iris x germanica
plant-type plant type Perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-10

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

Bearded irises can withstand droughts and should be planted between July and September in Arizona. They bloom from early spring through early summer and make 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

Yellow Black-Eyed Susan flowers (Rudbeckia Hirta), a suitable flower for Arizona gardens.
Although these flowers do well in this sunny state, they do prefer some afternoon shade.
botanical-name botanical name Rudbeckia hirta
plant-type plant type Perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Black-eyed Susans are bright yellow flowers with dark centers that can catch the eye of passersby. Some cultivars, like ‘Cherokee Sunset’, have orange hues and double flowers. They should be planted from October to March from 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 as an Arizona flower. Do not water the top of the plant as the flowers and leaves are prone to mildew.

To maintain full blooms, deadhead often during the flowering season. If you want to allow yours to reseed, leave the heads on at the end of the season. These seedheads attract and feed songbirds.

Butterfly Weed

Orange butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa).
These flowers can tolerate drought and poor soil conditions.
botanical-name botanical name Asclepias tuberosa
plant-type plant type Perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

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 18 to 24 inches high and can spread to great widths. It doesn’t need much water or care after establishment, and will grow happily under the full force of the sun, making it an ideal flower for Arizona gardeners.

This plant is drought-tolerant and will even grow in dry, rocky, and salty soil.

Coreopsis

Yellow coreopsis
These flowers love the sun and don’t require a lot of water. They are also low maintenance.
botanical-name botanical name Coreopsis spp.
plant-type plant type Perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-10

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

This plant is perfect for dry, hot, sunny climates like the kind in Arizona. It loves full sun exposure, needs 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. Beneficial insects such as ladybugs and lacewings love this plant.

Coreopsis will bloom through the summer and fall and stands from a few inches to four feet high and 24 inches wide.

Daylily

Red daylily (Hemerocallis) suitable for planting in Arizona.
These plants thrive best in the sun and will attract all sorts of pollinators.
botanical-name botanical name Hemerocallis spp.
plant-type plant type Perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

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. Some species of daylilies are classed as invasive. However, there are many that aren’t aggressive in the garden too.

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. Add a few plantings here and there for pops of vibrancy.

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

Dianthus

Pink dianthus blooms surrounded by green leaves in the garden.
Another unique flower, dianthus can be planted as a perennial, biennial, or annual.
botanical-name botanical name Dianthus spp.
plant-type plant type Annual or Perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

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

Dianthus like full and partial sunlight and don’t need much water. These plants are drought-tolerant and easy to grow. They grow well in containers and soil where they can spread out. Each plant usually reaches between 4 to 36 inches tall and 12 to 24 inches wide. This makes dianthus 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 spent flowers to make room for new blooms.

Gaillardia

Drought-tolerant gaillardia flowers with red and yellow petals.
Also known as the blanket flower, gaillardia loves high-sun environments.
botanical-name botanical name Gaillardia spp.
plant-type plant type Perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Another sun-loving Arizona flower, 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 hotter conditions with ease.

Gaillardias come in several lovely colors, like the red and yellow of the ‘Goblin’ cultivar, and usually stand at around 24 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. If you want to maintain a tidy appearance, cut blanket flowers back to about six inches ahead of winter.

Lantana

Orange and yellow flowers of Lantana camara.
Lantanas are perennial flowers in Arizona and love growing in full sun.
botanical-name botanical name Lantana camara
plant-type plant type Perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7-11

Lantana flowers are vibrant and grow in small clusters that open in succession. 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.

Unfortunately, lantana is 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

Fluffy purple liatris flowers in the garden.
This plant has beautiful lavender-colored blooms and thrives in full sun.
botanical-name botanical name Liatris spp.
plant-type plant type Perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

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

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

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

Lisianthus

Purple Eustoma, commonly known as lisianthus, suitable for growing as an Arizona flower.
These flowers can tolerate the heat but they will need moist soil in order to thrive.
botanical-name botanical name Eustoma spp.
plant-type plant type Perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-10

Lisianthus can be a difficult plant to propagate from seed, 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, as long as they have moist soil and regular feeding. They need rich soil and deadheading after the first bloom.

Shorter varieties can be grown in pots, and moving them to warmer areas of the garden in winter will help keep them alive.

Penstemon

Pink Penstemon flower stalks growing in the garden.
The bright variety of colors to choose from will make a huge impact in any garden.
botanical-name botanical name Penstemon spp.
plant-type plant type Perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-8

Penstemon is another stalk-forming plant that produces bright, breathtaking flowers. It grows in full sun and partial shade and usually stands around 10 to 24 inches high and 18 to 24 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 have pink flowers with white centers. Other cultivars have lavender, pastel pink, and deep mauve blooms.

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

Peony

Pink peony flower from the Paeonia plant.
These whimsical flowers have big beautiful blooms that will last all summer long and into fall.
botanical-name botanical name Paeonia spp.
plant-type plant type Perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8

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 attract bees and 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 have a lovely scent, 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 as an Arizona flower. 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

Pink periwinkle flowers (Catharanthus roseus).
Add a splash of color throughout your garden with these small yet impactful little flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Catharanthus roseus
plant-type plant type Perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

Periwinkle makes bright and adorable little blooms that liven up the base of any Arizona flower garden. Periwinkle is a hardy plant that creates abundant and vivacious blooms. It reseeds easily and can 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

Purple salvia in full sun.
These blooms are long lasting and will bloom from April all the way to December.
botanical-name botanical name Salvia spp.
plant-type plant type Perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-10

Salvia comes in many majestic colors that will saturate your garden. It is a steadfast plant that blooms from April through December and grows happily in containers or in the ground.

Salvia is drought-tolerant and reseeds easily. Butterflies and hummingbirds love this plant. It’s a perfect choice for dry garden beds in sun and shade alike. Plant yours with other xeric plants for a water-wise landscape.

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 to keep its appearance tidy. Do not overwater salvia. You should let it dry out between waterings to prevent root rot.

Sunflower

Large yellow sunflower (Helianthus) in a sunflower field.
These giant, sun-shaped flowers can grow to be as tall as 10 feet.
botanical-name botanical name Helianthus spp.
plant-type plant type Annual
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Sunflowers are bright, tall flowers that add color and height to gardens. Sunflowers are easy to grow and tolerant of poor soil. However, 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. Let yours grow and go to seed for a living bird feeder.

Additionally, sunflowers can help other plants grow by acting as a trellis and providing shade. As the name implies, they love direct sunlight. Watch their flower heads follow the sun as it rises and sets each day.

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

Purple vervain flower being pollinated by a bee.
These intricate little flowers will attract all the birds and the bees to you garden.
botanical-name botanical name Verbena spp.
plant-type plant type Annual or Perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-11

Vervain is a brilliant little plant that makes many small clumps of vivid flowers. It stands up to 6 feet high and spreads 12 to 36 inches across. Most species top out at a couple of feet.

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 and pollinators.

Certain species of 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

Close up of pink and yellow yarrow flowers.
These little flowers are drought-tolerant and very low maintenance.
botanical-name botanical name Achillea millefolium
plant-type plant type Perennial
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Yarrow is a resilient plant that can take high heat and full sun. It is 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 up to 36 inches tall and wide. Yarrow looks nice among other stalk plants and as a cut flower. It’s a great filler, and looks lovely in dried arrangements.

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

Zinnia

Masses of colorful zinnia flowers in the garden.
These gorgeous flowers will attract tons of different pollinators to your yard or garden.
botanical-name botanical name Zinnia spp.
plant-type plant type Annual
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Zinnias are the perfect Arizona flower 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 disease, so be sure to only water the base.

They are low maintenance and easy to grow and attract bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and beneficial insects. There are so many unique varieties to choose from, like ‘Lilliput’ or ‘Benary’s Giant’.

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 proves that it isn’t 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.

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