Grasses & Succulents

Notes: Click on the column headings to sort the table. The first click sorts the column into ascending order; the second click sorts in reverse order.

Common names link to external pages with pictures and further descriptions of plants. Links are to non-commercial sites only. Additional information about a plant may be available from the results of a general Web search. Plant and seed vendors want you to succeed in growing their plants as much as you do and often offer excellent advice for selecting and growing plants.

Botanical Name Common Name Size Water Sun Native? Evergreen? Remarks
Achnatherum hymenoides Indian Rice grass 1-2' H & W No to little water Full sun Cool season grass - Leaves green in cool weather, golden brown in summer heat - Useful plant in desert landscapes
Agave americana Century Plant 6' H 10' W No to little water Full sun/partial shade Yes Succulent - Variegated varieties available - Be sure you want a large plant before you buy it
Agave lechuguilla Lechuguilla 10-20"H 8"W No to little water Full sun/partial shade Yes Succulent - Note small size - Colonizes
Agave palmeri Palmer's Agave 3-4' H & W No to little water Full sun/partial shade Yes Yes Succulent - The most common agave found in the grasslands in this area
Agave parryi Parry's Agave 2-3' W No to little water Full sun/partial shade Yes Yes Succulent - 2 - 3' rosettes - Several varieties available
Agave parryi var. huachucensis Huachuca Agave 2 - 3' W No to little water Full sun/partial shade Yes Yes Succulent - Common in the Huachuca Mountains
Agave parviflora Agave Parviflora 6"H 8"W No to little water Full sun/partial shade Yes Succulent - Petite plants ideal for pots or small patio areas
Agave scabra Rough-leaved Agave 4' H & W No to little water Full sun Yes Succulent - Wide gray-green leaves rough on the back
Agave utahensis Agave Utah 1'H 2'W No to little water Full sun Yes Succulent - This species highly variable in form, size, and color - Often forms large clumps
Agave victoriae reginae Agave Victoria Clumps 1' W No to little water Full sun//partial shade Yes Succulent - Slow growing, can stand in ground or pot 20 years before flowering, and then die
Aristida purpurea Purple Three-Awn 12 - 24"H 1' W No to little water Full sun Yes Warm and cool season grass - Purple-tinted stems and flowers
Bothriochloa barbinodis Cane Beardgrass 3'H 1.5'W No to little water Full sun/partial shade Warm season grass - Can be scattered throughout a desert landscape
Bouteloua curtipendula Side-oats Grama 1-2' H 2' W No to little water Full sun Yes Warm season grass - Grows from seed or division - Use in borders or rock gardens
Bouteloua gracilis Blue Grama Grass 1.5' H 1' W Little water Full sun Yes Warm season turf and pasture grass - If used as turf it is not low water use
Digitaria californica Arizona Cottontop 2'H 1'W No to little water Full sun Yes Warm season grass - Lovely silvery seedheads
EchinoCactus grusonii Golden Barrel Cactus 3' H 2' W No water Full sun/partial shade Yes Cactus - Marginal - Best known barrel - Combines well with other cacti and Succulents
Echinocereus pectinatus varieties Arizona or Texas Rainbow Hedgehog 1' H No water Full sun/partial shade Yes Yes Some Cactus - Alternating reddish and pale yellow horizontal bands on stem
Echinocereus triglochidiatus Claret Cup 6"H No water Full sun Yes Yes Cactus - One of nearly 50 hedgehogs - Showy red flowers - Forms clumps
Elytrigia elongata 'Jose Select' Jose Select Tall Wheatgrass 4-5'H 1.5"W Moderate water Full sun Warm season grass - Grows in any soil including highly alkaline clay
FeroCactus wislizenii Fishhook Barrel Cactus 10' H 3' W No water Full sun Yes Yes Cactus - Yellow or yellow-edged flowers in fall - Hooked spines like fishhooks
Mammillaria spp. Pincushions 2 - 6" H No to little water Partial shade Yes Yes Some Cactus - Many species - Globe or cylindrical shape - Keep dry in winter to induce bloom - Many species
Muhlenbergia capellensis Regal Mist 3' H & W Little water Full sun Warm season grass - Spectacular dusky pink in the fall
Muhlenbergia capillaris Pink Muhly 3'H - 6'W Little water Full sun/partial shade Warm season grass - Very drought tolerant, looks better and gets bigger if given some water
Muhlenbergia emersleyi Bull Grass 1.5'H 3-4'W Little water Full sun/partial shade Yes Warm season grass - Feathery spikes are purplish to reddish, fading to cream with age
Muhlenbergia spp. Muhly/Deer Grass Size varies Little water Full sun/partial shade Yes Yes Some native in mild winters - Warm season grass
Nassella tenuissima Mexican Feather Grass/Needle Grass 2'H 2-3'W Little water Full sun Warm season grass - Among finest textured and most billowy looking of all grasses - Can be invasive
Opuntia basilaris Beavertail Cactus 1' H 4' W No water Full sun Yes Cactus - Purplish pads - Very common in Arizona landscapes
Opuntia bigelovii Teddybear Cholla 3-6' H 3' W Little water Full sun Yes Cactus - Marginal - Beautiful, but treacherous
Opuntia echinocarpa Silver Cholla 3' H & W No water Full sun Yes Cactus - Spines not sharply barbed
Opuntia ellisiana Tiger Tongue 4'H 6'W No water Full sun Yes Cactus - Spineless small pads - Tidy prickly pear
Opuntia englemannii Engleman's Prickly Pear 4' H 10' W No water Full sun Yes Yes Cactus - Most common prickly pear in Arizona
Opuntia imbricata Tree Cholla 6- 8 'H 10'W No water Full sun Yes Cactus - Deep pink flowers followed by green fruit - Shrubby when young, then treelike
Opuntia leptocaulis Desert Christmas Cactus 2 - 3' H & W No water Full sun Yes Cactus - Thin stems with bright red fruit
Opuntia macrocentra Purple Prickly Pear 4'H 6'W No water Full sun Yes Yes Cactus - Spines are half white and half dark - 'Tubac' is said to hold purple color throughtout year
Opuntia santa-rita Santa Rita Prickly Pear 4'H 6'W No water Full sun Yes Yes Cactus - The purple coloration of this prickly pear becomes more pronounced with drought or cold weather
Opuntia spinosior Cane Cholla 8' H 4' W Little water Full sun Yes Yes Cactus - Favored nesting plant by Cactus wrens and thrashers - Magenta flowers, yellow fruit
Panicum virgatum 'Prairie Sky' Prairie Sky 4 - 5'H 2'W Moderate water Full sun Warm season grass - Tight growing upright columns of sky blue foliage
Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum' Purple Fountain Grass 5' H & W Little water Full sun/partial shade Warm season grass - This attractive pennisetum variety usually does not self-sow - The green variety is invasive
Sporobolus airoides Alkali Sacaton 3' H & W Little to moderate water Full sun Yes Native - Warm season grass - Showy five foot tall, arching flower plumes in summer
Sporobulos wrightii Big Sacaton 4-5'H & W Little to moderate water Full sun Yes Warm season grass - Arching blue-green leaves form a clump 3-4' high and wide. Feathery golden yellow seedheads nearly double the plants height in late summer to early fall
Yucca baccata Banana Yucca 3' H 5' W No water Full sun Yes Yes Succulent, tree or shrub - Flame resistant - Fruits look like short green bananas - Keep pointed leaves away from walkways, patios,or play areas.
Yucca elata Soaptree Yucca 6-20'H 8-10'W No water Full sun Yes Yes Succulent tree or shrub - Flame resistant - Slow grower - 2' flowers on 3' Annual spikes - Very common in grasslands
Yucca glauca Plain Soapweed 3-4' H & W No to little water Full sun Yes Succulent - In the summer green-white flowers are borne on narrow spikes 4' above foliage
Yucca rigida Blue Yucca 12' H 5' W No to little water Full sun Yes Succulent tree or shrub - Marginal - Dense spikes appear in spring or early summer
Yucca rostrata Beaked Yucca 12' H 9' W No to little water Full sun Yes Succulent - Treelike - Trunk covered with soft gray fuzz - Showy spikes of creamy white flowers
Yucca schottii Mountain Yucca 6-15' H 3-4'W No to little water Full sun/partial shade Yes Yes Succulent - Clusters of white flowers from spring to midsummer