Conserving water during extreme heat and drought conditions is a challenge, especially with respect to our garden plants. We want to encourage gardeners to conserve water without compromising the health of their gardens, and to that end, the team here at Millcreek Gardens has some advice for you about plants you can find at our Salt Lake City nursery that flourish, even with very little watering.

Even though Salt Lake City has always had an arid climate, drought and heat are making conditions for some plants impractical. While we aren’t advocating pulling up your favorite flowers and shrubs and replacing your lawn with rocks or gravel, we do want you to have color and joy in your yard while at the same time respecting the area’s efforts to conserve water.


Hardy Plants for Arid Climates

1. Cactus

Cacti have always been a favorite here in northern Utah, their spiny hardiness a testament to their ability to thrive even in temperatures over 100. A darling of the Southwest, some cacti love life here in Salt Lake City as well and can handle our cold winters.

Get some mature cacti and create a small cactus garden right in your front yard. Everyone is familiar with the tall, spindly cacti sprouting arms on either side, but get creative with different shapes and sizes. Plant round, fat cacti, tiny cacti with colorful flowers on top and some nice flat prickly pear or cholla cacti that will survive our cold and dry winters.

2. Succulents

Succulents make a great addition to your cactus garden. You can plant hens and chicks, also known as houseleeks, either indoors or out. Their flat, fleshy “leaves” are a joy to behold, and they may grace your yard (or home) with flowers from time to time.

There are literally hundreds of varieties of sedum, and many gardeners use sedum as an attractive ground cover — both leaves and flowers may be colored. Ice plants are another ground cover, and these sport beautiful flowers of every color imaginable.

Yucca filamentosa, with its long, spiny leaves, can grow to almost 10 feet tall and sprout clublike clusters of adorable white flowers.

3. Day Lilies

Day lilies will bring some much-welcome color to your drought-resistant garden, with their orange, showy flowers spreading cheer even on cloudy days. Although we think of tiger lilies and day lilies as orange because this is the most common variety, you can get day lilies at our plant nursery in a variety of colors, including white, pink, yellow and lavender.

One of the best parts of landscaping with day lilies is that you can plant them almost any time of year. And while they are thirstier than cacti (day lilies need adequate watering from time to time) they are an especially hardy plant.

4. Yarrow

Yarrow loves relentless sun, so Salt Lake City is a great place to plant this long-blooming perennial! Once used for a variety of medicinal purposes, today yarrow is a favorite among gardeners who love an easy-to-care-for plant that propagates well. Divide this plant regularly and it will thrive with very little watering.

Taking Care of All Your Plants

While you’re here at our Salt Lake City plant nursery shopping for plants that don’t need much water, consider stocking up on mulch to better hold the water around plants that require more of it.

Count on Millcreek Gardens for annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs, and a wide variety of garden products.