Search for Beautiful Water-Wise Plants


You will love searching here for the best plants to satisfy your landscape needs for your Southwest yard! Click on the image below to search all categories. Our Water-Wise Plant Data Base includes hundreds of plants, both native and non-native, that are water-wise, drought-tolerant, available at Southern California nurseries, and that are cold-hardy in our cool desert winters but still stand up to our extreme summer heat. We have included a special category of “California Native Plants”, so gardeners who want to grow plants native to our area can find them all in one location in our database. See below for a discussion of USDA Hardiness Zones, Sunset Climate Zones, and cold hardiness, and how they each relate to our region.

Start your plant search here:


~ USDA Hardiness Zones are based on the average annual minimum winter temperature. This system divides North America into 11 separate zones. Each zone is 10°F warmer, or colder, in an average winter than the adjacent zone. Zone 1 is the coldest; zone 11 is the warmest. In the Mojave Desert, we are predominately within USDA Zone 8, based on our winter low temperatures that indicate where a plant may survive the winter. Our lower, Colorado Desert is predominately within USDA Zones 9 and 10.

~ Sunset Climate Zones are based on the combination of climatic factors that affect a plant’s total performance, including length of growing season, timing and amount of rainfall, winter lows, summer highs, wind, and humidity. Sunset climate zones indicate where a plant will thrive year-round. Sunset magazine classifies 33 western zones, numbered from harshest (Zone 1) to mildest (Zone 33), and organized by region from north to south. The boundaries of each of these unique zones are a function of six geographic and climactic factors: latitude, elevation, ocean influence, continental air influence, mountains and hills, and local terrain. Taken together, these factors determine what will grow well in your garden and what won’t. In the Mojave Desert, we are predominately within Sunset Zone 11 (“Medium to High Deserts of California”), based on many climatic and geographic factors that influence where a plant may perform the best year-round. Our lower, Colorado Desert is predominantly within Sunset Zone 13 (“Low or Subtropical Desert Areas”).

~ Cold Hardiness is shown in degrees Fahrenheit. This is the minimum temperature the plant can tolerate without suffering lasting damage.