New Mexico Friendly Shrubs

Arizona Rosewood

Arizona Rosewood, Vauquelinia californica, is an outstanding, multi-trunked evergreen shrub for New Mexico and would look great in any xeric landscaping.  This plant has low water requirements once established.  They prefer not to be pruned or sheared when young but over time can be pruned into a small tree.  They thrive with little to no maintenance. Their branches are a rich, dark brown hard wood with some red streaks and sometimes twisted.

They can grow in partial to full sun, which is unusual for a xeric evergreen shrub.  They do best with well drained, rocky soil. It’s a slow grower and they will grow to 15 feet high and 10 feet wide.  The leaves are a dark green, leathery, narrow leaf with serrated margins.  Flat white clusters of flowers will appear in late spring into summer followed by small brown fruits. Butterflies are attracted the flowers and the birds love them in the summer thru winter.  The plant is not poisonous, but the fruits are not too tasty to us.

Black Diamond Crepe Myrtle


The Black Diamond variety of Crepe Myrtle are a revolutionary new series that will provide unique beauty to your landscape and instant yard envy for your neighbors! Flawless black foliage emerges in early spring followed by a mass of brilliant jewel toned blooms that will last until first frost.



Boxwood is a reliable evergreen shrub for all parts of New Mexico. The Winter Gem is our personal favorite variety of the boxwoods because of it's durability and beauty. It is also one of the best for hedges, topiaries and spirals. They grow slowly up to 3-5'.

Crepe Myrtle


Lagerstroemia are perfect for our long hot summers here in New Mexico and bloom all summer long. Their flowers will have crinkly petals, crepe like flowers in clusters of white, pink, red and purple. The glossy green leaves turn to orange reds in fall. Mature heights range from 2'-12' depending on variety. They are the last to leaf out in spring but well worth the wait.



Forsythia x intermedia is one of the earliest of the spring bloomers; making a delightfully early appearance which will add to the feeling that spring is on the way. The brilliant yellow flowers will come out in early march and some will last until April followed by long, dark green lush leaves. Average height is 6'-10' depending on variety. 'Spring Glory' and 'Magical Gold' are spectacular varieties of forsythia. Prune after flowering.

Indian Hawthorn


Indian Hawthorn has the most beautiful flower out of the whole broad leaf evergreen group. A mass of pink or white flowers in the spring contrast beautifully with glossy green foliage. This all purpose shrub attains heights of 2-10', depending on variety.


Junipers come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors from ground covers to tall stately trees. They are all low maintenance and most are fast growing. Junipers are drought tolerant after establishment and will tolerate our alkaline soils extremely well, which makes them perfect for New Mexico. They are also very cold hardy and deer resistant. Most varieties do well for topiary or bonsai.

Blue Point Juniper Juniperus chinensis 'Blue Point' has glowing blue green foliage on a densely branched, pyramidal form that will maintain it's shape easily and will grow up to 12' by 8'.

Skyrocket Juniper or Juniperus scopulorum has a dusty green gray foliage that grow to a very narrow column up to 15'-20' high and 2'-3' wide. They would make a great evergreen screen or windbreak or stand alone nicely. This versatile plant can go into a landscape or container.

Spartan Juniper or Juniperus chinesis 'Spartan' is a handsome, fast growing evergreen that forms a stately, dark green, densely branched column, about 15' wide by 3' wide. These are a great choice for a evergreen screen, windbreak or easily go into a formal setting.

Wichita Blue Juniper or Juniperus scopulorum 'Wichita Blue' is a gorgeous evergreen silver-blue tree that grows to a pyramidal shape up to 10'-15' high and 4'-6' wide. These are in the same family of the Rocky Mountain Junipers and are very long lived, about 70 years.



Syringa vulgaris is one of the most durable spring flowering shrubs out there. The lilac will tolerate our alkaline soils as well as our sometimes extreme weather. There are so many varieties to choose from and many varieties are fragrant. Standard varieties grow 8' to 12' tall. Dwarf can brow to 3' to 4'. We recommend Angel White, Blue Skies, Charles Jolly, Common Lilac, Lavender Lady, Ludwig Spaeth, Miss Kim, President Lincoln and Sensation. The Bloomerang Lilac is a repeat bloomer. Lilac flowers should be pruned right after flowering.



One of the most recognizable shrubs (not a cactus) around. They are a large thorny shrub with long canes growing up from the base. For much of the year they may appear to be dead, but they are not! After a good rain, the ocotillo will flush out with lovely lush green leaves and often followed by a bright crimson red flower at the end of the canes.

Ocotillo is very well suited to our area as they love our hot sun, open spaces and sandy, rocky and well drained soil. They do well with little to no water from us, rain water is usually enough.  They can grow to 8' – 15' high by 5' to 8' wide. They are gorgeous in a southwest landscape design or as a living fence when planted on the perimeters of a property. They attract native bees and hummingbirds.



Potentilla fruticosa is a hardy shrub adapted from the Rocky Mountains to our desert climate. These shrubs bloom intermittently from spring to fall, with a buttercup style of flowers in yellow, orange, pink and white with bright green foliage. They will grow to 2-'4' high and wide will tolerate our drought and heat. They love sunny locations with a little shade, slight acidic and moist, well drained soil. Also known as Cinquefoil.



Pyracantha species and hybrids are a versatile, colorful and a vigorous evergreen shrub. It is often grown as a hedge but could be also used as a specimen or grown in a container. They are also useful as a security barrier for privacy and breaks against wind. They will tolerate our alkaline soils, heat and drought though they will need to be established to ensure they will be completely drought tolerant. Their leaves are a glossy dark green with small white flowers that emerge in spring and winter.



Roses are one of the most popular garden plants out there. They come in all shapes, sizes, color and fragrances. Everyone can grow roses as they are relatively easy and only require a small amount of maintenance and care, with a large reward of beautiful flowers. Roses do best in sunny locations, preferably 6 hours of sun or more. With our abundant sun shine, roses make a great choice for New Mexico. Many varieties cease to bloom when summer temperatures are above 90 degrees, so a location that is protected from late afternoon sun may give better results for some. Roses grow best in well-drained, fertile loam soils. Pruning roses is best in late March.

Hybrid Teas are probably the most popular and familiar of all types of roses. They produce one large, classic shaped bloom per stem. They usually bloom in flushes from April/May through first frost, especially if the spent blooms are cut off.

Grandiflora roses produce blooms similar to hybrid teas except they bloom in clusters. They bloom in flushes from April/May through first frost. Again, be sure to deadhead the spent flowers.

Floribunda produce medium to small blooms in large clusters or sprays. The floribunda is popular for it's continuous supply of bloom and color.

Miniature roses come in all colors, shapes and sizes but the blooms are miniature. Plant size can vary from small to large depending on the variety and growing conditions. Miniature roses bloom profusely and make wonderful plants for borders and pots. Blossoms can be single blooms and clusters of blooms.

Shrub roses provide a wide range of growth habits that will fit into formal or informal gardens. With good disease resistance, continuous blooms and a wonderful range of colors, they are easy to grow and will provide a beautiful and carefree garden.

Large Flowered Climbers grow extra long canes and produce one large mass of blooms in the spring with sparse and intermittent blooms throughout the rest of the summer.

David Austins are a collection of English roses that have been bred by David Austin for their beautiful blooms and fragrance. Most are shrub roses.

Mohave pyracantha is an upright shrub that will quickly grow to 12' high by 12' wide. These are highly valued for their huge masses of red orange berries that create a spectacle of fall color.

Victory Pyracantha is a bold, upright shrub that grows up to 8-10' by 6-8'. It grows an intense display of red berries.

Rose of Sharon


Hibiscus syriacus or Althaea is an attractive deciduous shrub that blooms in pastels of white, pink, purple and blue flowers depending on variety. The hollyhock shaped flowers can be single or double. The leaves are three lobed and coarsely toothed. This sturdy shrub can grow 6' to 10' tall, and depending on variety, can make a perfect specimen plant or a great screen when grown in groups. Flowers are produced on new wood so prune in late winter to early spring to get the desired shape and size. Grows best in full sun and medium water.

The 'Diana' Rose of Sharon has pure white, 5 inch, ruffled flowers with leathery, dark green leaves and grows up to about 8' high.

The 'Helene' Rose of Sharon has 4" long, white ruffled flowers, with a reddish purple center with rich green leaves and will grow up to 6'-9' high.

The 'Aphrodite' has 4 inch long pink flowers with dark red center with dark green foliage and will grow up to about 10' high.

The 'Minerva' has 3" lavender flowers with a dark red center, dark green foliage and will grow up to 10' high.

The 'Collie Mullens' has rose pink semi double flowers, green foliage and will grow up to 10' high.

The 'Blue Chiffon' has 3" long vibrant blue flowers with a small red central eye and can get to 12' tall and 6' wide.



Rosemarinus officinalis is a fine-leafed, aromatic evergreen shrub from the Mediterranean that is very well suited for our area. This shrub has upright stems and soft purplish blue flowers that bloom in spring and summer. This shrub is also a culinary delight used for spicing up recipes.



Spirea is a delightful spring blooming shrub with small clusters of flowers. There are two distinct types of Spirea: the bridal wreath type with a cluster of white flowers cascading down arching branches. The other type is a more shrubby one with pink, red or white flowers clustered at branch ends. There are many varieties within this group, ranging in height from 2' to 6'. They tolerate our soils with using compost at planting time.