Getting to Know the Cacti and Succulents of the Sonoran Desert | 15'

Getting to Know the Cacti and Succulents of the Sonoran Desert

When you are working to landscape your Tucson yard, you might be exploring plants that will have low watering needs and a high resistance to heat and sunlight. Cacti and succulents will thrive in the climate of the desert, because many of these plants are native to the local landscape, making them ideal choices for any Tucson home. Below you can see some of the most iconic of these plants that might be found naturally right in your backyard.

Saguaro cactus

The saguaro is the crowning jewel of the Sonoran Desert, native only to a few parts of North America—including the Tucson region. These cacti may grow up to 70 feet tall, and they live for hundreds of years. Saguaros are also protected by Arizona law, and special permits must be obtained prior to moving them to or from your property.


There are many yucca plants that grow throughout the world, and about 10 are native to the Sonoran Desert. These flowering trees and shrubs are closely related to the agave genus, and they bear leaves in a similar rosette pattern.

Fishhook barrel cactus

Barrel cacti are some of the most commonly featured in Tucson landscapes, offering a splash of color with yellow cactus fruit on the top. One potential problem that can arise, however, is that barrel cacti may become uprooted as they begin to lean to one direction in the later stages of their life cycle.

Old man cactus

The old man cactus is a unique plant that gets its name from the hairy covering it dons early in its life. Like spines seen on many other types of cacti, the hair is a protective covering on the old man cactus. After about 10-20 years of life, this cactus will lose some of its covering and begin to grow flowers of red, yellow, and white.

As you consider your Tucson landscape design, contact Santa Rita Landscaping at (520) 623-0421. Our residential landscape services can help you transform your yard while utilizing local resources and embracing the beauty that the desert has to offer.

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