City Cast

Why You Should Plant Native Flora

Scott Dickensheets
Scott Dickensheets
Posted on October 31
Photo of hummingbird on native Southern Nevada flower.

Savvy planting is not only beautiful, but ecologically helpful. (Rachel Park/Getty)

As you consider your landscaping during this final stretch of fall planting season, think about putting in more native and desert-adapted plants. They do their part to fight climate change, and have other upsides, too.


Native plants require less water and maintenance and fewer pesticides; they also assist native birds, pollinators, and insects (including those that keep pest populations under control) and are a good way to promote more natural life in your backyard.

“However,” Red Rock Audubon reminds us, “sourcing true native Lower Mojave Desert plants is a challenge. Retail outlets have limited stock and limited varieties.” You may have to rely on “desert-adapted” species — non-native plants that nonetheless thrive in this parched environment.

Here’s a list of some plants suitable for local gardening; also, Audubon maintains a website of bird-friendly native plants; input your ZIP code and it’ll provide a list — in my case, running the gamut from the apricot globe-mallow to the Great Basin sagebrush, bitter cherry to the blue palo-verde, and more.

Where to Get Native Plants

Let’s begin with where not to get them: in the desert. There are legal restrictions on collecting plants and even seeds on public land. Best try such local nurseries as Cactus Joe’s Garden & Nursery, Moon Valley Nurseries, or Las Vegas Tree Nursery.

Break Out the Gardening Gloves Now!

While it’s not impossible to plant during the winter months — this is the desert, after all — the optimal fall planting season generally extends to mid-November. So there’s still time to poke a few globe-mallows into your soil.

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