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.