What Flowers Grow Well in New Mexico? (Here Are 12 Great Options)

Many think that New Mexico is mostly a desert, and what desert grows flowers? This can’t be farther from the truth. New Mexico actually has a diverse landscape that is home to many plants.

So, what flowers grow well in New Mexico? In general, the three main types of flowers that like the New Mexico environment are flowering shrubs, herbaceous perennials, and annuals. 

If you’re looking for ideas for specific plants that can adorn your gardens, read on to know what flowers grow well in New Mexico.

What Is New Mexico’s Hardiness Zone?

A hardiness zone is used to identify which plants can survive well in specific regions based on their temperature. This means that you should pick plants that can survive the winter temperature ranges in these zones.

New Mexico’s location on the map gives it a wide range of hardiness zones.

In general, New Mexico has hardiness zones from 4a to 9a. Northern areas like Tierra and Taos are in zones 4a to 5b, while most of New Mexico range from 6a to 9a.

With hardiness zones like New Mexico, you can have an extensive list of flowers to choose from.

When Is the Best Time To Plant a Flower in New Mexico?

A general rule to follow when planting flowers is to plant after the last frost date. You’d want to do this because even the lightest frost can damage the most delicate flowers.

Of course, this isn’t the same for all regions, especially in New Mexico, where hardiness zones vary. These dates greatly depend on local weather, and they can even change every year.

In some cities like Albuquerque, Las Cruces, and Roswell, you can start planting as early as April. This is because they’re in hardiness zones of 7a to 9a, where the last frost dates come early.

For more northern parts like Rio Rancho and Santa Fe, the best time to plant is around mid-May onwards.

Since frost dates are not set in stone, always check your region’s news on the weather before planting flowers.

What Type of Flowers Grow Well in New Mexico?

New Mexico accommodates assorted types of flowers, including flowering shrubs, herbaceous perennials, and annuals.

Flowering Shrubs

Flowering shrubs can give your garden vibrant colors when appropriately organized. You can typically use them as groundcovers or hedge plants to create a colorful structure.


Closeup of beautiful white and purple hibiscus flower (Altheas )

Altheas produce colorful and velvety flowers that start blooming during the summer that can last until early fall. Being part of the tropical hibiscus family, they can survive in drier regions of New Mexico.

You can observe the center of their flowers to be the darkest part, usually maroon, whereas their petals are light-colored.

Some growers steer clear of altheas because of their large size of 6 to 12 feet. You shouldn’t be discouraged, though! Altheas can easily be pruned in the late winter or early spring if you wish to keep them shorter.

Crepe Myrtles

Crepe myrtles are friendly shrubs that can endure the long hot summers of New Mexico. With this said, they’re not suitable for hardiness zones of 4a to 5b.

Depending on the variety, you can see crepe myrtles flowers in shades of purple, red, pink, and white. Their ruffled flowers also give this shrub its own character.

Crepe myrtles bloom starting in late spring and all summer long. If you also stick to shrubs, they can grow as little as two feet.


Before summer even hits, the sweet fragrance of lilacs fills the air of New Mexico gardens.

Lilacs are flowering shrubs that bloom in different shades of clustered purple flowers. The most common variety can grow up to 15 feet tall and 12 feet wide. If you prefer smaller shrubs, they also come in dwarf versions that grow up to 4 feet tall.

To see them bloom properly, you should plant them under full sun with very little shade. You should also prune them immediately after flowering if you want them to continue blooming thick clusters of flowers.


Roses are the most popular flowering shrubs for gardeners. Not only do they come in a variety of colors, but they’re also easily grown. These can be your starter plants to show your friends you’ve got a green thumb!

Roses prefer sunny areas that receive at least six hours of sunlight. If they can receive an abundance of sunshine, they’ll be able to bloom in the summer.

Different varieties of roses also have different characteristics, so it’s important to know their growth habit to choose the perfect one for your garden.

Russian Sages

Russian sages are no strangers to New Mexico. Because they’re hardy and really easy to maintain, they can be found almost anywhere in the state.

Russian sages parade purple flowers that grow from silvery stems. They can easily transform your gardens into a head-turner.

Best grown in warm climates, Russian sages grow in hardiness zones of 5a to 9b. Because of this, they can easily thrive in most regions of New Mexico.

Herbaceous Perennials

Herbaceous perennials create a balance for flowering shrubs. They wilt back on the soil during the winter and regrow new tops every year.


If you’re looking for low-maintenance flowers that can thrive in any condition, daylilies are your best bet.

Their flowers can range from warm colors of red, orange, and yellow to cooler tones of purple and pink. Their wrinkly flowers make them perfect for adding texture to your garden.

Grape Hyacinths

Close up image of grape hyacinths used in article titled What Flowers Grow Well in New Mexico

Have you ever seen upside-down grapes?

Grape hyacinths are famous for their interesting flower shapes. Their name came from their resemblance to grapes, huddled together in single stems.

A group of grape hyacinths can create a sea of flowers with their purple buds as soon as temperatures are high. They do well in all areas of New Mexico and can survive with minimal care.


Certain areas in New Mexico love lavenders, as revealed by the state’s many lavender farms.

Lavenders love to be under the sun and around dry soil, making them perfect for the hot weather of New Mexico.

If you’re looking to upgrade your perennial bed, consider lavenders. Their ruched and delicate flowers create a lovely assortment, especially when mixed with other vibrant flowers.


Yarrows feel at home all throughout the Southwest gardens or in the wild. They thrive in the hot and dry climate of New Mexico.

In nature, yarrows like to spread on the hillsides and roadsides. So, don’t be surprised if you see these tiny white flowers during your walks. 


Annual flowers can help your garden create a lush atmosphere throughout the season. If you’re also waiting for your perennials to grow, it’s even better to add these fast-blooming plants to the mix.

Desert Marigolds

Desert marigolds are the wildflowers of New Mexico. Don’t confuse them with marigolds, which do better in wetter soil. 

With their bright yellow flowers that grow up to two feet tall, you can expect desert marigolds to bloom from early spring to late fall.

With their long blooming periods, they’re sure to color your garden for a longer time.


Among the easiest annuals to grow, sunflowers are particularly adored in New Mexico.

You must be familiar with the most common variety that produces large flowers on the end of tall stems.

Sunflowers can grow up to 16 feet tall, almost as tall as a giraffe. You can admire these flowers from summer to autumn when the sunshine is abundant.


Picture of rudbeckia hirta yellow flower

Rudbeckias, also called the black-eyed Susan, have a slight resemblance to sunflowers. They got their common name from the distinct circle in the center of the flower, similar to a black eye.

You can watch these flowers grow up to four feet with a narrow spread. These hardy plants can last in poor soil as long as you provide them with good drainage.

Final Thoughts On What Flowers Grow Well in New Mexico

New Mexico is home to flowers that thrive in dry climates. Plus, the varied landscapes welcome different types of flowers to prosper.

In the end, knowing what flowers grow well in New Mexico can help you select the right assortment of flowering shrubs, herbaceous perennials, and annuals for your garden.

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