What Plants Can I Grow in Albuquerque?

By: Lively Root
October 15, 2021
What Plants Can I Grow in Albuquerque?
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Which Plants Can I Grow In Albuquerque?


So many elements, from a rich history to significant cultural influences, saturate the atmosphere in New Mexico's largest city. This high desert community exemplifies this lifestyle today in several ways, even down to the adobe buildings still in use. Albuquerque has no shortage of character, and best of all for the aspiring gardener, it is a great place to grow plants! Fruit, veggies, and a variety of flowering plants and herbs are all yours to enjoy, so let's take a closer look at what makes this city so great for growth! 



Which Plants Grow Well in Albuquerque?


Because it benefits from a milder climate, you'll have no shortage of options for your lawn or garden in Albuquerque. A great place to start to brainstorm ideas is at your local parks or gardens, as well as any community Albuquerque nursery plant collections. At these locations, you'll see which plants already thrive best in your native climate and soil. Do research on your plants to make yourself aware of which are more sensitive to heat and cold, and you can find what best may thrive in your yard. This fact is especially true considering that Albuquerque has a pretty mild climate, meaning you have more options than many other areas! Overwintering is a great option for any plants too sensitive to the colder seasons, and some extra care can protect those that may dry out during the hottest months in the summer. To get you started, here are a few great examples you can try in your garden:





English Ivy Gold Child (Hedera helix 'Variegata'): Green, star-like leaves ringed in white are some of the notable characteristics of this plant. It's also known for its ability to be quite the climber, making its way up ladders, trellises, and railings to heights of up to 10 feet! A lover of morning sun combined with intermittent shade for the rest of the day, be sure to bring it inside if temperatures drop below 35°F, and let it grow in medium, indirect light if that's the case. English Ivy Glacier and English Ivy Green Ideal are some variants of this plant, both of which love climbing as much as their cousin and just as suited for patios, trellises, and railings. Both have unique vibes and patterns of their own for you to enjoy! 



Agave (Agave spp.): Also known as "Century Plants," these plants are native plants of New Mexico. These succulents love hot sun and heat, are drought tolerant, and are even hardy to colder winters. These plants attract hummingbirds and can have a variety of appearances depending on which type you pick to adorn your space! 



Chocolate Flower (Berlandiera): Looking to bring pollinators such as butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds to your yard? The Chocolate flower is a stunning choice that is not only great for the native fauna but looks unique and has the amazing trait of smelling like chocolate! Often quite drought resistant, this plant has bright yellow petals with smaller, red flowers within the center, a beautiful flower native to New Mexico.



If you're hoping for cold season vegetables, you're in luck! Albuquerque is the perfect spot for such aspirations, and here are just a few available for you to try when February rolls around:


  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard
  • Celery
  • Turnips
  • Onions
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Radishes



Your luck continues with warm season crops if such is your intention, as there are many that thrive in the native climate Albuquerque affords. Hardy veggies are beneficial since they often won't wither in the warmer summers. If things do get on the hotter side, several solutions such as drip irrigation and shade cloth are there to make sure you can still enjoy a bountiful harvest. Here are a few to get you started:


  • Asparagus
  • Eggplants
  • Tomatoes
  • Squash
  • Peppers (Hot and Sweet)
  • Rhubarb
  • Okra



Best Landscaping Plants in Albuquerque


Finding plants that are hardy enough to survive a frost as well as drier, hotter months might seem like a challenge, but thankfully Albuquerque has you covered. There are a wide variety of plants that are hardy here despite the swing in temperatures. See what might be available at one of your local parks or nurseries, as it's always a good idea to check what's most compatible with your native soil and climate first. There are plenty of native plants of New Mexico, so you have a large selection! However, here are a few that are well-suited to the region:



Italian Jasmine (Jasminum Humile): An exceptionally hardy plant for Albuquerque, this one provides lovely evergreen vines that bring green to your garden year-round, as well as lovely, yellow flowers. A big climber, it loves to trellis, and is perfect for fences and railings too, making this plant a great choice for any decorative touches you may want for your lawn or garden!





Canna Lily (Canna Indica): Colorful bulbs are how this plant starts, and when it blooms in any number of its wonderful varieties, it becomes easy to see why this plant is so popular with its vivid colors. Durable to the point of withstanding transplanting for overwintering, even then it will take quite a dip in temperature for such measures, as this plant is capable of being left out over most winter months. If you do need to resort to lifting, replant after the last frost. Also, consider the Bengal Tiger (Pretoria), Exquisite Cleopatra, and the Golden Speckled Tenerife variety!



Which Plants are Native to Albuquerque?


By incorporating native plants in your home or garden, you're already putting yourself on a path for success, especially since these plants have already proven they can flourish in the area. You'll even help prevent soil erosion in the process! What's more, you're also providing reliable food and habitat for the birds and pollinating insects of the area. Check if there's any way you can help any endangered plants in your area that might need a boost to their numbers by talking to your local nursery, and if you're looking for some ideas, here are just a few native plants of New Mexico to give you some ideas:



Yarrow (Achillea millefolium): Plumajillo or little feather are two other names for this native plant. This lovely flower showcases yellow, pink, and red when it blooms in small clusters. Butterflies in particular love this plant, and it's also quite hardy, resistant to drought and pests. Also popular for its medicinal properties, this plant is perfect for borders or ground covers.



Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis): The Desert Willow often on the smaller side compared to other trees, but some are still capable of reaching heights of 25 feet! This plant stands out for how well-suited it is to the environment, as well as its lovely, purple flowers. Don't let the name fool you, as this plant isn't actually related to the willow tree but is named for some of the similar characteristics it shares with the willow, namely its drooping branches. Expect the trumpet-shaped blooms in summer!  



Other Plants that Grow Best in Albuquerque


Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata): With trumpet-shaped flowers of red and orange, this trellising vine can grow up to the heights of 30-50 feet! Flowering in May beside semi-evergreen leaves, it makes a gorgeous addition to any home or garden in several parts of the year, and its flowers will bring a lovely mocha aroma to your space! It's also known as crossvine due to the cross shape at the plant's stem.



Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum aethiopicum): Able to withstand frigid temperatures, the Maidenhair Fern can easily survive the winters in Albuquerque! The delicate green leaves of this plant add elegance to any space. This plant does exceptionally well on partially shaded patios and needs extra care so that it stays moist!



Albuquerque Gardening Tips


Not exactly tropical given its high desert status, Albuquerque is still rife with growing opportunities given how many plants can easily handle its warm summers and milder winters. An extended growing season should also be accompanied by mindfulness, as planting too late or too early can lead to frozen plants. Consult your local Farmer's Almanac or similar resource to set a concrete plan for your growing season, and consider cold frames, raised beds, or mulching as needed. Native plants of New Mexico will do better in your spaces, but you always can branch out! For hotter months, drip irrigation and shade cloth will help your plants through extreme temperatures. 



When Should I Plant My Garden in Albuquerque?


Falling into Zone 7 of the USDA Hardiness scale, you can start planting cold season vegetables as early as February. You can also start seedlings indoors prior to the first frost, about 6-8 weeks, in order to give them a strong headstart. April is perfect for planting annuals in Albuquerque. Once again, be sure to check your area specifically as frost times can vary from place to place and year to year! 


Planting in Zone USDA Zone 7a and 7b


Split into two subzones, Zone 7 boasts a warmer climate than most other regions in the U.S. These subzones are categorized by their average winter temperatures. 7a with a range of 0°F to 5°F, and 7b with a range of 5°F to 10°F. Overwintering can play a more integral part in this region, but plants like perennials are great for their ability to endure harsher cold. Cold boxing and mulching are great solutions for drastic dips in temperatures, but overall, these extremes are exceptions to the milder area that is Zone 7!