One of the toughest drought tolerant shade trees for Santa Fe is the Arizona Ash, also known as Velvet Ash. Arizona Ash is a southwestern Native that often grows wild in New Mexico. It can grow 25 to 30 feet tall and 20 to 25 feet wide. Arizona Ash is ash tree borer resistant.
A heat loving accent tree for gravel areas or up against adobe walls. Desert Willow is a New Mexico native tree that grows 10 to 15 tall and wide with an open wispy appearance. It blooms with bell shaped white to pink flowers all summer long. It attracts hummingbirds.
Lace Bark Elm
Not to be confused with the invasive Seberian Elm, Ulmus pumila, lace bark elm trees are tough drought tolerant medium sized trees that do not readily spread from seed. Average size is 20 to 30 feet tall and 15 to 20 wide. Good dense shade.
Tough tree for tough locations. Great for parking lots or other hard to grow areas. Medium to large tree, 20 to 40 feet tall and wide, with dappled shade. Very clean tree with little to no fall clean up, no seed pods or other clutter.
Purple Robe Locust
Drought tolerant trees with purple flowers late spring early summer. Upright “V” shaped tree when young rounding as it ages. Grows 30 to 40 feet tall and 20 to 30 wide. Summer prune when young to help shape a strong canopy.
New Mexico Privet
Native to Northern New Mexico. Small multi-stemmed tree adds winter interest with its white twisting trunks. Great tree for under rain spouts where it may receive lots of water for periods and little to no water at times. Great small tree for birds.
Crabapples come in a wide array of colors and sizes. They are moderately drought tolerant once established. Hopa Crabapple is a medium rounded tree that grows 20’ tall and wide with pink flowers. Prairie Fire Crapapple is a good selection for red flowers. Spring Snow Crabapple is a great white and fruitless.
Russian sage is a flowering shrub that truly performs in Santa Fe. Lavender blue flowers spikes atop silver gray foliage June through August. Attracts butterflies and humming birds. Great for bees too! Deer and rabbit resistant. Low water use once established. Perfect for tough hot areas.
A neat rounded shrub that blooms late June until frost. Silver green foliage with masses of blue flowers that are loved by hummingbirds and butterflies. Grows 3 feet tall and wide. Cut back late spring for best flowers.
Three leaf sumac
Three leaf sumac is a drought tolerant native shrub with spectacular fall color. Three leaf sumac is the most drought tolerant of the sumacs. Great for the commercial and home xeriscapes. Red berries late summer early fall. Excellent for bees. Grows 3 to 4 feet tall and 4 to 5 feet wide.
Ericameria nauseosa (formerly Chrysothamnus nauseosus)
One of the few shrubs that will survive with no additional water, once established, in Santa Fe. Chamisa is a rounded shrub with gray to green foliage growing 4 to 6 feet tall and wide. Yellow flowers late summer early. Grows best in full sun.
Butterfly bush is medium to large shrub that will bloom all summer long. Butterfly bush typically grows 5 to 7 feet tall and 5 to 6 feet wide. Great for attracting both hummingbirds and butterflies. Available in shades of pink, purple, lavender, yellow and white. Low to moderate water once established.
Purple leaf Sandcherry
Purple leaf sandcherry is a striking addition to the landscape with its burgundy leaves all summer long. Grows best in full to half day sun. Can grow 6 to 7 feet tall and wide. Responds well to pruning and can be shaped or maintained to a smaller size. Moderate to low water use once established.
Red Yucca, which is not a true yucca but a member of the century plant family, is a heat loving drought tolerant plant with showy red flowers from June to October. The foliage stays green all year adding winter interest to the landscape. Grow best in full sun.