It’s difficult to find good advice on suitable plants for the deserts of Northern Mexico, far-West Texas and New Mexico, because such advice is geographically generalized, which doesn’t address the actual situation in the desert. Within short distances in the desert, the temperature, rainfall and elevation can change drastically.
Best Plants for New Mexico Gardens and Landscapes is the most useful book I have read on this topic. It breaks New Mexico into many zones according to temperature, rainfall and elevation. The book is organized by major cities. The author divides the list of best plants for each locale into categories: trees, shrubs, ground covers, grasses, vines, and flowers. And each category is sub-divided. This method of organizing information is very useful.
Gardeners in far-West Texas and Northern Chihuahua can reference New Mexico towns and cities that correspond to their elevations, rainfall and temperatures.
For example, we ranch and garden in the high-desert mountains of far-West Texas, near Van Horn but 1,000 feet higher. Our home sits at 5,200 feet in an 11-inch rainfall area. While we are only 100 miles from El Paso, many plants that will grow there won’t tolerate our winds and cold weather. After reading this book I realized that our micro-climate aligns with Albuquerque, not El Paso or Alpine.
I have used the 1994 edition of this book for 20-years. The revised edition was published in 2016. It has added schematics for planting, a few photos and several plants.
The revision doesn’t include at least two trees I’ve found useful including the Siberian Elm (Ulmus pumila). In my experience, it’s by far the most useful tree in our area, which is why the original edition contained 21 references to this tree. Notwithstanding that exception, I strongly recommend either edition, both of which are available through Amazon.
Best Plants for New Mexico Gardens and Landscapes
Get these books from Amazon