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Desert Holly

Atriplex hymenelytra

Details & Attributes

Plant Type(s) Shrub
Native to Arizona Yes!
Water Needs Low
Sun Full sun
Pollinators Wind?
Has Spines No
In relative feet, width by height
3-5' × 3-5'
Freeze Tolerant No
Flowering Season February-April
Flower Color Tan/pink
Minimum Temperature Range 20-25 °F
Leaf Description Silver leaves with heavily serrated margins.
Fruit Brown, in a papery capsule
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Description One of the toughest plants you can include in a garden! This species occurs in western Arizona on hot, sandy or rocky substrates. Desert holly grows into a striking, rounded silvery shrub, which works well as an accent or foundation planting. Because of its ability to handle heat and drought it is a solid choice for all day sun exposures, and can be mixed in with cacti, succulents, and xeric shrubs. An interesting planting could be made by combining desert holly with rush milkweed (Asclepias subulata), barrel cacti (Ferocactus spp.), and ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens). It's worth reiterating how tough this plant is, because it is rarely used in landscaping despite its great potential for hot climates and exposures.