Choosing the Best Plants for Your Utah Garden

There are plenty of good reasons to build a home in Utah—from the gorgeous mountains to the great elementary school language immersion programs—but it can be difficult to know where to start your garden, especially if you have only gardened in climates with high humidity. But never fear! Here are some tried and true plant varieties that thrive in this desert paradise.

For Your Vegetable Garden

Nothing can beat fresh produce grown in your own garden. Luckily, a wide variety of vegetables flourish all over Utah. These include:

  • Beans. Green beans, pinto beans, lima beans, red kidney beans, and more all grow well in Utah.
  • Broccoli and Cauliflower. Most varieties of broccoli and cauliflower do well in Utah.
  • Carrots. Carrots grow well in most climates, and Utah is no different.
  • Peppers. Peppers love Utah’s heat! From spicy jalapeños and Anaheim chilies to sweet banana peppers, peppers are a great addition to any Utah vegetable garden.
  • Squash. Both summer squash like zucchini and winter squash like early butternut thrive in Utah.
  • Tomatoes. Tomatoes are a great gardening choice. Whether you grow Roma and Long Keeper tomatoes, or stick with sweet cherry tomatoes, these hardy plants grow well all over Utah and help replenish the nutrients in your garden’s soil.
  • Watermelon. Green River, Utah is famous for its watermelon—your garden can be too!

Your options will, of course, vary depending on what part of Utah you live in. Talk to your neighbors about their favorite plant choices for their vegetable gardens, and consult with local gardening communities, or look at plant maps if you have questions about what you can expect when growing a specific vegetable in Utah’s climate.

(Information from Utah State University Cooperative Extension)

For Your Flower Beds

Think you’re stuck with cacti and yuccas for landscaping your yard? Think again. While it’s true that your flowers may need a little more attentive care to battle the high elevation and heat, you have plenty of options for adding a little color and beauty to your yard.

Hardy flower species work best in the seasonally extreme temperatures and year-round direct sunlight in Utah. Plan on using perennials and drought-resistant flower varieties. Here are some popular choices for Utah flower beds:

  • Coneflower, or Echinacea
  • Forget-me-not
  • Snap Dragon
  • Yarrow
  • Lavender
  • Hollyhock

Use these resilient flowers in conjunction with more desert-like plants for a natural Southern Utah look, or plant them all over to keep your yard in bloom.

For Your Yard

Whether you need some shade or a little help defining the space, you have lots of choices when landscaping your backyard.


Many deciduous, or seasonal, trees prosper in Utah’s climate. These trees can provide shade and beautify your outdoor space. The best varieties for Utah include:

  • Oak
  • Maple
  • Ash
  • Willow

You also have the option of filling your yard with fruit-bearing trees. Myriad fruit trees thrive in Utah—apricot, apple, and plum to name three. However, remember if you decide to plant fruit trees, they require a higher level of pruning, and more attentive watering. Fruit trees are also more susceptible to disease than other deciduous trees.

Ferns and Shrubs

Ferns are a great option for separating your backyard space or adding a little embellishment. Ferns can be planted in beds or kept in planters. Some Utah-friendly varieties include: Royal Fern, Christmas Fern, Lady Fern, and Maidenhair Fern.

Shrubs are also a good choice for defining your yard. Consider shrubs like Honeysuckle, Current, and Hydrangea, along with their more rugged cousins, Barberry and Cotoneaster.

(Information from Gardening West)

Invest in plants like these to have your Utah garden flourishing in no time.

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