Giant Prickly Pear Cactus

Phoenix Landscaping: Blue Xeriscape Cactus

Until you really study them, cactus appears to offer easy to grow plants for desert landscaping around your Arizona home. There are a variety of colors the main body of cactus plants display, the most unusual of which is silver blue to blue green. Not something that is found in the ornamental plants we use for xersicape in Phoenix or Scottsdale landscapes.

Placing these unusually colored drought tolerant plants in the right spot in an overall desert landscaping design will completely alter the impact of artistry planting areas display.

Blue foliage always stands out well in landscaping designs.

The green blue of the paddle shaped Giant Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia robusta) is somewhat silvered giving it a very lovely light overall presence. Its texture is an excellent contrast against finer textured foliage of the bulk of ornamentals that thrive here in the arid climate. While it should receive extra water during the summer to be at its robust best, the cactus will be happy in xerscape design landscaping at any elevation and the valley floor. This distinctive landscaping cactus can grow to 18 feet tall and 10 feet wide.

Astounding blue succulent Blue Candle Cactus.
The bluest plant you’ll find for xeriscape design in Arizona, the Blue Candle Cactus.

It produces amazingly beautiful blooms in May or June that bud out a soft shrimp peach and open to display yellow to salmon toned petals. The fruit of Giant Prickly Pear Cactus ripens through the summer to outline the paddles in vibrant red by August.

Flowers, colored foliage and edible fruits too.

Besides being a great addition to your Phoenix landscaping, the fruits are sweet and delicious. Known as Cactus Pears or Tunas, you can also enjoy them eaten raw or cooked, put up in jelly or fermented to create wine and liquers.

Most astounding in color for your xeriscape landscaping in Arizona is the Blue Candle Cactus (Myrtillocactus geometrizans). This beautiful succulent will really stand out in your yard whether it is in bloomor not. The mass of fleshy branches will remain quite upright and columnar, growing to 15 feet tall by. The blooms are white and appear in March, giving way to incredibly little sweet deep red fruits.

The Blue Candle Cactus is not as cold tolerant as some of the selections used in landscape design around the Scottsdale and Phoenix areas. Take care to plant this unusually colored Phoenix xeriscaping plant where it will be protected when temperatures could fall below 25°. Courtyards and along exterior walls will always be warmer than away from your home in other areas of your Arizona landscaping.