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Bermuda Common -Bermuda is preferred, not hybrid.
Timothy Hay, Phleum pretense
Native Bunch Grasses including:

  • Side-Oats-Grama, Bouteloua curtipendula
  • Blue GramaBouteloua gracilis
  • Big Galleta, Pleuraphis rigida

Perennial Ornamentals

Ivy Geranium, Pelargonium pelatum, Has a trailing habit is within reach of tortoises.
Verbena, Verbena spp., White to purple
Gazania, Gazania spp., Somewhat spreading, large, daisy-like flowers, various colors
Hollyhock, Alcea rosea, Leaves and flowers
Primrose, Oenothera, species including:

  • Mexican Evening Primrose, Oenothera berlandieri, Somewhat invasive, surround with several feet of dry soil
  • Yellow Creeping PrimroseOenothera stubbei, Somewhat invasive, surround with several feet of dry soil (native of NM as AZ)
  • White Evening Primrose, Oenothera pallida,
  • Tufted Evening Primrose, Oenothera caespitosa Fragrant white flowers, reseeds readily

Ground Covers

White clover, Trifolium repens


Desert Willow, Chilopsis linearis Tall open shrub, low branching, purple flowers spring through fall
Rose, Rosa, leaves and flowers
Hibiscus, Hibiscus Usually needs protection in winter. Large pot on patio usually works
Yellow Bells or Trumpets, Stenolobium (Tecoma) stans, Broad-leaf variety. Not a vine. Many large flowers, spring and summer, attracts hummingbirds.
Spineless Cactus, Opuntia ficus-indica Offer new pads, only; flowers, fruit–prickly pears. Irrigate to produce new pads. Pads ready to produce are free from Tortoise Group, 739-8043
Globe Mallow, Sphaeralcea spp. Native. Spikes of coral-colored flowers early spring
Goosefoot Mallow, Sphaeralcea grossulariifolia
Wire Lettuce, Stepanomeria pauciflora
Winterfat, Ceratoides lanata, nutritious, silvery leaves, native


Hall’s Honeysuckle, (Set base of trellis away from wall to make a shady place)
Grape, Vitis spp, Offer young leaves only, no fruit. Thompson Seedless preferred
Morning Glory, Ipomoea spp, Perennial vine. Large dark purple flowers, not in full sun


Elm, Ulmus spp.
Mulberry, Morus, spp., Offer young leaves only


Petunia, Petunia hybrida
Nasturtium, Tropaeolum spp. Plant from seed.
Pansy, Viola spp.
Portulaca (Moss Rose) Portulaca grandiflora
Desert dandelion, Malacothrix glabrata
Desert marigold, Baileya multiradiata
Desert plantain, Plantago ovata
Paper flower, Psilotrophe cooperi
Sand Verbena, Abronia villosa

Weeds That May Volunteer in Your Yard

Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale An important food plant, especially for hatchlings
Filaree or Heron’s Bill, Erodium cicutarium germinates in winter, feathery leaves, tiny purple flowers
Spurge, Euphorbia spp appears in lawns in summer then disappears


Rhubarb, Rheum rhabarbarum, leaves
Tomato, Lycopersicon spp., only the leaves and plant are toxic
Chinaberry Tree, Melia azederach umbracalifera, leaves and fruit must be kept off irrigated grass
Oleander, Nerium oleander, leaves and flowers. Tortoises usually ignore what falls