9 Best Plants to Grow In Utah for Every Season

Growing plants in Utah can be rewarding due to its unique climate, which varies from cold, snowy winters to hot, dry summers. For several reasons, it’s beneficial to choose species that are well-suited to these conditions when selecting plants for Utah gardens.

Utah is one of the driest states in the U.S., so choosing drought-tolerant plants helps conserve water and ensures your garden thrives even in low-water conditions. Plants that are naturally adapted to Utah’s climate extremes are more likely to survive and require less maintenance. This includes handling intense sunlight, low humidity, and temperature fluctuations.

Sunstone Gardening in Utah

Many areas in Utah have alkaline soil. Native and adaptive plants are more likely to flourish in these soil conditions without needing extensive amendments. Planting native species supports local wildlife, including birds, bees, and butterflies, by providing natural habitats and food sources.

By focusing on plants suited to Utah’s unique environment, gardeners can enjoy lush, sustainable landscapes that are easier to maintain and environmentally friendly.

Best Plants to Grow In Utah

1. Black-eyed Susans

best landscaping plants for utah

The black-eyed Susan is native to North America, just like coneflowers. The biggest difference between these two flowers is that black-eyed Susans do not come back every year like perennials do. Both flower types grow roughly 3 feet tall and are easy to maintain in Utah gardens. The Black-eyed Susan is a symbol of encouragement. 

Black-eyed Susans are another great choice for adding color to your garden. These annual flowers come in a variety of colors, including white, yellow, and brown. They typically bloom in the late spring or early summer. In some Native American herbal medicines, an infusion of the black-eyed Susan roots has been used to treat colds, dropsy, and worms in children.

This mixture has also been used for sores and snake bites, while the liquid within the roots has been used as earache drops. Black-eyed Susans thrive in all but very soggy soil and will even tolerate clay soils if you manage the water correctly. They hold up well during hot, dry periods, work well in waterwise gardens, and thrive when planted in full sun. Another bonus is that they seldom are bothered by insects or other pests.

2. Royal Fern

what plant zone is utah

Osmunda regalis, or royal fern, is a species of deciduous fern native to Europe, Africa, and Asia, growing in woodland bogs and on the banks of streams. Jim Horrocks, a local fern expert, says that many ferns can be successfully grown in Utah when grown in “humus-rich soil that is kept well mulched to conserve moisture and keep the soil cool.”

They are anti-aging wonder plants—fern extract (in the patented Royal Fern Complex) reduces hyperpigmentation, has potent levels of antioxidants, protects skin from environmental factors, and brightens and moisturizes it.

They grow best in temperatures under 75°F. Even though most ferns used for indoor culture are native to the tropics or subtropics, they generally prefer a cool temperature and a high level of moisture in the air (humidity).

3. Hydrangea

flowers that grow well in utah

Hydrangea, commonly named the hortensia, is a genus of more than 70 species of flowering plants native to Asia and the Americas. The root and underground stem (rhizome) are used to make medicine.

People use hydrangea for bladder infections, prostate infections, enlarged prostate, kidney stones, and other conditions. It grows in Alkaline soil, which we have in abundance in Utah, and changes the color of the bloom. If you purchase a blue or purple hydrangea, you can expect the bloom color to be pink in most soil found in Utah due to pH.

4. Lavender

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English Lavender is hardy to zone 5 and is suitable for most growing areas in Utah except the coldest high mountain regions. This fragrant Mediterranean plant is hardy and water-wise in most of Utah except in high elevations.

Aromatherapists use lavender in inhalation therapy to treat headaches, nervous disorders, and exhaustion. Herbalists use lavender oil to treat skin ailments, such as fungal infections (like candidiasis), wounds, eczema, and acne. Lavender is also used in a healing bath for joint and muscle pain.

It will thrive in full or partial sun, and it doesn’t need fancy soil. Lavender grows slowly during the fall, and plants do not survive the winter without good root development and heavy mulching. Space lavender plants 18-24 inches apart into light, well-aerated, gravelly soil. Lavender grows about 1-2 feet tall and wide, depending on variety, and takes 3 years to reach full size.

5. Bell Pepper

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Bell peppers are colorful vegetables of the Capsicum annuum species. Pieces of bell pepper are commonly used in garden salads and as pizza toppings. They are also helpful in supporting skin cells, healing wounds, and boosting white blood cell growth.

Planting dates for eggplants, peppers, and tomatoes in Utah vary depending on local climate conditions and range from early April in southern Utah to mid-May in northern Utah. Planting is recommended after the danger of frost has passed.

Bell Peppers have a long growing season (60 to 90 days), so most home gardeners buy starter pepper plants at the garden nursery rather than grow them from seed.

6. Squash

plants that grow well in utah

Squash (genus Cucurbita) is a genus of flowering plants in the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae). Many squashes are widely cultivated as vegetables and livestock feed. They are native to the New World, where they were cultivated by indigenous peoples before European settlement.

Squash flesh can be fried, dried, roasted, pureed, steamed, and boiled. Summer squashes, such as zucchini/courgetti, can be eaten raw. Squash is also used as a healthy pasta substitute – courgetti, with no gluten and far fewer calories than pasta.

Plant summer squash when all chances of frost have passed; winter squash can be planted in mid-summer. Plant squash plants 3 to 6 feet apart to give them room to sprawl. Grow them in an area that gets six or more hours of sun and has rich, well-drained soil.

7. Hollyhock

perennials for utah

Alcea is a genus of over 80 species of flowering plants in the mallow family Malvaceae, commonly known as the hollyhocks. These plants are hardy from Zone 3 through 8, so they thrive in all areas of Utah. If you plan on growing hollyhocks from seed, know that you typically won’t see blossoms until the second year.

Although these plants require patience, they are easy to grow by directly sowing the seeds. You can scatter the seeds in the spring all the way through the summer, about two months before the first fall frost. They are also heat tolerant and bloom during the hottest part of the summer.

Plant them where they are in full sun, as the plant dislikes shade of any kind. The rainbow has serious competition from these lovely plants. The seed, root, stem, leaf, and flower are used as medicine. Hollyhock is used for pain, stomach ulcers, wound healing, diabetes, and many other conditions.

8. Tomatoes

plants in utah

The tomato is the edible berry of the plant Solanum lycopersicum, commonly known as the tomato plant. Tomato is used for preventing cancer of the breast, bladder, cervix, colon and rectum, stomach, lung, ovaries, pancreas, and prostate.

It is also used to prevent diabetes, diseases of the heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular disease), cataracts, and asthma. Tomatoes grow best in sunny locations and in fertile, well-drained soils. Plant tomato seeds directly in the garden 10-14 days before the last frost date.

In Utah, most gardeners transplant tomatoes through black plastic for earlier maturity. When transplanting before the frost-free period, use row covers or hot caps to protect the plants. Irrigation should be deep and infrequent.

9. Daylilies

best flowers to grow in utah

Daylily, day lily, or ditch-lily, is a flowering plant in the genus Hemerocallis, a member of the family Asphodelaceae, subfamily Hemerocallidoideae, native to Asia. Although daylily flowers are used extensively as an article of food and the crown and root are used as medicine in China, daylilies are not as abundant in China as in the United States.

Daylilies are popular in Utah because they tolerate our climate, soils, and other conditions. Daylilies grow in a wide range of soils, from sand to heavy clay, and in a wide range of soil pH. Be assured the plant is not a one-day wonder. Daylilies should be planted in full sun or partial shade and receive 4-6 hours of sun per day.


Knowing the best plants for Utah is essential due to the state’s unique climate and geographical diversity, which ranges from arid deserts to high mountain regions. By understanding which plants thrive in Utah’s varying conditions, gardeners and landscapers can make informed choices that lead to successful and sustainable gardens.

Creating a thriving Utah garden requires selecting plants well-suited to Utah’s arid climate and unique soil conditions. From hardy evergreen shrubs that maintain their lushness year-round to vibrant pink flowers that dazzle every spring, the diversity is limitless.

Deciduous trees and ornamental grasses add structure and flair, while green beans and other vegetables promise a bountiful fall harvest. Whether you’re designing ornate flower beds or a robust vegetable garden, Utah’s climate offers a rewarding environment for those resilient plants that adapt well. Early spring is the perfect time to start planting, ensuring that Utah gardeners enjoy their labor’s fruits all season long.

Johan Perez
Johan Perez is an experienced agriculturalist with over twenty years in the field. He holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Sciences and has contributed extensively to research on sustainable farming practices. Johan has also written for numerous agricultural periodicals, offering expert advice on farming technologies and methods. In his free time, he enjoys outdoor adventures, which often inform his professional insights into ecological agriculture.

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