Fire Resistant Plants for Your Landscape

In wildfire-prone areas, fire control is a must. You can still have attractive landscaping while choosing fire resistant plants.

Fire Resistant Plants to Grow

valentine bushCourtesy Noelle Johnson
Valentine bush

Wildfire danger is a risk and reality that many people across the country have to deal with. Creating a defensible space around your home and property is a crucial step to help minimize the risk of (and hopefully prevent!) fire damage. If you live in an area with frequent wildfires, it’s important to choose the right plants to add to your landscape. Some plants are more fire resistant than others. Where do birds go during a storm?

There are certain characteristics of fire resistant plants that you can look for in your local plant nursery.

  • Deciduous plants are generally fire-resistant because their leaves are full of moisture, and in winter their bare branches make the spread of fire difficult.
  • Drought tolerant plants tend to be fire resistant due to their succulent or small leaves.
  • Choose plants that don’t accumulate a lot of dead leaves and branches. Dry leaf litter and kindling is fuel for a fire.
  • Look for plants that do not have a high resin content. These plants also tend to be deciduous.
  • Slow-growing plants that do not require a lot of pruning are also good examples of fire resistant plants.

Learn how to grow drought-tolerant agave plants and aloe vera plants.

Fire Resistant Shrubs

mexican sageCourtesy Jill Staake
Mexican bush sage
  • Alyogyne huegelii – Blue hibiscus
  • Calliandra californica – Baja fairy duster
  • Eremophila maculata – Valentine bush
  • Leucophyllum species – Texas ranger (sage)
  • Nandina domestica – Heavenly bamboo
  • Nerium oleander – Oleander
  • Pittosporum tobira – Pittosporum
  • Photinia fraseri – Fraser’s photinia
  • Pyrachantha fortunei – Pyracantha
  • Rhus ovata – Sugar bush
  • Salvia leucantha – Mexican bush sage
  • Simmondsia chinensis – Jojoba
  • Tecomaria capensis – Cape honeysuckle

Learn how to grow a drought tolerant rosemary shrub.

Fire Resistant Perennials

fire resistant plantsNoelle Johnson
Parry’s Penstemon (Penstemon parryi)
  • Coreopsis species – Coreopsis
  • Dietes vegeta – Fortnight lily
  • Gaura lindheimeri  – Gaura (Whirling Butterflies)
  • Lavendula species – Lavender
  • Penstemon species – Penstemon
  • Salvia greggii – Autumn sage

Drought-tolerant blackfoot daisy can take the heat.

Fire Resistant Groundcover Plants

Purple And White Flowers Of An Ice Plant Delosperma Nubigenum CulivarGALUMPHING GALAH/GETTY IMAGES
Ice plant
  • Drosanthemum species – Ice plant
  • Gazania species – Gazania
  • Lantana species – Lantana
  • Myoporum parvifolium – Myoporum
  • Vinca minor – Dwarf periwinkle

Learn how to repair and care for storm damaged trees.

Fire Resistant Vines

Shutterstock 398504581Patrick Civello/Shutterstock
Star jasmine flowers
  • Trachelospermum jasminoides – Star jasmine

Also try drought-tolerant butterfly vine.

Fire Resistant Trees

fire resistant plantsNoelle Johnson
Blue Palo Verde
  • Acacia farnesiana – Sweet acacia, Acacia salicina – Willow acacia, Acacia stenophylla – Shoestring acacia
  • Brachychiton populneus – Australian bottle tree
  • Callistemon viminalis – Weeping bottlebrush
  • Chilopsis linearis – Desert willow
  • Citrus – Citrus
  • Fraxinus species – Ash
  • Olea europaea – Olive
  • Parkinsonia species – Palo verde
  • Pistacia chinensis – Chinese pistache
  • Prunus species – Plum/peach/apricot trees
  • Rhus lancea – African sumac
  • Schinus terebinthifolius – Brazilian pepper

Also try these drought resistant trees and plants to grow for birds. Looking for more information on fire resistant landscaping? Check out firewise.org.

Noelle Johnson
Noelle Johnson is a horticulturist, writer and certified arborist who lives and gardens in the desert Southwest. She is the CEO and owner of 'AZ Plant Lady,' an education company that aims to help people garden successfully in the desert climate. She is the author of the book, Dry Climate Gardening, and her byline has appeared in publications such as Birds & Blooms and Phoenix Home & Garden magazine. She is an instructor at the Desert Botanical garden and Tucson Botanical Gardens.