Creosote Bush

Larrea tridentata

Family: Zygophyllaceae
Genus: Larrea (LAR-ree-uh) (Info)
Species: tridentata (try-den-TAY-ta) (Info)



Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow after last frost

From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Ajo, Arizona

Apache Junction, Arizona

Catalina, Arizona

Hereford, Arizona

Peridot, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona (2 reports)

Queen Creek, Arizona

Salome, Arizona

Sierra Vista, Arizona

Tonto Basin, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona (4 reports)

Wellton, Arizona

Huntington, Arkansas

Barstow, California

Pinon Hills, California

North Las Vegas, Nevada

Pahrump, Nevada

Albuquerque, New Mexico (7 reports)

Elephant Butte, New Mexico

Las Cruces, New Mexico (2 reports)

Austin, Texas

El Paso, Texas (2 reports)

Terlingua, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 22, 2018, QuercusDC from Las Cruces, NM (Zone 8a) wrote:

Creosote Bush is tough, though from even containers, it has a low survival rate. Not sure if it's the nursery soil mix or just sensitive roots. Either way, it seems to establish best in gravelly soil.

Based on creosote's garden experience and especially native range to north of Albuquerque NM (pre-1990) and Roswell NM, and to Hiko NV, it is cold hardy to USDA Zone 7a in those hot summer locations.


On Jun 2, 2010, gardengirl88 from Tucson, AZ wrote:

What a wonderful plant to have just below an open bedroom window. After a rain it gives off the most wonderful clean desert rain scent. I bought 3 at a plant sale. One died but the others are doing great. I now have 5. I have looked for babies (only about 1-2 inches tall)and have had great success transplanting. I dig the new hole the size of one shovelful then dig up the baby with the same shovelful and carry it to the new hole. Be very gentle with the placement. Also I point it in the same direction it was growing. I water frequently but sparingly for the first few months and gradually taper off. I want to try growing from seed. Time will tell...


On Apr 27, 2010, Juttah from Tucson, AZ (Zone 8a) wrote:

Every desert garden should have at least one of these. Regular but shallow watering during the spring and summer, plus a little fertilizer, gives you a beautiful, rugged bush that bears little resemblance to the scraggly half-dead creosote bushes you see growing wild.

I've had bad luck with nursery-grown stock (5 out of 6 died within months) and I tried growing them from seed with little success. The best method by far is to dig up wild babies after a rain and transplant them in early spring. Water them daily with 1 Tbsp. of water, increasing to 2-3 Tbsp. of water during the hot summer months, plus a little Miracle-Gro now and then.

I did this with 8 plants 3 years ago and all are thriving. Now established, they still get 1/4 to 1/2 can of water once a week, i... read more


On Nov 9, 2009, uglysteve from Apache Junction, AZ wrote:

Grows wild in my yard, I must have at least 50 of them. No watering needed(7 in. of annual rain), but looks better with occasional water. A very tough and long lived plant. Smells good. Grows well in fast draining sandy soil. Grows wild along with buckhorn cholla, desert broom, saguaro, hedgehog cactus, desert senna, mesquite, palo verti, desert ironwood, ect...


On Mar 18, 2008, peachespickett from Huntington, AR wrote:

Grew a creosote from seed after much trial-and-error, has been planted in desert bed in Western Arkansas for a year (right after germination), survived record rain with freezing rain and snow, starting to grow again as weather warms. Will survive outside desert if given excellent drainage. Mine is planted in two-foot deep bed on slope, in 50% sand, 50% gravel, would probably do even better with more gravel and more large rocks in mix.


On Nov 19, 2006, Xenomorf from Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

A very numerous and drought tolerant bush. I've seen this growing in the wild in the Phoenix surrounding desert, Tonto Basin, AZ; Oro Valley, AZ; Oracle Junction, AZ; & on the 'El Camino Del Diablo Trail' (Devils' Highway) that runs between Ajo and Wellton in Arizona.


On Jun 10, 2005, Judy81350 from Queen Creek, AZ (Zone 9a) wrote:

Very hardy and needs very little care. Blooms early spring and is loaded with little yellow flowers. I have one that is about 7 1/2 feet tall. Other plants will die if planted to close to one. They have an oily smell to them.


On Apr 27, 2005, lantanalover from Queen Creek, AZ (Zone 10a) wrote:

I had read that to grow from seeds, put seeds in a pan/pot, cover with boiling water and let sit overnight.

They smell great after a rain and are beautiful when fully bloomed out in the spring.


On Jan 12, 2005, rbhunter from Hebron, MD wrote:

Seed germination is inhibited by light. Grows well in sandy soil with lime. An extremely drought-hardy desert plant common in the SW US and Mexico, with close relatives in Argentina's and Chile's deserts. It is chemically complex, with some interest for anti-cancer and anti-HIV compounds.


On Oct 7, 2004, xenia from Pinon Hills, CA wrote:

Also grows in the California High Desert. I have been unsuccessfull in growing it from seed and cutting but, I was able to transplant small ones from one area to another with 50/50 survival rate, they have a very delicate root system, however it is a very hearty plant once established. When they are trimmed back they tend to fill out and create a very large,full and lush evergreen bush, requiring little water and care. It makes for terrific windbreak and outdoor pet shade. It is a beautiful native plant, drought resistant, tolerant of heat and high winds. Here I am at 4000' elevation and our winters get to 10 degrees and sometimes into the single digits, we have little rain,moderate snow,and summers reaching 115 degrees.