Native Plants to Mexico: A Celebration of Cinco de Mayo

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo isn't just about food and music; it's also an opportunity to appreciate the rich botanical heritage of Mexico.

These fabulous plants we're about to introduce not only boast stunning colors and textures, but they also have a story to tell, reflecting the vibrant culture and history of Mexico. So, let's embark on a botanical journey, and explore the beauty and charm of these Mexican wonders.

Native Plants


French marigolds in garden

Aren't marigolds just a ray of sunshine in your garden? These vibrant beauties come in shades of yellow, orange, and red, with a distinctive aroma that keeps pests at bay.

They're not just pretty faces; marigolds are known to attract beneficial insects, too!

To keep them thriving, plant marigolds in well-draining soil and give them plenty of sunlight. They aren't too fussy about water, but do make sure the soil doesn't dry out completely. Deadheading spent blooms will encourage more flowers to pop up and brighten your day!

Read more: When Do Marigolds Bloom? [By Month, By Zone]


a bed of orange and red dahlias

If you're looking for showstoppers, dahlias are your go-to! These dazzling divas come in a wide range of sizes, colors, and shapes, so there's a dahlia for every garden style.

Dahlias need well-draining soil and at least 6-8 hours of sunlight per day. Be sure to provide them with consistent moisture, but avoid overwatering, as their tubers are prone to rot.

Keep an eye out for slugs and snails, as they love munching on your dahlia's leaves. Support taller varieties with stakes, and you'll be rewarded with a stunning floral display!

Read more: When To Cut Back Dahlias

Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia diversifolia)

Vibrant orange Mexican sunflower

Let's turn up the heat with the Mexican sunflower! Its vibrant orange flowers can grow up to 3 inches across, making them a fiery focal point in your garden. Mexican sunflowers enjoy basking in the full sun and are heat-tolerant, so they're perfect for those scorching summer days.

Plant them in well-draining soil, and they'll be happy campers. They're relatively drought-tolerant, but regular watering will keep them looking their best. Bonus: butterflies and bees will be frequent visitors!

Mexican Feather Grass (Nassella tenuissima)

Mexican Feather Grass (Nassella tenuissima)

Looking for a plant that dances with the wind? Meet the Mexican feather grass! Its delicate, feathery plumes will add texture and movement to your garden. This low-maintenance beauty is drought-tolerant and thrives in well-draining soil.

Give it full sun or partial shade, and it'll sway gracefully in the breeze. It rarely needs watering once established, making it perfect for xeriscaping or low-water garden designs.

Just be aware that it can self-seed, so give it a trim after flowering to prevent any unexpected surprises.

Mexican Sage (Salvia leucantha)

purple Mexican Sage (Salvia leucantha)

Mexican sage has velvety purple flowers that are a magnet for hummingbirds, adding life and energy to your garden. Mexican sage prefers well-draining soil and full sun, but it can tolerate a bit of shade.

Water regularly, but allow the soil to dry out between waterings to keep the plant happy and healthy.

Prune it back in early spring to encourage bushier growth and more blooms. Get ready for a magical display of color and wildlife!

Native Edible Plants and Herbs

Tomatillos (Physalis philadelphica)

tomatillo plant with fruit blossoms

These little green fruits are surrounded by a papery husk, giving them a lantern-like appearance. Tomatillos love being in full sun and well-draining soil.

Make sure to plant at least two plants for successful pollination, and you'll soon have a bountiful harvest. Water them regularly, but avoid soggy soil, and watch your tomatillo plants flourish.

Chili Peppers (Capsicum annuum)

chili peppers growing on a plant

Chili peppers come in a variety of colors, shapes, and heat levels to suit any taste bud. From mild jalapeños to fiery habaneros, there's a chili pepper for everyone.

Plant them in well-draining soil and give them plenty of sunlight to produce a bountiful harvest. Keep the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged, and you'll have happy, healthy plants.

Don't forget to wear gloves when handling hot peppers!

Read more: How Many Jalapeños Per Plant?

Epazote (Dysphania ambrosioides)

Epazote (Dysphania ambrosioides) herb buunch on table

Epazote, a lesser-known but equally enchanting Mexican herb, is often used in traditional dishes like black beans and quesadillas. This aromatic herb has a unique, pungent flavor that adds a special touch to your culinary creations.

Plant epazote in well-draining soil and give it full sun or partial shade. It's relatively drought-tolerant, so be sure not to overwater it.

Prune it back occasionally to encourage bushy growth, and soon you'll have a kitchen garden with an authentic Mexican twist.

Mexican Oregano (Lippia graveolens)

Mexican Oregano (Lippia graveolens)  in garden

Take your taste buds on a flavor adventure with Mexican oregano. Boasting a more robust flavor than its Mediterranean cousin, this aromatic herb is perfect for adding depth to your favorite Mexican recipes.

Plant it in well-draining soil and give it full sun to bring out its best flavor. Water regularly, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings, and your Mexican oregano will thrive. Say goodbye to bland dishes and hello to an explosion of taste.

Mexican Mint Marigold (Tagetes lucida)

Mexican Mint Marigold (Tagetes lucida) with yellow blooms

Last but not least, welcome the versatile Mexican mint marigold to your garden. This tasty alternative to French tarragon is perfect for flavoring everything from soups to sauces.

Its charming yellow flowers will add a touch of sunshine to your garden, too. Plant Mexican mint marigold in well-draining soil and give it full sun or light shade. Water it consistently, but avoid overwatering to prevent root rot.

In Closing

By adding these fantastic Mexican native plants to your garden, you're not only spicing up your outdoor space but also embracing the rich flavors and vibrant culture of Mexico.

Whether you're growing tomatillos for the perfect salsa verde or incorporating the unique taste of epazote into your favorite dishes, these plants will bring a delightful taste of Mexico straight to your doorstep.

So, let's celebrate the spirit of Cinco de Mayo by nurturing these wonderful plants and transforming our gardens into a lively, colorful, and mouth-watering paradise.

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