Dan Johnson

Dan Johnson

Dan Johnson has spent his life gardening and has worked in horticulture for decades, both in the nursery industry and in public gardens. This includes 25 years with Denver Botanic Gardens, where he currently serves as curator of native plant collections and associate director of horticulture. Dan splits his time between Denver and Tucson, Arizona.

Dan’s work focuses on xeric and native plants as well as naturalistic design. He is especially interested in cacti, succulents, conifers, aquatics, perennials, and tropicals, from the traditional to the rare. He has presented internationally on plant selection, exploration, and garden design and has been published widely in many different horticultural publications. Dan’s forays throughout the American West continue to expand his plant palette and knowledge. His travels have also included horticultural exploration in South Africa, Argentina, Spain, Pakistan, and the Mexican state of Oaxaca, often with a focus on steppe and desert climates with conditions similar to the American Southwest and Mountain West.

  • nectar plants for hummingbirds
    Southwest Regional Reports

    Winter Nectar Plants for Hummingbirds in the Southwest

    There’s something magical about a garden graced with hummingbirds. As they dart between flowers and zip by at impossible speeds, they’re letting you know you’ve done something right. The Southwest,…

  • plant with purple flowers
    Southwest Regional Reports

    Plants With Purple Flowers for the Southwest

    Texas sage is one of the most distinctive native shrubs in the Southwest, blooming periodically throughout the year but dazzling in summer and fall. Purple is for everyone, and especially…

  • agaves in a southwest garden
    Southwest Regional Reports

    Plants That Can Grow in Both the High Desert and the Low Desert

    Not all plants thrive everywhere, especially in a region as diverse as the Southwest. Elevation, hardiness zone, and even where you site a plant in your yard all converge to…

  • Salmon Queen echinopsis
    Southwest Regional Reports

    Growing Echinopsis in the Southwest

    Echinopsis (Echinopsis spp. and cvs., Zones 8b–12), also called sea urchin cacti, have an allure that can sidetrack your better judgment. This genus is widespread in central South America and…

  • Prairie Zinnia
    Southwest Regional Reports

    Unusual Fall Perennials for the Southwest

    In Andy Brand's article Unusual Fall Perennials, he discusses some out-of-the-box plant picks for this spectacular time in the garden: "As we reluctantly accept the inevitable and begin preparing our…

  • Design

    Think of It As the Coolest Shade Tree Ever—From the Desert

    Name: Giant Mexican candelabra cactus (Pachycereus weberi) Zones: 9–11 Size: Up to 30 feet tall and wide Conditions: Full sun; dry, well-drained soil Native range: Mexico I have always lived…

  • Southwest Regional Reports

    Regional Picks: Early Summer Plant Combo for the Southwest

    1. Transylvanian Salvia Salvia transsylvanica Zones: 5–9 Size: 24 to 30 inches tall and wide Conditions: Full sun; well-drained soil Native range: Northern and central Russia to Romania The world…

  • Design

    Bringing Sun and Shade Together

    Show off what these extremes have to offer, then unite them with some common ground

  • Design

    Garden Microclimates

    Find spots in your garden for plants you thought you couldn’t grow