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.

  • trees creating light shade in the garden
    Southwest Regional Reports

    Trees That Create Light Shade in the Southwest

    Shade is welcome most of the year in the Southwest, but too much shade can limit other options. Larger-leaved trees can cast dense shade, and when their leaves drop, extracting…

  • garden bed with cacti and succulents from Mexico
    Southwest Regional Reports

    Plants from Mexico for the Southwest

    The American Southwest has indelible ties to Mexico that run even deeper than its architecture, food, and culture. Many of the literal roots of our gardens can trace their lineage…

  • growing echeverias
    Southwest Regional Reports

    How to Grow Echeverias

    The inward spiral of rosette-forming plants always seems to draw us in. From Romanesco broccoli to golden barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii, Zones 9–12), many plants grow with mathematical precision that…

  • durable flowers
    Mountain West Regional Reports

    Durable Flowers to Grow in Sagebrush Country

    The deserts and mountains of the West seem to get all the attention, but between the deserts and mountains is a vast landscape that most people just drive through on…

  • easy-to-grow wildflowers for the Southwest
    Southwest Regional Reports

    Easy-to-Grow Native Wildflowers for the Southwest

    Brilliant wildflower displays are legendary in much of the Southwest, but they don’t occur every year. In fact, a widespread display only happens about once every ten years or so.…

  • 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…