Phoenix is in Sunset Climate Zone 13, "Low or Subtropical Desert Areas."
Sunset describes Zone 13 as follows (7th ed., p. 60):
"Ranging from below sea level in the Imperial Valley and Death Valley to an elevation of 1,100 feet around Phoenix, Zone 13 is subtropical desert. Average summer highs range from 106 to 108 deg. F (41 to 42 deg. C). Winters are short and mild. Frosts, anticipated from December 1 to February 15, are brief. Although the average minimum winter temperature is 37 deg. F (3 deg. C), with just 15 nights below freezing, lows of 19 to 13 deg. F (-7 to -11 deg. C) have been recorded.
"The gardening year begins in September and October for most vegetable crops and annual flowers, although crops like corn and melons are planted in late winter. Fall-planted crops grow slowly in winter, pick up speed in mid-February, and race through the increasing temperatures of March and April. Spring wind and summer storms are a factor in gardening: the rains help with watering, and dense clouds shield plants from the hot sun."
The caption accompanying the photographs calls out bauhinia (a flowering plant), data palms, grapefruit, fan palms, and brittlebush.
I nearly always suggest that gardeners in the "West" pick up or at least look at a copy of Sunset's Western Garden Book
. The climate zones and the listings (alphabetical, like a dictionary) of plants will give you the best guide as to species and varieties likely to succeed for you.
Sunset also has a "Container Gardening" book out, but there are LOTS of those; check with your local library. But there's only one Western Garden Book
, and it's absolutely terrific.
A local, independent garden supply store/nursery will also be able to guide you to plants which are successful in Phoenix. The "big box" stores all have the same stock, regardless of climate, and will probably just be frustrating.
USDA Zone 9, Sunset Zone 17