The health promoting attributes of Pomegranates put it in the category of “SUPER FOODS”. Pomegranate contains potent and unrivaled antioxidants called punicalagin and punicalin. The juice of the Pomegranate has greater antioxidant activity than acai juice, green tea, cranberry juice or red wine.
Pomegranate is one of the earliest cultivated fruits throughout history. It appears in Egyptian tombs, Greek mythology and even in the Bible. Pomegranate is a symbol of abundance and faith in many cultures. Recorded history shows that over 2000 years ago Pomegranate was used to treat an assortment of illnesses.
Inside the fruit are hundreds of tiny seeds called arils; this is what we eat or make into juice. The aril is delicious with a sweet, tart flavor that is high in vitamin C. Pomegranates originated in Iran and are commonplace throughout the Middle East. The unique flavor and exceptional health benefits are making it increasingly popular in the United States.
Pomegranate Health Benefits:
Pomegranate has anti-inflammatory effects that help protect against cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and Type 2 Diabetes.
Research showed patients with prominent carotid artery blockage showed a 30% reduction in atherosclerotic plaque after one year of drinking one ounce of Pomegranate juice per day.
Pomegranate is high in vitamin C and is a good source of fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin K and protein.
Studies conducted showed patients with memory issues that drank pomegranate juice every day performed better and exhibited increased brain activity on their MRI.
The antibacterial and antiviral properties of Pomegranate help reduce dental plaque.
Research and clinical studies continue to investigate pomegranates and their antioxidant effects. The experts state that drinking Pomegranate juice whole and unprocessed is the best way.
The 2009 article “Pomegranate juice: a heart healthy fruit juice,” published in Nutrition Reviews states, “Observational studies and clinical trials investigating the cardiovascular health benefits of fruits and vegetables, attribute these effects to the combination of phytochemicals, fiber, and other nutrients in whole food intake, rather than the sole effects of an individual component.”
An easy way to eat the seeds, arils, of the Pomegranate is to slice the fruit in half. Using a bowl of water, hold the half upside down and beat gently with a wooden spoon so the seeds drop down in the water. The arils (seeds) are delicious alone, in cereals, or in your favorite dish.
Before adding Pomegranates to your diet consult your physician. The high vitamin K may counteract blood thinners. It is always best to speak to your pharmacist or physician first.
The bountiful pomegranate tree is native to the Mediterranean region which has similar growing conditions as the Arizona Sonoran Desert. Pomegranates thrive in the drier climates of California and Arizona. As a matter of fact, in 2009 the first commercial pomegranate farm started in Arizona. This fruit tree seems satisfied with our alkaline soil and experiences no deficiencies!
Although the pomegranate originated in Iran, ancient records show it is one of the oldest known cultivated fruits. Biblical Archaeologists discovered fruit such as the pomegranate, was much more than a food; it had symbolic significance for the Ancient Israelites. The antiquated Greeks believed pomegranate juice was the “symbol of love”. The botanical name for pomegranate is Punica granatum belonging to the family Lythraceae. P. granatum has more than 500 cultivars. In 1769, the pomegranate was introduced into California by Spanish Settlers.
In the sizzling, sunniest area of our yard we now have five pomegranate trees, shrubs ranging from six months to six years old. “Wonderful” is our cultivar and is also the most common cultivar for Arizona. Recently, we had record temperatures of 113 degrees F; with higher temps forecasted for next week. There was some vexing over the younger plants, but it proved to be unnecessary. We are delighted to report our Punica granatumflourished in the extreme desert heat!
The adamant pomegranate is drought tolerant and does best with well-drained soil, semi-arid climates and plant hardiness zones 8 to 10. The fruit is adversely affected in wetter climates along with the plant becoming prone to root decay. Tolerant to frost down to 20 degrees F. Easy to grow, this deciduous tree can mature to 30 feet; but it is more common to see pomegranates at 12 – 15 feet.
The leaves of Punica granatumare glossy, narrow, lance-shaped and deer resistant. The lavish flowers are bright orange-red with a fleshy tubular calyx. Some cultivars are grown for their flowers alone and used as ornamental trees.
Pomegranate fruit is a berry filled with seeds numbering 200 to 1,400. The seeds are in a white, spongy, acidic membrane. The outer skin is a tough , leathery texture.
The fruit is ripe when it reaches its distinctive color and it makes a metallic sound when tapped. Overripe fruit will begin to crack and the seeds will become harder.
The easiest way to eat a p. granatumis to use a bowl of water to separate the seeds. The seeds sink and the white membrane floats.
Slice the fruit in half and then hold it upside down and beat gently with a wooden spoon so the seeds drop down in the water.
Another reason Pomegranates ranked #1 on our list:
This fruit has potent anti-inflammatory properties! Numerous pomegranate studies have been achieved and the evidence shows its wide range health benefits. Our next article will contain information on those studies and one of the most healthiest fruits on earth, “THE POMEGRANATE”!!
As I was going to the store I came across one of the greatest displays of The New Gold, White, Red and even Purple Trailing Lantana I have ever seen! In our Arizona garden we have several species of Lantana because it is one of our desert favorites!
White, Red (Texas), Purple Trailing and Gold lantana mounds in this picture – Gorgeous!
Lantana is a genus of about 150 species of perennial flowering plants in the VERBENAfamily, (Verbenaceae). They are native to tropical regions of Africa and here in the Americas.
It comes in plants and shrubs commonly called Lantana and shrub verbenas. Some types are considered invasive; they spread easily because lantana leaves are somewhat poisonous to most animals.
This is precisely why Lantana is a large part of our desert garden. Not only is Lantana resistant to the hot temperatures in Southern Arizona, but also drought tolerant and all the small animals leave them alone! Our dogs are not interested in our lantana plants or their poisonous leaves at all.
The Purple Trailing Lantana looks beautiful dancing along side the Yellow New Gold and a lighter yellow lantana mound in the back.
Being somewhat toxic and rejected by herbivores, camara and trailing lantanas are very hardy, but once or twice a year mine become infested with pests. Insecticidal soaps will damage this plant. Try using plain dish soap with water in a spray bottle.
Although I did not see any berries in this orchestra of multi-colored lantana plants … the berries are edibleONLY when they are ripe.
Though the stems of lantana are thin, the wood is very tough and durable and thus useful for crafts and wickerwork. This is one heat resistant, hardy evergreen lantana shrub!
Planting, Growing and Caring for lantana is easy. They like a lot of sun and lantana is not picky about their soil.
Half of our garden lantana are growing in pots and containers, the other half is in the ground by cacti. We do water the potted lantana once a daywhen the temperature is high. Last week we reached 110 degrees and my pots / planters needed a small amount of water in the morning and then in the evening. This is unusual and was due to the bone dry heat.
Lantana stems are HOLLOWso overwatering will cause your lantana roots to rot. Try NOT to prune or trim your lantana until the end of the season. Remember the lantana stems are hollow.
On average, the ground lantana need a DEEP soaking twice a week. A good indicator is the leaves. If your lantana is wilting, then water but be careful NOT to get water on the leaves. Most of the lantana we have planted are in full sun. Watering at the roots prevents the risk of burning the leaves.
Honeysuckles love the Arizona heat and the hummingbirds love the honeysuckle. Now that is a desert garden delight!
As long as I water this thirsty honeysuckle shrub it will produce abundant blooms most of the year. The narrow, orange, tubular flowers give enthusiasm to the garden with their bright colors.
Our orange honeysuckles are fast growing perennial plants that are low maintenance. Care for your honeysuckle with regular watering and pruning to keep the growth under control. With 180 species of honeysuckles, genus Lonicera, you can pick from pink, yellow, white, orange, red, etc., flowers. Honeysuckles belong to the Caprifoliacea family which includes all types of woody shrubs and fragrant vines.
When choosing a honeysuckle to grow, be sure to check the label as some varieties are hardier than others and can cope with frost. Also, there exists a few species of honeysuckle that are considered invasive such as Japanese honeysuckle.
Pruning tips for honeysuckle vines: Prune your plant in later winter when it is dormant. With pruning shears, remove dead blooms from your honeysuckle as soon as you see them.
Tree, fence, trellis or wall; honeysuckle vines will climb on anything to seek out the sun.
Our garden has become a very busy place. It is October in the Arizona desert and our honeysuckles are still blooming. What a joy to sit quietly and watch the butterflies and hummingbirds feast on the bright tubular flowers.
These heat tolerant honeysuckle plants did well even in full desert sun as long as they received their daily water.
In the photo above is Lonicera arizonica which is a native Arizona Honeysuckle. It is a perennial vine or shrub that you find in the open at elevations of 6,000 – 9,000 feet. According to Northern Arizona University, this native honeysuckle was used by Native Americans to cleanse the bowels. Navajo tribes used the leaves of the Lonicera arizonica to induce vomiting. Can I eat the red berries from the Arizona honeysuckle? Yes you can eat the berries but it will have a purgative effect.
Introducing the dramaticAsparagus densiflorus. Even when southern Arizona reaches temperatures above 100 degrees the asparagus fern thrives! Our desert garden has a subtropical ambience thanks to the ornate asparagus fern. This customary name is somewhat deceiving because the asparagus fern is not a fern at all; but a member of the Liliaceae, or Lily family.
Growing these ferns in containers is easy and low maintenance. This plant develops large tuberous roots and can become potbound in a relatively short period of time. Asparagus Ferns are vigorous, fast growing plants that can take extreme heat as long as it receives regular watering.
To encourage new growth I give our asparagus ferns a trim every so often. In the photo above you will notice several green berries that will turn red by winter. Since these plants are dioecious, not all of your asparagus ferns will grow berries.
What does dioecious mean? Plants that are dioecious have their male and female parts on separate plants. Both male and female plants must be present for pollination to occur. Asparagus Ferns are toxic to cats and dogs. Contact with the skin may cause dermatitis so I recommend wearing gloves.
From a distance, the asparagus fern, Asparagus densiflorus, looks very soft and delicate. This can be attributed to its fine, needle-like leaves. Make no mistake, putting your hands into an asparagus fern will give you little scratches.
Asparagus Fernis native to South Africa and is an evergreen perennial that is commonly used as a groundcover or in hanging baskets for its showy foliage.
An easy way to propagate new Asparagus Ferns is by division. Using a large serrated knife, you can easily divide up the root ball into half or quarter sections for more new plants.
The photo above is one of our potted asparagus ferns that is located in the full Arizona sun. Other containers are nestled in part shade. All of the plants are growing well with my only complaint being I need to plant more!
Yellow needles develop on asparagus ferns for different reasons such as rapid temperature change, under watering, over watering, spider mites and possibly a change in light. Your asparagus fern will need less watering during winter and in low light conditions.
Asparagus ferns can be trained to grow as a vine or cascade down a hanging planter. Note: Sprenger’s Asparagus has been declared a noxious weed in Florida, Hawaii and New Zealand. Listed as a Class One Invasive by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council’s Pest Plant List (FLEPPC).
We love Asparagus Ferns and have grown them in hot, hot Arizona for years with no behavior problems.
Multitudes of people love Salvia. These Salvia plants, better known as Sage or SCARLET sage, are indigenous to nearly all continents.
Most varieties of Salvia are heat resistant and drought tolerant along with providing colorful flowers that bloom lavishly.
This plant is easy to grow and Salvias furnish over 900 species; offering amazing potential for your garden! The lush green leaves of the Salvia plant are so attractive that this Sage looks handsome even when not in bloom.
Salvia is a member of the Lamiaceae or Labiatae family; the MINT family. Hot temperatures are a considerable concern for our Arizona gardens and Red Salvia loves the heat!
Salvia splendens, Salvia coccinea, Salvia darcyi, Red Salvia, or commonly referred to as Scarlet Sage are hardy, impressive plants and our favorite choice because of their lovely red blooms. These Red Salvia are not edible like the sage in your kitchen.
Like most Salvia, the fragrant foliage is deer and small critter-resistant. One of our Scarlet Sage, RED SALVIA, gardens is growing in the open desert and available to all wildlife. In the past several years, we can report that our desert sage was devoured 1 time by JAVELINA but has been left alone ever since. Most likely the Salvia made them ill.
A location with full sun is the best choice for most salvia varieties but some are shade tolerant. Our Salvia located in part shade did not make it through the winter; on the other hand, the salvia plants in sunny locations come back year after year.
When the flowers are spent the Salvia will self-sow its seeds! Take a look at the photo below. No worries about Salvia being intrusive: you can easily transplant the seedlings or share them with friends. Simply pull up your unwanted plants.
Sometimes called Autumn Sage, Red Salvia blooms continually from spring through fall. A garden plant “must have” that is perennial and hardy in Tucson and Phoenix.
Can you grow Salvia in pots and containers? Absolutely! We have several different pots with gorgeous Scarlet Sage blooming throughout the yard. Our favorite color of Salvia for our garden is red but many cultivars offer pastel blooms such as pinks and blues.
The main difference with growing Salvia in containers is: 1) the plants need to be watered more often 2) several of the small shrubs needed replaced after winter
The abundant showy flowers produce a good amount of nectar making them attractive to hummingbirds and some people have named salvia: HUMMINGBIRD SAGE.
Goldfinches and other birds visit the Salvia plant to pick out the tiny brown seeds hidden in the calyces.
Deadheading Salvia encourages more blooms and more birds! It can be so fun watching the Goldfinches pick out the seeds. Salvia plants can get pretty tall and unshapely. Prune the salvia stalks back for fresh growth and new blooms! We trim often to keep a fuller shrub and nice shape.
Hardy Salvia has been a jewel in our garden and definitely worth a try. 🙂
Will my Bougainvillea plant grow in a container? Yes and it will be a very happy plant. Bougainvilleas do great in most types of pots and containers. These plants are not easy to transplant so make sure the pot you choose is big enough to last the Bougainvillea for years to come.
Although they like their roots crowded in a container, Bougainvilleas do not like standing water. Make sure your pot has good drainage so the Bougainvillea does not get root rot.
Fill your container with potting soil and place the bougainvillea plant inside. Find a sunny location and it will be easy to keep your Bougainvillea happy and healthy.
Bougainvilleas have beautiful red, pink and purple colored bracts, which are specialized leaves that contain the plant’s white slender flowers.
Bougainvillea plants can grow rather large so they must be kept pruned in pots and containers. You can train your Bougainvillea to grow up a trellis or in the shape of a tree.
During the winter, Bougainvillea plants can be most striking and provide gardens with abundant color. Winter is when Bougainvillea Vines and Plants reach their peak color.
The small heart shaped bracts of the Bougainvillea are quite delicate to the touch, and are crinkly in appearance.
How long will a Bougainvillea plant display their color? The length of time depends on how much sun and heat it receives and how healthy the Bougainvillea plant is.
Typically, a healthy Bougainvillea will bloom for about 3 weeks.
Bougainvilleas love sun and more sun. They are heat tolerant and the hotter the better. At the very minimum Bougainvilleas need at least 5 hours of direct sunlight.
Supply your Bougainvillea with regular monthly fertilization. Nitrogen and phosphates are critical to flowering. One of the best Bougainvillea fertilizers I’ve come across so far is BOUGAIN.
You can prune your Bougainvillea any time during the year because it does not affect bloom initiation. If you want the Bougainvillea to grow up, then prune the outer branches. If you want your Bougainvillea to grow out, then prune the new growth. Trim your Bougainvillea drastically before bringing it inside for winter.
Bougainvillea plants and vines have a BLOOM CYCLE followed by a rest cycle whether you trim them or not.
I recommend a little trim or pinching at the end of each Bougainvillea bloom cycle as it promotes more budding for the next one. Our plants just ended a bloom cycle so I will be trimming Bougainvilleas this week.
Lantana plants and shrubs are one of our favorites for our desert garden and front yard. I recommend this flowering plant to people who want color in their landscaping. Not only is our Arizona Lantanaperennial but it is also a low maintenance plant and easy to grow.
In some cooler locations Lantana plants are annual; but places that do NOT get freezingweather will have new colorful blooms every spring.
You will find Lantana is inexpensive to buy, easy to find and takes the desert heat!
The entire shrub can be covered with multi colored Lantana flowers even in the worst triple digit temperatures.
How many Lantana varieties are there? There are about 150 species / varieties of Lantana. This perennial flowering plant is in the Verbena Family, Verbenaceae.
With so many colors to choose from your Lantanas can add vibrant flowersall season long.
Some species of Lantana change color as they mature.
The flower clusters on lantana plants are called umbels.
Some popularLantana variety names are: Irene, Red Bandana, Radiation, Confetti, Ham ‘n Eggs, Texas New Gold, Dallas Red, Trailing Purple, Christine, and many more….
Lantana seems to have no problems surviving on little moisture and soaking up unyielding sun. When watering your lantana try NOT to get the leaves wet but water at the base of the plant. This will prevent the plant from being sun burned.
If I see the leaves wilting I water immediately, soaking the Lantana well to promote deeper, stronger roots.
Can you grow Lantana in pots and containers? Absolutely and lantana loves it!
We have potted lantana all over the yard. It does take a little more effort to care forlantana in containers but it is worth it.
My potted Lantana seems to need more watering than my ground Lantana.
I do not let them dry out completely. Some people do and it works fine for them but I choose not to.
Our Purple Trailing Lantana spills over nicely in the above large pot.
When do I prune my Lantana? Give your Lantana a good pruning in the spring to remove the old growth and prevent the extra woodiness.
Water and lightly fertilize newly trimmed Lantana plants and they will return to bloom quickly. Lantana does not need much fertilizer.
When transplanting your Lantana, gently loosen the roots and shake off the excess dirt. Old soil does not help your Lantana plants.
Place it in the hole you made and backfill with healthy topsoil.
Most animals avoid Lantana flowers and leaves.
Although Lantana is considered poisonous the RIPE Lantana berries are a delicacy for many birds.
Growing Lantanain pots is so easy. Choose your size pot or container. Then have a fun time deciding on your Lantana colors. Stick to one or mix them up.
Remember to gently shake off the old dirt from the Lantana roots before you place it in its new home. Potted plants need more watering especially in the hot sun.
Always water at the base of the plants and not the leaves. An exception would be if the Lantana plant was not in direct sun.
The temperatures here in the Sonoran Desert frequently reach over 100 degrees so I add mulch to every plant in our yard. Mulch really helps here in Arizona.
Lantana is a magnet for hummingbirds and butterflies. These perfect desert plants give you flowering color all season long. That is a lot of butterflies!
Lantana will suffer from frost damage so cover them up during cold winter nights. Prune the damage from the Lantana in the spring and they may come back.
Lantana likes full sun, and isn’t picky about the type of soil it will grow in.
This is precisely why Lantana is a large part of my desert garden.
Not only are Lantanas resistant to extreme temperatures but also drought tolerant.
Some of our Lantana shrubs are growing in unfenced areas and the desert animals leave the plants and Lantana flowers alone.
Lantana is deciduous meaning it drops all leaves in the winter.
If Lantana plants outgrow their assigned space, they tolerate trimming back well during the growing season.
Lantana plants and dogs – Our dogs have no interest in our many Lantana plants, flowers or leaves at all.
The woody stems on the Lantana plants are especially tough and durable and have been used for weaving.
What is the best way to propagate Lantana? Dividing the roots in the winter when the Lantana plant is dormant is the easiest way to propagate.
Soaps, insecticides and common pest treatments can kill Lantana plants. On the rare occasions that our Lantanas have pest problems, I give them a trim and all is well.
Do you want a flowering plant that can take the hot heat and last through the winter? Euryops are low maintenance and good on the budget! I waited over a year before writing about this daisy like plant so I could document what animal critters would eat our Euryops.
It is a pleasure to state Euryops are CRITTER proof; NOT even the Javelina ate our daisy bushes! Replacing desert plants can become costly; therefore this Euryops cultivar VIRIDIS rates HIGH on our list!
Euryops is a genus in the Asteraceae family – Daisy family. The Green leaved variety is Euryops pectinatusViridis. This robust heat resistant plant is native mostly to rocky sites in southern Africa.
They produce cheerful yellow daisy flower heads from fern-like leaves. Euryops are perennial and a very hardy plant, bush or shrub.
When winter comes to the Arizona desert, our Euryops still look amazing while other desert plants go dormant. This daisy bush is cold tolerant to 20 degrees F or -7 Celsius. Plant your daisy shrub in a sunny location that is key!
Yellow is the only flower color, but it’s a bright, sunny yellow bloom that enlivens your garden in the winter. 🙂
Because Euryops are an evergreen, perennial plantthey are an ideal choice for flower beds and borders.
Euryops will tolerate being cut back quite hard after flowering or if you want them to develop some height give them a light pruning.
Follow a regular watering schedule during the first growing season to establish a deep, extensive root system.
**Euryops Viridis generally keep its deep green color leaves even in the heat of summer, although lower leaves may become brown and need to be removed. Once the yellow flowers have faded, trim off the dried ones to help encourage the Euryops to produce more blooms!
Water Needs — water regularly; do not OVERWATER
Flowers are good for cutting and displaying in vases
Perennial and Evergreen
Loves to grow in containers and pots
We had 2 healthy Euryops planted in large containers that died over the winter. The reason was the shade in their location. Lesson learned: when plantingEuryops pick an area with the most sun!
This jubilant plant tolerates drought well; but doesn’t mind if it gets regular water. The daisy blooms give personality to cacti in Xeriscape yards. Euryops are frost tolerant down to USDA zone 8.
Even without flowers, the feathery leaves of Euryops give the garden interest and a sense of lushness. The Viridis cultivar has deep green leaves, while the EuryopsMunchkin cultivar has gray-green leaves.
Euryops have it all! This foolproof plant is HEAT, DROUGHT and ANIMAL resistant.
If you want to add color to your winter garden, consider Euryops! This easy on your budget, yellow daisy bush is hardy and flowers through winter while planted in a sunny location.
Euryops stem cuttings root reasonably easy. Summer is the best time to take cuttings. You can also allow seed heads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds.
Philodendrons are native to the tropical Americas and are a rain forest plant. With close to 1,000 species of philodendrons you have many choices of the best foliage plants available today. Heat resistant, oh yes! Philodendrons do amazing in southern Arizona even with temperatures reaching over 110 degrees.
One of the best houseplants that adds a delight to any room is the philodendron. You can choose from a climbing or non-climbing variety. Our Elephant Ear, philodendronbipinnatifidums, are growing in pots and containers but in the spring I will be planting several in soil next to trees that have regular irrigation. Philodendrons like water because they are a species of the rain forest.
The genus Philodendron is in the family Araceae with each species having its own leaf size, color or shape that gives it a unique personality.
Propagating from climbing philodendrons is quite easy. Simply gather a stem cutting and place it in a glass of water.
In the rain forest, mostPhilodendron species live on the trunks or branches of trees and do not need soil to survive. Those tree-dwelling species are known as epiphytes or hemiepiphytes and are plants that live upon another plant.
What is an epiphyte? This type of plant begins as a seed placed on branches by a rain forest animal and grows attached to the host tree. A hemi-epiphyte is a seed that was dropped on the ground, begins to grow and then finds a host tree to climb. A simple example would be if the seed came from a bird’s droppings…
The Tree Philodendrons are found largely in Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay.
Try not to plant your philodendrons in too large of a container. They actually grow better when their roots are slightly cramped. Re-pot your philodendron when the roots begin to compact into a ball.
Philodendron bipinnatifidum, Elephant Ear philodendron, does produce flowers but it can take more than 10 years… Flowers are rarely produced on philodendrons that are grown indoors.
To keep your philodendron clean; mist the leaves every few days. Misting is another way to make this tropical plant feel like it is in the jungle.
The leaves on my philodendron bipinnatifidum started turning yellow and brown. Originally, I placed this plant in too much direct sunlight. After trimming the yellowing leaves the philodendron was moved to a partly shaded area where it could not be burned by our Arizona sun.
I can safely say this philodendron plant has no insect problems. If you are looking for a low maintenance plant that has large green leaves and gives a tropical feel to your garden… Elephant Ear philodendrons may be the right choice for you.
Zonal geraniums can last for years with the right growing conditions. The red geraniums pictured in this article are the first plant my husband and I acquired when we were married. They are very unique and add a velvety, radiant color to our desert garden even with the record-breaking 2012 temperatures.
This red flower is called a zonal geranium. What is a zonal geranium? Zonal geraniums are the genus Pelargoniums, and are NOT true geraniums.This species of flowering plants work well in Arizona and Texas because they are drought resistant, perennial and heat tolerant. Zonal geraniums originated from South Africa and have become very popular as bedding and container plants.
Important fact: Geraniums, Pelargoniums, are poisonous to dogs and cats. If your pet eats a geranium contact your local veterinarian right away.
I’m always on the lookout for a plant that adds a softness to a thorny, spiky desert garden. Amazingly, a red geranium can thrive almost as well as a cactus. We have several throughout our Arizona yard that are either in full sun or sparse shade. All of our zonal geraniums are doing well; but, the ones with semi shade have larger leaves and more flowers.
Caring for geraniums is easy:
They love the sun but do well in sparse shade especially with high temperatures
Plant Pelargoniums when there is no danger of frost, they do not like the cold
In the fall plants may be dug up and brought indoors by a sunny window away from your dogs and cats
Water geraniums when the top 2 inches of the soil feels dry
Zonal geraniums are critter proof and virtually insect free 🙂
Pelargoniums are low-maintenance and a great choice for xeriscape yards. Grow your geraniums from seed or plant cuttings.
If your geranium has yellow or red leaves it is experiencing stress in some way. The most common causes of red or yellow leaves are:
your geranium – pelargonium is over-watered
phosphorus deficiencies, are you fertilizing? If it has gotten cooler at night and the temperature drops below 55 your geranium will not be able to absorb trace minerals.
another possibility is too much sun
or planted too close together
Too diagnose the problem simply look at the exact conditions your plant is growing in.
Even with the best of care a few leaves will inevitably turn yellow; simply remove them along with spent flowers.
In the fall temperatures drop and red leaves on pelargoniums are a sign that it is time to move indoors or to take cuttings from annual cultivars.
October is barely here and I’m already daydreaming about plans for a colorful, lush spring heat-resistant garden.
Our canna lilies were thriving during the intense heat that Tucson and southern Arizona experienced this summer. Cannas are spectacular in our desert garden and I was thrilled it made the top 10 heat-resistant plants list.
We have several canna lilies that are growing in extra-large pots. It is a joy to watch the leaves on this perennial plant shoot up and slowly unfurl into this tropical-looking foliage.
Caring for a canna lily requires low maintenance and is quite easy. Ours receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight; which cannas prefer. These lilies do well in large pots with good drainage. When choosing a container, bigger is better! This flowering plant does exceptional with some moisture so try not to let it dry out completely.
A canna lily is not actually a lily. This exotic plant is related to the Ginger and Banana plants. The flowers are beautiful but I have to admit my favorite part is the canna lily leaves. The leaves are wide with a stripy pattern making cannas leaves the center of attention in our yard.
Infested cannas do not bloom, and generally look unhealthy. Are bugs eating your canna lily leaves? To address canna leaf rollers, cut off infested leaves or unroll leaves and destroy the caterpillar. We spray bacillus thuringiensis, Bt, a few times a year when needed. It is organic and easy to use if you follow the directions on the bottle.
To prune your canna lily simply cut the dead or damaged foliage at another leaf line to allow for new plant growth.
The rhizomes of Cannas are similar to potatoes but sweeter. In South America they are grown for food. Peel and cut the roots into chunks; place them in the oven and enjoy your delicious canna lilies.
If you live in climate, growing, zone 7 or warmer, your cannas can be grown outside year round. In cooler climates the rhizome can be dug up and stored in a cool, damp environment. Plant your canna lily in the spring by burying the rhizome 4-6 inches below the surface.
These over-sized gracious leaves and silky tall flowers make our front garden a tropical escape away from the arid Arizona desert.
the countdown continues with some unique plants ahead…
Bougainvillea are tropical plants that thrive in outdoor areas with low rainfall and intense heat. The 100 degree temperatures do not faze our Bougainvillea. This flowering jewel is number 10 on our list of the BEST heat-resistant plants in Arizona.
Bougainvilleas flourish in pots and containers. To grow this striking ornamental vine choose a very sunny place. Be sure your pots have holes in the bottom; adequate drainage is a must! Bougainvillea growing tip:Fertilize with Hibiscus Food. Hibiscus food has more potash than many other fertilizers. Be sure to measure exactly the amount of food according to the size of your pot.
The amount of watering for your Bougainvillea is directly related to your area and the local weather. There are some basics —- Bougainvillea is a drought resistant plant, and requires very little water once established. Be sure to let the soil dry between waterings; if your Bougainvillea’s roots stay continuously wet it will promote a weak and shallow root system. Wilting is the best indicator that watering is needed. Don’t let it dry out completely as this will cause bracts and foliage to drop.
When choosing an area to plant your bougainvillea, remember that higher ground is best – as this makes water drain AWAY from the roots. Avoid overwatering.
In Florida, landscape professionals commonly perform a hard cut at the first sign of summer, and keep on a regular trimming schedule all summer long to maintain size of the Bougainvillea. Pinching is the method of removing the soft tips of young plant stems to encourage fuller growth. Bougainvilleas will send out several new stems just below the pinched tip.
The more regularly you pinch, the more your bougainvillea will branch and bloom. The best time to prune or pinch is after the flush of color or flowering cycle is completed. Flowering cycles are typically four to six weeks. Lets get pinching!
Stay tuned as the count down for the best heat survivors continues…
What is the desertbush with Red, Yellow and Orange Flowers? This common Arizona and Texas desert shrub is called the Red Bird of Paradise.
The botanical name for Red Bird of Paradise is Caesalpinia pulcherrima, it is a species in the FABACEAE Family, more commonly known as the pea, bean or legume family.
This is one of the easiest desert flowering plants to grow and take care of in the Phoenix, Tucson area; along with Texas and California. It is deciduous (loses its leaves seasonally), but will bloom constantly through the summer.
The Red Bird of Paradise makes a favorable hedge. The orange and yellow flowers are one of the best plants to attract butterflies & hummingbirds!
The Red Bird of Paradise plant is also the NATIONAL flower of the Caribbean island of Barbados, which is why you may hear it called Pride of Barbados. Please note: when purchasing this plant I have seen it labeled as “Pride of Barbados”.
This desert beauty is very hardy and drought resistant once it’s established; they can have a very long tap-root. With a little mulch at the base, your desert bird of paradise will come back year after year.
The leaves are delicatelacy, fern-looking. You may see this desert plant’s leaves fold up at night, no worries; it is called Nyctinasty and is completely natural. Bird of Paradise are fairly fast growers, and can get LARGE, so periodic trimming is suggested. The better water drainage you have the healthier this flowering plant will be.
Some people refer to this orange and yellow desert bush as the Mexican Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia mexicana). The actual Mexican Bird of Paradise has only yellow flowers and rounded leaves. For more Mexican Bird of Paradise info
TIDBITS: The Amazon Rainforest Medicine men had some medicinal uses for Red Birdof Paradise, Caesalpinia pulcherrima. Four grams from the root was used to induce abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy. The beanpods and seeds of the Bird of Paradise plant are toxic / poisonous and will cause abdominal symptoms and vomiting.