Salvia darcyi, a hardy, heat resistant desert Garden Flower in a container!

RedSalvia darcyi,  survived well through the desert winter months that hit in the mid 30’s and does superb in the high heat as long as it is watered everyday! It is a thirsty plant during these temperatures of 100 degrees or more.  I recommend larger pots than the ones I used.

Salvia Darcii arizona plants
Red Salvia plants in containers
red salvia desert plant
remove the spent flowers from Salvia plants

This is by far the MOST hardy, successful flower in my Arizona Garden! This perennial Salvia will generally grow from between eighteen inches and thirty-six inches, yet there are some that are much smaller. Mine is averaging about 20 -22 inches. The red salvia in the picture is a young plant that actually started from a fallen seed. The photo above is just after I pruned the finished red flowers. From having Salvia (red and blue) for over 2 years now I have learned it is best to trim them quite far down the stem to gain a thicker shrub.  Best of all this flowering plant is critter proof.  Last year the desert rats, squirrels, and rabbits ate most of our flowers except the Salvia. Since then, we are determined to have a rat-proof, squirrel-proof, rabbit-proof thriving Garden.  Quick note: Hummingbirds love the flowers and will visit your garden often!

To keep your Salvia looking vibrant and encourage better flowering, deadhead the plant. You can do this by pinching or cutting off the flower spikes with spent blooms, I like to use small pruning shears.
red salvia heat resistant plant
growing Salvia plants in pots
Red salvia flowers can form a striking border when massed together. It is a good choice for a bedding plant. Some people call this perfect Arizona plant, Scarlet Sage.
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Honeysuckles made # 5 – in the top Ten Heat Resistant plants for Arizona

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.

heat resistant honeysuckle
heat-resistant orange honeysuckle

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.

common honeysuckle
Japanese honeysuckle is considered invasive

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.

honeysuckle
honeysuckle flower

Tree, fence, trellis or wall; honeysuckle vines will climb on anything to seek out the sun.

orange honeysuckle flower
orange honeysuckle flower

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.

Honeysuckle bush
Arizona heat-resistant Honeysuckle plant
Honeysuckle and Salvia plants for hummingbirds
Honeysuckle and Salvia plants for hummingbirds, butterflies

These heat tolerant honeysuckle plants did well even in full desert sun as long as they received their daily water.

native arizona honeysuckle
Lonicera arizonica Arizona honeysuckle

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.

Pomegranate is #1 in our TOP 10 Heat Resistant Plants!

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!

punica granatum red fruit
Pomegranate tree

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.

fruit of love pomegranate
Juicy pomegranate seeds

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 granatum flourished in the extreme desert heat!

leaves of the pomegranate
Pomegranate seedlings 3 months old

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.

p granatum blossoms flower
bright red pomegranate flowers

The leaves of Punica granatum are 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.

red seeds in pomegranate
white membrane inside of a pomegranate

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.

red pomegranate
ripe pomegranate

HARVEST:

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.

pomegranate fruit
over-ripe pomegranate with cracks

EATING:

The easiest way to eat a p. granatum is to use a bowl of water to separate the seeds.  The seeds sink and the white membrane floats.

seeds of p granatum
sliced pomegranate fruit

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.

flowering desert shrubs red
Pomegranate is a heat resistant plant

Another reason Pomegranates ranked #1 on our list:

Mandevilla on a Trellis – Arizona Desert Garden

The MANDEVILLA vine is growing well.  This Mandevilla plant is native to Central and South America – named after Henry Mandeville (1773-1861), a British diplomat and gardener.

Mandevilla, also known as Brazilian jasmineDipladenia,  is a flowering tropical plant that originated in the hills above Rio de Janeiro.

Mandevilla up a trellis front door
Mandevilla, dipladenia vines in containers, trellis

Mandevillas develop spectacular flowers in warm climates. They are perfect here in the hot desert Arizona garden. One of our secrets for cultivating this luscious pink variety (they come in white, red and yellow) is the part shade design.

**We purchased the 4 trellises from Home Depot, bent them slightly to fit the arch and then screwed them together.

An important part of Mandevilla care is the light it receives. The Mandevilla vines need some shade. We used 4 large plastic garden trellises by the front door as you can see in the photo. Mandevilla plants love bright indirect or filtered sunlight, but will get burned in full sun especially this Arizona sun.

Trellis by door for Mandevilla Vines, Bougainvilla
Mandevilla Vines in Arizona

Mandevillas are a vine and will need some type of support, we used garden ties and tape to help train it along the trellis.

Some say the Mandevilla Vine is not a Perennial plant because it will NOT survive if temperatures reach below 50 degrees.  BUT this past winter Southern Arizona reached down to the 30’s and as you can see this beautiful plant is thriving and full of pink flowers. Mandevillas have brought tropical flair to our Arizona front yard and desert garden.

Mandellia plant in pot container
Arch Trellis with Mandevilla and Bougainvillea VINES in pots

Mandevilla plants are critter proof – squirrels and packrats leave this plant alone!

Mandevilla plant in pots
Dipladenia, Mandevilla Plants Vines

There are over 100 species of Mandevilla plants.  The blooms start out as a lighter color and get darker as they age.

Mandevilla Vine in containers Trellis by door
Mandevilla Vine growing in a pot, climbing a trellis

Grow your Bougainvillea Plant in containers and pots. They LOVE IT !!

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.

Bougainvillea flowering bush shrub
Growing Bougainvillea in large pots

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.

growin Bougainvillea in pots
Bougainvillea plants on your patio

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.

growing bougainvilleas shrubs
Pink Bougainvillea thriving in a large container

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.

heat resistant plants Bougainvillia magenta blooms
Bougainvillias are tropical plants, magenta flowers, heat tolerant

The small heart shaped bracts of the Bougainvillea are quite delicate to the touch, and are crinkly in appearance.

can I grow bougainvilleas in containers
Bougainvillea potted plant growing up a trellis

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.

Desert flowering vines
Bougainvillea pink leaves and white flowers

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.

Pink flowers on Bougainvillea plants are leaves
large containers to grow Bougainvillea Plants

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 tree plants
Bougainvilleas blooming in pots

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.

Pruning Desert Bird of Paradise bushes and shrubs

flowering desert shrubs fern leaves Texas
AZ TX Desert Bushes with Red Orange Flowers fern leaves

When should you prune desert bird of paradise shrubs?

Caesalpinia pulcherrima plant with red flowers fern leaves
Red Bird of Paradise shrubs orange flowers and fern leaves in the AZ TX desert

Pruning your Red Bird of Paradise,  Caesalpinia pulcherrima , which is what I have, should be in late winter or early spring.

Arizona bushes with red flowers
Red Bird of Paradise is sometimes called Mexican Bird of Paradise

I pruned mine a few weeks ago with a sharp pair of garden sheers. Many people cut these plants almost to the ground. I don’t, I prune my Red Bird of Paradise bushes about 18 inches from ground level.

Red Bird of Paradise cutting
Trimming Caesalpinia pulcherrima – pruning desert Bird of Paradise bushes

Red, Yellow and Mexican Bird of Paradise bushes, trees, and shrubs thrive in dry conditions; once established, they are drought tolerant plants, with fern looking leaves blooming with orange, red or yellow flowers.

Texas shrubs with orange red flowers
Red Desert Bird of Paradise, drought tolerant plants
bushes with bean pods orange flowers
Red Bird of Paradise shrub in AZ TX CA Mexico

The Yellow and Mexican Bird of Paradise need very little pruning.

Caesalpinia gilliesii is a drought tolerant desert shrub
Yellow Bird of Paradise has red stamens and yellow flowers

Caesalpinia gilliesii, or sometimes called Yellow Bird of Paradise or Desert Bird of Paradise is a shrub that has been naturalized in Texas;  planted as to give an effect of wild growth and may some year be considered native in the rest of the southwestern US.  In the photo below see the yellow bird of paradise, Caesalpinia gilliesii.

TX bush with yellow flowers and bean pods
Yellow flowering Bird of Paradise, Caesalpinia gilliesii

This yellow flowering desert shrub has clusters of beautiful yellow flowers with long red stamens.  The Yellow Bird of Paradise is a fast growing, upright shrub that is originally from Argentina.  Pruning your Yellow Bird of Paradise bush will encourage dense growth.

Caesalpinia gilliesii mistaken for Mexican Bird of Paradise
Yellow blooming Bird of Paradise desert bush in AZ TX CA

Yellow Bird of Paradise is drought tolerant and very durable, also cold and heat tolerant. Exposure to full sun is best for ALL Bird of Paradise Plants.   The yellow bird of paradise shrub is toxic.  

drought tolerant desert bush shrub
Yellow Bird of Paradise bush with Red Stamens bean pods

This Hardy Bird of Paradise shrub can grow to the height of 10 ft.

In the early Spring, prune to remove dead or damaged stems.  In the summer water your Yellow Bird of Paradise every week.  Water it deeply to stimulate an effective root system and tap-root.

The Mexican Bird of Paradise bush can be pruned and trained into a small tree, see photo below.

Bushes with round leaves yellow flowers desert
Mexican Bird of Paradise bush yellow flowers round leaves
desert shrub with yellow flowers in Arizona
Caesalpinia mexicana, Mexican Bird of Paradise with yellow flowers round leaves

In the photo ABOVE see the yellow flowers and rounded shape of the leaves on the Mexican Bird of Paradise bush or tree.

Caesalpinia mexicana yellow flowers
Mexican Bird of Paradise tree shrub with yellow flowers

Whether you pick the Yellow, Mexican or Red Bird of Paradise shrubs or trees,  you are certainly choosing a winner for your desert garden!

shrubs with bean pods red flowers
Desert bush with orange red yellow flowers, bean pods

LANTANA made #2 for the top 10 heat resistant plants in Arizona

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 Lantana perennial 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 freezing weather will have new colorful blooms every spring.

Lantana plant in pots
Texas Gold Lantana plant

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.

lantana for desert landscaping
white trailing lantana in xeriscape yard

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 flowers all season long.

Lantana shrubs
White, Purple, Red Lantana mound

Some species of Lantana change color as they mature.

large lantana mound
Lantana plants grow into shrubs and mounds

The flower clusters on lantana plants are called umbels.

verbena mixed with lantana
Confetti Lantana and Purple Verbena plants

Some popular Lantana variety names are:  Irene, Red Bandana, Radiation, Confetti, Ham ‘n Eggs, Texas New Gold, Dallas Red, Trailing Purple, Christine, and many more….

varieties of lantana
Camara Lantana Plant in containers

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.

Red lantana mound
Lantana plants attract butterflies

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 for lantana in containers but it is worth it.

the best lantana heat resistant
Texas Gold Lantana grows well in containers

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.

grow Lantana plants
Trailing Lantana growing in pots and containers

Our Purple Trailing Lantana spills over nicely in the above large pot.

camara shrub lantana flowering confetti
Lantana Camara Plant, Confetti

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.

trimming lantana bushes
a good pruning helps Lantana plants

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.

soil for lantana plants
Easy to grow Lantana

Most animals avoid Lantana flowers and leaves.

is lantana toxic poisonous
poisonous leaves and woody stems of Lantana

Although Lantana is considered poisonous the RIPE Lantana berries are a delicacy for many birds.

yellow gold lantana growing
Lantana is a Deer Resistant, Critter Proof plant
bush with yellow and red flowers
Texas New Gold Lantana Flower

Growing Lantana in 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.

cheap desert plants that last
Perennial Yellow Gold Lantana in our Arizona garden

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.

Native Arizona flowering plants
Yellow Lantana in our drought tolerant garden

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!

plants to attract butterflies
Butterflies like Lantana flowers

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 potted plants
Marvelous Praying Mantis with New Gold Lantana
Arizona bush with orange red flowers
Potted Purple Trailing Lantana next to our Red Bird of Paradise shrub

Lantana likes full sun, and isn’t picky about the type of soil it will grow in.

Arizona Lantana drought tolerant
Purple Flowers on our potted Lantana

This is precisely why Lantana is a large part of my desert garden.

large Lantana Shrubs
different Lantana species plants

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.

red orange lantana
landscaping with Lantana plants

Lantana is deciduous meaning it drops all leaves in the winter.

drought and heat tolerant plant
Lantana plants do well in pots

If Lantana plants outgrow their assigned space, they tolerate trimming back well during the growing season.

Lantana flowers in a desert yard
Yellow flowering Lantana containers

Lantana plants and dogs – Our dogs have no interest in our many Lantana plants, flowers or leaves at all.

Irene species of Lantana plants
Red Orange Yellow Lantana
lantana bush shrub
Radiation, Yellow and Red Bandana Lantana Varieties
Red flowering bush lantana
Radiation species of Lantana

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.

 

The daisy-like bush, Euryops are # 4 – top Ten Heat Resistant plants our Arizona garden

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.

shrub with daisy flowers in Arizona
Daisy like bush that is perennial

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!

drought heat tolerant daisy plants
bushes with yellow daisy flowers, Euryops

Euryops is a genus in the Asteraceae family –  Daisy family.  The Green leaved variety is Euryops pectinatus Viridis.  This robust heat resistant plant is native mostly to rocky sites in southern Africa.

low cost drought tolerant plants
Euryops are heat tolerant daisy-like plants

They produce cheerful yellow daisy flower heads from fern-like leaves.  Euryops are perennial and a very hardy plant, bush or shrub.

heat resistant daisy bush
yellow daisy flower of the Euryops bush

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. 🙂

heat resistant desert plants
Euryops look attractive next to Brittlebush

Because Euryops are an evergreen, perennial plant they are an ideal choice for flower beds and borders.

drought heat tolerant plants
Euryops daisy like plant

Euryops will tolerate being cut back quite hard after flowering or if you want them to develop some height give them a light pruning.

drought heat tolerant plants
Euryops daisy like plant

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!

drought tolerant arizona plant
yellow flowers of Euryops shrub
  • 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 planting Euryops pick an area with the most sun!

Euryops bush with yellow daisy flowers
heat resistant daisy shrubs

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.

daisy flowering plants in containers
Euryops daisy plant in pots

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 Euryops Munchkin cultivar has gray-green leaves.

best desert winter plants with color
Euryops are critter proof plants

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.

Propagation:

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.

*HONEYSUCKLES made #5 in Top HEAT Resistant Plants

Philodendron made # 6 in my top Ten Heat Resistant plants for Arizona

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.

philodendron
Philodendron bipinnatifidum plant

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, philodendron bipinnatifidums, 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.

heat resistant plant
Elephant Ear Philodendron plant growing in Arizona

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.

climbing philodendron
climbing philodendron

Propagating from climbing philodendrons is quite easy.  Simply gather a stem cutting and place it in a glass of water.

In the rain forest, most Philodendron 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.

For more in-depth facts and information on philodendrons, this site is excellent:   http://www.exoticrainforest.com/Grow%20or%20Growing%20Philodendrons.html

Philodendron is heat tolerant
Philodendron bipinnatifidum is heat tolerant

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 flower
philodendron flower

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.

Philodendron yellow leaves
Philodendron yellow-brown leaves

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.

Red Geraniums made # 7 in my top Ten Heat Resistant plants for southern Arizona

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.

Zonal Geranium in Arizona
planted zonal geraniums in Arizona

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.

zonal geraniums bedding

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 🙂
heat resistant geraniums
hanging basket of Red Geraniums in Arizona

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:

  1. your geranium – pelargonium is over-watered
  2. 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.
  3. another possibility is too much sun
  4. or planted too close together

Too diagnose the problem simply look at the exact conditions your plant is growing in.

Red Geranium is a zonal geranium
Pelargonium is a zonal geranium

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.

 

Canna Lily is my # 9 in the top Ten heat resistant plants

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.

Canna lily heat resistant
heat resistant Canna lily

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.

Order: Zingiberales, Family: Cannaceae, Genus: Canna

Canna lily flower
Canna lily flower

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.

bacillus thuringiensis
bacillus thuringiensis

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.

canna lily leaves
canna lily leaves

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…

Desert Shrubs – Caesalpinia pulcherrima

Lacy leaves and continually blooming red, orange with a splash of yellow flowers on my Bird of Paradise Arizona shrub. I was worried that the monsoon rains from this week would damage my young Red Bird of Paradise plant. No worries! I have new orange, yellow and red flowers decorating our driveway and the hummingbirds love it.

Arizona and Texas bushes
bushes with bean pods and orange flowers

The Southwest including California, Arizona, and Texas are cascading with these flowering desert plants and hardy drought tolerant bushes.

orange flowering arizona bushes
Bird of Paradise shrub with orange flowers

Some my even think the Red Bird of Paradise is a native plant of Arizona. Actually,  Red Bird of Paradise, Caesalpinia pulcherrima,  is native to the tropics and subtropics of the Americas and is also the NATIONAL flower of the Caribbean island of Barbados, which is why you may hear it called Pride of Barbados.

This flowering perennial shrub is one of the easiest desert plants to care for. Red Bird of Paradise is very hardy, drought tolerant once established. (they can have very long taproots) With a little mulch at the base, they come back year after year.

The Red Bird of Paradise

I’ve heard many people in Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona refer to this orange and red desert bush as the Mexican Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia mexicana). The real Mexican Bird of Paradise has yellow flowers and is larger. The Mexican Bird of Paradise is native to Mexico.

Mexican Bird of Paradise is native to Mexico and has yellow flowers
Red Bird of Paradise in Tucson

The Red Bird of Paradise is a deciduous (loses its leaves) shrub that thrives in  full sun and has bright red, yellow and orange flowers that grow on long, thin stalks. The leaves are lacy,  ferny-looking. The Red Bird of Paradise is a fairly fast grower, and can get large, so periodic trimming is suggested.

yellow and orange flowering bush

A few bean pods are appearing on the Red Bird of Paradise bushes in our yard.  I look forward to propagating the seeds later this season as I’ve already located a sunny spot in our xeriscape desert garden to grow more. Red Bird of Paradise plants are a species in the FABACEAE Family, more commonly known as the pea, bean or legume family.

Bean Pods on Bird of Paradise bush
Bean Pods on Red Bird of Paradise

To germinate the Red Bird of Paradise seeds, I simply soak the seeds from the bean pods in water for 24 hours.  I put them in peat pots, barely cover the seeds. They germinate. Red Bird of Paradise seeds need at least 8 hours of sun, but not direct sun it will be too hot! You can start to give them a little more direct sun after the first leaves appear.

Peat Pots are great and make growing and transplanting your Red Bird of Paradise seedlings much easier. Start your seeds indoors and when you are ready to plant your Bird of Paradise just put the entire pot in the ground. Roots will penetrate the peat pot and the pot disintegrates enriching the soil.

Remove the dead Lily pads to keep the pond healthy for the fish

The past couple days it has been over 109 degrees. With water evaporating from the pond I added more today.  I keep the level of water in the pond as high as I can so the fish can stay cooler. The lillies need time to grow and cover the pond area providing shade to Goldfish/Koi, I use the name Koi lightly as these are not authentic Japanese Koi.

After adding the tap water I immediately put in a Stress Coat. My current brand is by PondCare.  After a day I put in my weekly treatment of ECOFIX, also by Pond Care. BE SURE TO FOLLOW DIRECTIONS COMPLETELY!  Your pond needs a good filter system especially when adding these chemicals.

Filter after Filter, finally I believe I have discovered the TOP, The BEST Pond Filter System – LIFEGARD All In One !!!  Look in the right hand photo, you can see it.  It cost a little more but it is so worth it!  The comparison to my other filters is “this one blows the others OUT OF THE WATER.”

I can’t say enough about this pond filter. After trying so many this is the absolute best filter I have seen – LIFEGARD All In One – it scores a 10 !
The plants in the pond are thriving but It is important to remove the dead lily pads. I use long garden shears. Two of the fish stopped just for a moment for the camera.