Red, Salvia 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.
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 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.
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 granatum flourished 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 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.
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. granatum is 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:
The sunflower has a tall, thick stem crowned by what seems like a single giant flower. Interestingly, this flower is no flower at all; but a constellation made up of hundreds of small flowers called the sunflower head!
Although the sunflower head resembles a huge flower with yellow petals and a brown center, it is actually the brown that is the constellation of flowers, with the yellow leaves acting more as a protectant to the sunflowers during the flowering and seed development phases.
The sunflower’s cheery facade plus its sheer height make it a wonderful plant that everybody will enjoy, either in the vegetable garden or at the back of a flower bed.
A sunflower can grow to become well over 10 feet (3 meters) tall and the head can become quite wide. Once open, the sunflower head will start to follow the sun while it is moving across the sky.
The flowers in the center of the sunflower will then start to grow fruits, sunflower seeds, and after a while these seeds will loosen and scatter across the ground.
Once that is done, the life cycle is complete and it will eventually wilt and die so that the new seeds can grow to become sunflowers in the next growing season.
When growing sunflowers it is important to consider where you want to plant them because they will need full sun to mature successfully. Many people grow sunflowers close to walls since the sunflower can be quite sensitive to the wind; but, planting close to a wall will unfortunately come at a loss.
Sunflowers are sensitive to the amount of sunlight they obtain, and how much water required to optimize their growth. Too much water may result in the soil loosening and becoming far too unstable to support the weight of the sunflower head as it sways in the wind.
Planting a larger grouping of sunflowers has the benefit of helping to stabilize the immediate area of soil and helps to create some barrier to wind damage. I put stakes into the ground close to the sunflower stem making sure it stands strong and stable on its own. Next, you can tie small pieces of thick string, florist ties or velcro around the stake and the sunflower, thus helping them to support each other.
Currently we have several sunflowers growing in large pots. Sunflowers do not do well if they sit in water so it is important that your pot or garden container drains well. You can use a layer of sand or rocks in your container. The garden soil you choose needs to be full of nutrients.
When placing your sunflower seeds in a pot, do not put them close together. Depending on the size of your container, space them at the minimum of 3 inches apart.
To enjoy the seeds of your sunflowers here are simple harvesting tips:
When the backside of the sunflower head turns yellow be sure to protect them from birds, squirrels and other animals that eat sunflower seeds!
Once the back of the sunflower head is brown it means time to harvest! Cut the head off about 12 inches down the stem
Then rub the head using your hand and the sunflower seeds will fall off
extra tidbit: If pressed, sunflower seeds will give you sunflower oil. This oil can be used for many purposes and ongoing research is mapping new and improved uses every day. First of all, sunflower oil is great in cooking and will give food a very mild but distinct taste, similar to mild olive oils. Sunflower oil can also be transformed into lubricants for engine parts and can even work as a fuel for engines.
Arizona’s well-known desert bird of paradise shrubs burgeon with vivid red flowers or delightful yellow blooms. The red bird of paradise, Caesalpinia Pulcherrima, is our favorite and we have several constituting a border.
This Red Bird of Paradise is a drought and heat tolerant shrub that relishes full sun with its lively red- orange flowers cultivating out of long, thin stalks.
All the Desert Bird of Paradise bushes are Perennial (only plant them once). Pruning and trimming is standard since these desert plants are easy growers; reaching over 10 feet tall. PRUNING your Desert Bird of Paradise
Peat Pots are great and make growing and transplanting your Desert Bird of Paradise seedlings easy. Start your seeds indoors and when you are ready to plant simply put the entire pot in the ground. Roots will penetrate the peat pot and the pot disintegrates enriching the soil.
To germinate Bird of Paradise seeds, soak the seeds from the bean pods (pods need to be brown) in water for 48-72 hours. Next plant them in peat pots, barely cover the seeds. You may prefer to use the paper towel method to germinate your seeds; if so, when a white shoot (root) appears, plant it with the white rootDOWN. Cover the seeds lightly with damp soil.
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.
These resilient desert bushes THRIVE in intense heat and look stunning with cactus, succulents, Lantana, even Bougainvillea!
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.
When should you prune desert bird of paradise shrubs?
Pruning your Red Bird of Paradise, Caesalpinia pulcherrima , which is what I have, should be in late winter or early spring.
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, 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.
The Yellow and Mexican Bird of Paradise need very little pruning.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In the photo ABOVE see the yellow flowers and rounded shape of the leaves on the Mexican Bird of Paradise bush or tree.
Whether you pick the Yellow, Mexican or Red Bird of Paradise shrubs or trees, you are certainly choosing a winner for your desert garden!
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 that blooming sage shrub or plant that is overflowing with purple flowers in the AZ desert? Humidity from Monsoon season brings a purple explosion for the Arizona Desert. The Texas Sage, Texas Ranger Plants are in full bloom! Take a look at the gorgeous purple sage pictures.
One of the best drought tolerant, heat resistant desert plants is the Purple TexasSage bush / shrub (Texas Ranger Plant). Texas Sage is mostly evergreen (meaning it keeps its leaves), drought resistant, perennial, cold resistant, hard to kill and fits well in a low maintenance xeriscape garden. These blooming desert plants thrive in the hot, humid monsoon season of Arizona.
Because the showy purple flower display coincides with high humidity, Texas Purple Sage is sometimes nicknamed a barometer plant.
Mostly you will hear this Arizona desert plant referred to as Texas Sage. Actually it is not a true sage. Texas Ranger Shrubs are related to penstemons and snap dragons. This desert bush is native to Mexico and Texas.
The picture above is a variety of desert Sage bushes, called Chihuahuan Sage, Leucophyllum laevigatum. All of our sage bushes are blooming with brilliant purpleflowers and lots of bees. These desert bushes are perfect for bees.
I could even say that the Texas Ranger Shrub is the best plant to attract bees! We have so many bees in our purple shrubs that you can hear the buzzing from across the yard. Texas Ranger plants and all the different varieties of sage would be a great benefit to bee hives.
Our Chihuahuan Sage, more commonly called Texas Purple Sage, is along the back of our yard where it receives full sun. The hotter it gets the more this drought tolerant flowering shrub loves it!
The Chihuahuan variety of sage has an informal, relaxed growth habit. You can see in the pictures that I missed this seasons pruning. The best time to prune your Sage bush is in the spring because the summer desert heat brings a flush of new growth.
Follow a regular watering schedule during the first growing season. Once your Arizona Desert bush establishes a deep root system you can reduce the water. Feed your Texas Sage with a general purpose fertilizer before the new growth in spring.
It is amazing to wake up and see your desert yard explode with purple flowers and the loud symphony of buzzing bees. One of the best parts of Monsoon season is the blooming desert plants with our Chihuahuan Sage, Texas Purple Sage, Texas Ranger Plant, whatever you choose to call it, being at the top of our favorites list.
To grow your sage bush – plant them in full sun with lots of room to grow. If you prune your Purple Sage, do it in the spring. They prefer well-drained soils and will rot if given too much water. There are many different varieties of Texas Ranger Plants (Leucophyllum frutescens), Texas Sage, Sage bushes. Your desert landscaping will look beautiful with these fragrant lavender flowers.
In the photo below I included a picture of our Red Fairy Duster plant. Fairy Duster, Calliandra, is an evergreen, desert shrub that I recommend for people who want plants that are perennial (you need to plant them only once), low maintenance, hardy, drought tolerant, and provides lovely color next to your sage bush.
Once these desert plants bloom, get your camera and take pictures. The sage flowers do not last long especially if an AZ monsoon rain comes.