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:
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!
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.
Flowering cactus belong to a tribe called Trichocereeae. There are 25 members, species, of these cacti including the night blooming variety.
One of our cacti had a gorgeous white flower bloom in the night. Shadow stuck his nose in it as soon as I let him outside so this flower must smell wonderful!
Many people call the cactus in the photo below, the Easter lily cactus. This beauty is part of the large genus called Echinopsis, which contains over 100 species of treelike to globose, (shape of a sphere or ball).
Along with Shadow, bees and hummingbirds love these cactus blooms!
Echinopsis cactus species are known for the great size of the flower tube. See the size of the tube on the cactus photo below.The Flowers from these cacti tend to be much larger than you would expect.
This cactus bloomed during the night. We adore our garden surprises from our variety of cacti. Sadly the flowers only last for a day. The cactus flower shrivels up and by morning you won’t even know it was there.
Caring for your flowering cactus is quite easy. Cactus should be grown in full sun and well drained soil. The soil for Echinopsis cactus species should never be saturated, as the soft fibrous roots will rot if kept wet for any length of time.
Why doesn’t my bougainvillea bloom? Bougainvilleas like their roots to be crowded in a pot. If planted in the ground, the Bougainvillea may not bloom as much. If you want more color in your garden, grow your Bougainvillea in containers! Its vivid color is formed in the three bracts that surround the little white flower.
Bougainvillea does well growing on a trellis. The 2 vines in the picture are a Bougainvillea vine in a pot next to the Mandevilla Vine growing in another container. I trained both vines to continue growing up the trellis.
The pictures of these plants growing on our front porch gives you and idea of how happy the Mandevilla Plant is in the large container and how well the Bougainvillea Bush does in a pot.
To grow your flowering Bougainvillea shrub/vine choose a very sunny place. Be sure your pots have good holes in the bottom, so you will have good drainage. Fertilize with Hibiscus food as it has more potash than many other fertilizers. Be sure to measure exactly the amount of food according to the size of your pot. Bougainvillea comes from a hot humid climate, and they love the heat!
Be sure the dirt in the pot feels dry before you water your bougainvillea. Water large pots until water runs out the drainage holes in the bottom. There are exceptions to watering and caring for your Bougainvillea. Here in the southern Arizona desert we have had some temperatures above 110 degrees F. When I saw any of our plants wilting, including the Bougainvillea plant and Mandevilla vine I watered them. Being very careful not to get water on the leaves so they do not get burned from the Sun!
The Bougainvillea is climbing up the bamboo sticks to the trellis and combining with the Mandevilla vine.
If you want your Bougainvillea to grow up and not out you must trim/prune the stems that grow outwards. Keep them short around the bottom.
I found that the plants we cut back are growing straight up the bamboo garden stakes, look at the picture of our bougainvillea. The Bougainvilleas I do not prune, have many leaves but fewer blooms, color.
During this winter, both the Mandevilla bush/vine and the drought tolerant shrub, Bougainvillea, did ok. The winter temperatures dropped to the mid 30’s. I removed all the dead leaves.
Bougainvillea is drought resistant, I do not call it drought tolerant because it is not a desert native plant. Bougainvillea are native to South America. This flowering bush or is heat resistant to the extreme. Probably the best heat resistant desert plant is the Bougainvillea. Caring for and growing a Bougainvillea takes more effort but it is worth it. Note how short I prune the bottom branches of the Bougainvillea in the front pot.
Growing a Mandevilla – traditionally it is called a Dipladenia, but they are different in how they grow and look. For basic purposes they are vines with the Dipladenia growing better as a shrub or bush and being planted in a container or does well as a hanging plant. The Mandevilla is a climbing vine and does well twining and growing on a trellis.
Our Mandevilla Vine prefers part shade. It receives bright light but is also partially protected from rain and the Arizona Monsoon season. It is NOT drought tolerant or drought resistant. But the Mandevilla plant is HEAT RESISTANT. Our Mandevilla is doing incredible and growing well in the pot. Please see the attached photos.
It has bloomed continually most of the year. As far as pruning the Mandevilla Plant. I remove the Mandevilla yellow leaves, and trim a few branches that may have died but that is about it. This Mandevilla vine, bush, plant takes very little pruning. Although it is NOT drought tolerant, it doesn’t seem to have any problems with the desert heat as long as I water it every day. If your Mandevilla vine/bush can be planted in part shade… I would recommend this tropical flowering bush for any garden, from planting in Florida to growing in Texas, Arizona and California.
In this picture, we took 4 large trellises bending the top 2 to form the arch. As the Mandevilla Plant grew I used garden tape and ties to gently connect it to the trellis. The Mandevilla vines grow back and forth along the top of the trellis giving our desert yard a tropical, lush look. Our trellises were purchased from Home Depot. http://www.homedepot.com/
Mandevilla is a genus of plants belonging to the Dogbane (attributed to its toxicity) family. Native to South America. It has about 100 species, mostly tropical and subtropical flowering vines (any plant with a growth habit of climbing, stems or runners).
The Mandevilla flowers come in a variety of colors, including white, pink, yellow, and red. The Hummingbirds and butterflies visit our Mandevilla often. It is a pollen yielding plant that is fast growing and high flowering. In conclusion, Mandevilla is easy to care for as long as it gets watered regularly, has a trellis to climb on, is in part shade and protected from winds and rain.