Like most plants, the best time for pruning a yucca is right before it goes into its growth period. This will be in early spring. While early spring is the ideal time, a yucca can be pruned anytime. Just make sure the yucca plant gets plenty of light while it is recovering. Like all things about yucca plants, care and pruning is very easy. It may seem drastic, but I assure you that your yucca plant considers this to be a very normal thing.
Wear gloves as you trim and shape your Yucca, otherwise you will get many cuts on your hands. The pruning will be much easier if you have extra sharp garden shears.
The yucca plant in the above picture was so large we could not walk to the front door. Pruning your Yucca is a bit time consuming but is well worth it. As I look above at our Yucca I think it needs a little more trimmed off the top!
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:
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. 🙂
This weeks rain invoked shrubs with purple flowers everywhere. Arizona’s most popular perennial, drought resistant, desert shrub is the Purple Texas Sage or sometimes call Texas Ranger Plant.
Texas designated Texas purple sage (Leucophyllum frutescens) as the official state native shrub in 2005. The Texas Sage desert shrub is sometimes referred to in Phoenix, Arizona as Purple sage.
While driving through the city of Tucson, Arizona I came across a field of purple, red, orange, and yellow blooming bushes. The picture above is a Texas Ranger Plant, purple texas sage, next to a Red Bird of Paradise desert plant. What a perfect combination of two of the best flowering drought tolerant bushes available.
This gray leafed desert shrub adds interest to your garden even when it is not in bloom because of the color of the evergreen leaves. Purple Texas Sage is deer resistant, heat resistant,drought tolerant and a good choice for xeriscape gardens. Watch for purple blooms from May through October. Your Purple Texas Ranger Plant does best with full sun. This Purple flowering bush is a very hardy desert plant with low maintenance and is easy to find.
Those beautiful dazzling purple flowers, pictured above, will come out after rain or when it is humid. You can also encourage flowering by giving them extra water. Let the ground dry out between waterings so you do not cause the roots to rot.
The main challenge for your Purple flowering desert bush is the fact you will want to prune them to keep your Purple Sage plant looking neat. So if you want to trim your purple sage shrub into a hedge just remember – the best time to prune your purple Texas Sage is when it is NOT flowering. It is best NOT to trim it when the purple flowers are in bloom.
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.