Archive for “Plant of the Month” Category

Plant of the Month – Bougainvillea – You Can Grow That

June 11, 2018

The vibrant color of bougainvillea adds a welcome splash of color to southwestern landscapes, and despite their lush green appearance, they thrive in hot, dry climates with little fuss. There are several different species of bougainvillea with Bougainvillea glabra, B. peruviana, and B. spectabilis being the most common. Native to South America, this drought-tolerant plant comes available as shrubs, vines, as well as …

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Plant of the Month – The Mighty Saguaro

May 15, 2018

The Saguaro cactus, Carnegiea gigantea, is the most famous and characteristic plant of the Sonoran desert. This gigantic, tree-like cactus is an Arizona icon! Description The main trunk of a mature Saguaro may be 40 feet high and 2 feet in diameter. A woody inner skeleton provides the strength to support ten arms or more. Although the age of a Saguaro …

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Saguaro in desert

Plant of the Month: In Celebration of Trees for Arbor Day

April 10, 2018

All about Arbor Day April 27 is designated as National Arbor Day, a holiday set aside to celebrate the significant role trees play in our lives and our environment. It is also a day to promote the planting and care of trees. The founder, J. Sterling Morton, had the idea of setting aside a special day for tree planting. As …

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Plant of the Month: Acacia

February 2, 2018

Acacias include a diverse group of arid region landscape plants ranging from trees to shrubs to groundcovers. Acacias offer shade, screening, and spectacular flower shows for your landscape, depending upon the plant selected. They are primarily full sun plants and tolerate a variety of soil conditions. Tree acacias require infrequent, yet periodic deep watering to develop a healthy root system. …

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acacia mulga

Plant of the Month – Euphorbias

January 9, 2018

Add Winter Interest to Southwest Gardens with Euphorbias The unique shapes and colors of euphorbias add a touch of drama to drought-tolerant landscapes. There are hundreds of species of this genus of plants, most that resemble something out of a Dr. Seuss book. These are succulents that do well with little attention and do well when planted in the ground …

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Plant of the Month – Desert Lavender

October 20, 2017

Description The gray leaves of Desert lavender, Hyptis emoryi, are covered with fine hairs and are soft to the touch. A pleasant lavender scent is released following rains or if you brush against the foliage. Individual leaves are 1-inch-long by ¾ inch wide, broader at the base than the tip. The edges have rounded teeth. The branches grow upright to …

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Desert lavender surrounds a bench


August 31, 2017

Description Desert Milkweed, Asclepias subulata,  has slender gray-green stems that grow vertically to 4 feet from a woody base. The plant’s spread can reach 2 feet or more. Leaves 2 inches long by 1/8-inch-wide appear on new growth but soon drop. The white milky sap that oozes from cut stems contains rubber. From spring through fall, flat-topped clusters of pale …

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Monarch Butterfly on Milkweed


July 6, 2017

Creosote Bush, Larrea tridentata is the perfect plant for us to feature during these hot summer months. It’s one of the toughest plants you’ll find, and with a little extra water, they are green and attractive in the landscape! Description – What does the Creosote Bush look like? Whenever it rains in the desert, Creosote Bush lends a distinctive fragrance …

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June 23, 2017

Lovely, white blossoms of not one, but two different types of cordia, add welcome beauty to the arid landscape throughout the warm season, including summer. Cordias are large shrubs that are underused in the garden and deserve more attention due to their ability to thrive in full sun and shrug off the summer heat. Their evergreen foliage looks great all …

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April 11, 2017

I love springtime in the desert when it comes alive in shades of yellow, orange and pink. Last week, while I was driving through a residential area nestled in the desert mountains, I could hardly keep my eyes on the road. Everywhere I turned, there were brightly colored cactus blooming.  It’s a small miracle that I didn’t crash into the …

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March 27, 2017

FIRST, A BRIEF DISCUSSION OF SCIENTIFIC NAMES Before we start talking about these beautiful groundcovers, we want to briefly discuss plant names with you. The botanical name given to plants is often referred to as the “scientific name” or “Latin name.” Each plant has a name made up of two parts, a generic (or genus) name and a specific epithet …

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February 13, 2017

Occasionally in the plant world, a new introduction comes along that gets everyone excited. In this case, not one, but three different, drought-tolerant shrubs have recently become quite popular with homeowners and landscape professionals. All of these shrubs belong to the Eremophila family and the reasons for their popularity range from the fact that they each have attractive, evergreen foliage, …

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