Fall Planting – Wildflowers and More!

October 22, 2014

Fall is a fantastic time to plant because soil temperatures are still warm, encouraging root growth and development while allowing plants to get better established before next summer’s heat sets in. Also, with cooler temperatures, plants need less water and it is a much more forgiving time of year to put new plants in the ground.

It’s also the time of year to plant wildflower seeds for spring bloom, and the perfect time to plant a fall/winter vegetable garden or winter grass. So, get outside and Plant Something! Check out our list of resources below.

Landscape_Plants_coverLandscape Plants
If you’re thinking of sprucing up your landscape or installing a new one, get help from your local nursery or attend a plant sale (see listing below). Or, find our free booklet or online resource, Landscape Plants for the Arizona Desert that features over 200 plants for every need and function for your landscape. Wondering how to water newly planted plants? Find a chart on page 12 of our Landscape Watering Guide.

Wildflowers provide colorful spring bloom like these purple owl's clover, orange poppies and red penstemon
Wildflowers provide colorful spring bloom like these purple owl’s clover, orange poppies, and red penstemon.


Wildflower Seeds
Most wildflowers germinate after seasonal rains in the fall and bloom in the spring. The annual wildflowers will go to seed by early summer, avoiding hot and dry periods. The Native Seed Company out of Tucson provides high quality, locally collected native seeds. Seeds are not available for online ordering but can be found at most local nurseries or specialty plant sales. Find simple planting info in our Landscape Plants online. We recommend that you only use Sonoran-desert or southwest desert natives, such as poppies and lupines.

Winter Lawn
You can find helpful instructions in this University of Arizona Cooperative Extension publication, Overseeding Winter Grasses into Bermuda Turf. But, before you decide to use the tremendous amount of water needed to overseed, check out our Top Ten Reason’s Not to Plant a Winter Lawn.

Vegetable GardenVegtable Garden
Fall and winter vegetable gardens are great for growing leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, and root vegetables like beets and carrots. The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension offers Ten Steps to a Successful Vegetable Garden.

Plant Sales
Boyce Thompson Arboretum and the Desert Botanical Garden have plant sales in the spring and fall. Check their websites for more information.

Free Landscape Workshops
Water – Use It Wisely partners offer a fantastic variety of landscape workshops this time of year. Topics on plant selection, drip Irrigation, container gardening, and landscape design are just a few of the fun topics you’ll find on our Water – Use It Wisely calendar and Check the AMWUA calendar for additional workshops and events.

 Donna DiFrancesco is a Conservation Specialist with the City of Mesa, AZ, one of 20 Water – Use It Wisely partners to offer water-saving advice and programs.