Gardening
in Tucson, Phoenix,
Arizona and California

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Selecting Plants for the Garden

Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix

Arizona and California

Selecting Plants for the Garden

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Plant List

FOOD PLANTS
Fruit and Berries
Herbs
Peppers, Chilies
Strawberries
Tomatoes

ORNAMENTALS
Grasses
Ground Cover
Perennials
Shrubs
Trees
Vines

SPECIALTY GARDENS
Butterfly Garden
Erosion Control
Hummingbird Garden
Long-Blooming
Winter-Blooming

GARDENING TIPS
Dealing with Critters
Digging Holes for Plants
Fruit: Selection, Cultivation
Garden Bed: Sterilizing
Gardening Myths
Landscaping
Microclimates
Mulching
Plant Placement
Selecting Plants
Soil Preparation
USDA Hardiness Zones
Trees: Planting, Watering
Vegetable Calendar Zone 9
Watering Shrubs, Perennials

NURSERIES / SUPPLIES
Online
Phoenix
Tucson

MEETINGS
Phoenix
Tucson

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 by GardenOracle.com


Epilobium canum
Avoid water-hungry plants. The southwest desert receives limited rain and has endured many years of drought. Plants with low water needs require less maintenance.

Plants that do well in southwest desert gardens are not only drought tolerant but also heat tolerant. Some native plants grow only in shaded canyons where they avoid full sun conditions. Part shade lowers the water needs of many plants in our extreme summer heat.

For desert climates, in the mountains, select plants that accept pH 7.0 (neutral) soil. In valleys, select plants that accept pH 7.5 - 8.0 (alkaline) soil. Acid-loving plants will require heavy soil modification and periodic soil maintenance to survive. Water supplies in the desert are also slightly alkaline, putting further stress on acid-loving plants.

Choose desert-compatible plants that desperately hungry wild critters dislike. These drought resistant plants are less tasty to wildlife and often grow back quickly when nibbled.

Because climate change is producing greater temperature extremes, consider choosing plants that will survive in a hardiness zone range beyond yours. For example, if you live in USDA zone 9a, plants with a hardiness range from zone 8b to 10a will more likely survive long-term.

For fruit plants, choose varieties that need 300 winter chill hours or less. Chill hours are those hours in winter below 45°F and above freezing. Some fruit trees, especially Sweet Cherry, will not set fruit in hot desert climates because of insufficient winter chill hours.


Epilobium canum: Hummingbird Trumpet
Epilobium canum: Hummingbird Trumpet


Hardiness Zone Maps

USDA Hardiness Zone Interactive Map


Sunset Climate Zone Maps




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