by Paul Dr. Q Noe, Staff Horticulturist/Certified Horticulture Advisor, Star Nursery
Temperatures are beginning to drop, and the dangerous heat has passed. You’ve likely noticed that many of your plants are beginning to perk up a bit. The nice season is quickly approaching.
There is no time to waste in this season before we begin planting. Plants need to get over their transplant shock before the cold weather sets in. So, what plants are best, and how should we plant them? If we get these things right, we’ll be a lot happier with the results next year. Gardening and landscaping in the desert Southwest is not impossible, it’s just a bit tricky, and timing is everything.
Any plant that loses its leaves in the winter will be a great candidate for fall and winter planting. This includes most of the abundantly flowering shrubs and trees like, Butterfly Bush, Lilacs, Crape Myrtle, Pink Dawn Chitalpa, Desert Willow, and of course, most of the fruit trees like Peach, Almond, Apple, and Plum to name a few. Because these plants are deciduous, they are by nature, more immune to cold damage.
If you’re looking to add some colorful plants or attract wildlife to your landscape the fall season is an excellent time to do it. This doesn’t mean that you can’t plant evergreen shrubs or trees (plants that do not drop their leaves) during the fall planting season. Many of these are also very cold-hardy. Take Juniper or Pine, for instance. Most of the Juniper varieties that Star Nursery carries can withstand winter cold down to zero. Texas Mountain Laurel (Sephora Secundiflora) with it’s beautiful spring flowers is a very cold and heat hardy evergreen. A beautiful slow growing addition to any landscape.
Some heat-hardy plants are classified as frost-tender, which includes types like: Bougainvillea and Citrus, for example. These should be planted in areas that get a lot of winter sunshine. In most landscapes, the north side of a wall is shaded throughout the winter. This is a difficult place for a new plant that likes heat and not cold. Avoid this and you’ll increase your odds of success. Don’t overlook how high our pH is here. The soil and the water typically reads in the area of 8.2 or higher. The vast majority of plants prefer pH in the range of 6.5 to 7.0. Dr. Q’s Gold Dust has a lot of phosphorus and sulfur to combat this problem. It was specifically formulated to support the plants in the desert during their vulnerable transplant period and first year. Our plant tonic rounds out what we proudly call “The Planting Partners” as it is filled with micro nutrients vital for plant health, root stimulation, and shock prevention.
Yes, fall is the best time for planting the largest variety of plants. Refer to our Star Nursery signage, know your plants. Place them in your landscape where they’ll do best, and plant them properly. Provide appropriate desert plant care and your yard will be as beautiful as you dreamed it could be. It’s not magic, it’s just a few simple rules.