The Q&A Archives: Plants and Trees To Grow In AZ?

Question: I am previously from South Africa where everything is very green & colourful. I now reside in Phoenix, AZ and would like a very green, colourful garden to make me feel at home again. Could you please suggest what type of trees, shrubs and flowers I can plant to give me the lush look. I have grass instead of desert at the moment & am planning to do up my garden.

Answer: Thousands of beautiful and colorful plants will grow here. In the long term, you are better off choosing native and desert-adapted plants which will thrive in our alkaline soil, hot and freezing temperatures, drying winds, and limited rainfall. Growing non-adapted plants stresses them, and research shows that stressed plants actually attract pests and disease. Since late March is prime planting time in the low desert, you have several months to check out local gardens and nurseries. Go to the Glendale Xeriscape Garden at the Glendale Main Library, the Desert Botanical Garden, and Boyce Thompson Arboretum (note that spring will have more bloom than late winter). In late March, both DBG and Boyce have plant sales with species not easily found elsewhere. Baker Nursery in Phoenix has a wide selection of plants that will do well here, as well as a mini demo garden so you can see what mature plants will look like. For other references, contact the Phoenix City Water Conservation Office for AMWAU (Arizona Municipal Water Users) publications. These are free brochures with plant lists and design ideas that do well here. "Native Plants for Southwestern Landscapes" by Judy Mielke and another book on native plants by Carol Shuler, an award-winning area landscape designer, have great information and color photos. Check out Phoenix Home & Garden magazine for plant and design ideas, as well as a list of garden clubs. There's a club for just about everyone's interest. I hope this info helps!

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