The Q&A Archives: Zone Specifics

Question: I live in the desert. In the winter it rarely (2 -4 days per year) gets below freezing. From April through mid-October temperatures are over 100 degrees daily. As a new gardener with a south-facing back yard and a great plot of soil on the southwest side of my house, I want to plant some flowers that can be cut for vases.I also want to put planters in my front (north-facing) yard. My neighbors grow lots of bouganvillea, oleander, and other plants. I've only seen flowers planted in spring and they tend to die by mid-April. Any help will be appreciated.

Answer: It's undoubtedly the heat that causes most annuals in your area to stop blooming. You can prolong the flowering season in your garden by choosing annuals and perennials known to thrive in hot spots. Some suggestions include these ever-faithful plants noted for growing well under arid conditions: Anemone, Aquilegia (dwarf columbine), Armeria (thrift or sea pink), Asters, Aubrieta, Campanula (bellflower), Dianthus, Dodecatheon (shooting star), Gentiana, Gypsophila, Papaver burseri (alpine poppy), Penstemon, trailing Phlox, and Echeveria. Hope these suggestions help turn your garden into a showplace!

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