The Q&A Archives: Shrubs for Arizona

Question: In the front of my house I have oleanders and they are just not making it after several years. I would like to put something in that would spread out. I don't want anything that needs alot of pruning.

Answer: The most important things when choosing plants are determining what sun exposure (full, partial, shady) they will thrive in and how much space they need to grow to maturity (both vertically and horizontally), and then comparing that with what your landscape offers. Since you want to avoid alot of pruning, which is a really good idea, you want to determine how much space you want the plants to fill, then choose plants whose mature sizes fit that. For example, if you have a 3 x 3 foot space, and put in plants like oleanders that get much larger, then constant pruning is required to keep them in bounds. Not fun! Without knowing your sun exposure or the amount of space, I can't make good suggestions. However, contact the Chandler City Water Conservation Department for a free copy of Landscape Plants for the Arizona Desert. It is a color guide listing more than 200 low-water-use plants, along with growing and special characteristics (e.g., hummingbirds, etc.) and the mature height and width. Good luck!

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