The Q&A Archives: Full Sun Plants

Question: What kind of plants can I plant in a moss lined window box that can take the full summer sun of Arizona. I would prefer something colorful. I've tried several different things and they all die.

Answer: Window boxes and container plants in full summer sun have a tough time in the desert. The soil can heat up to well over 100 degrees, basically cooking the roots. If possible, provide some protection from hot afternoon sun. Also, layer several inches of mulch on top of the soil to maintain moisture and reduce soil temperatures. Here are some plant choices that I hope you have better luck with!

Warm-season annuals that take heat and sun include sunflowers, zinnia, cosmos, gaillardia, Mexican hat, salvia, vinca, tithonia, black-eyed Susan, portulaca, celosia, globe amaranth, verbena, four o?clock, and lisianthus.

You might also consider some desert-adapted perennials that are often grown in the landscape, but would also work in a container, such as angelita daisy, chocolate flower, and desert marigold. Or combine with tough but interesting succulents, such as elephant foot and smaller aloe. Good luck!

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