The Q&A Archives: New Home, No Plants!

Question: I just moved to a new house with no plants or bushes. I would like to put color in the front and back yard. I like all kinds of flowers and shrubs. Which flowers will do well all year round? I would like some flowers that will bloom in the summer but the plant will not die in the winter. Also I would like some flowers that will bloom in the winter but the plant will not die during the summer.

Answer: There are so many colorful possibilities and since I can't know your likes and dislikes I'm going to provide you with some guidance on plant selection, and then a great local resource. 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. Soil type is another important characteristic. In other words, you wouldn't want to put a huge sun lover in a tiny, shady location. This seems obvious, but many people forget it when they go to the nursery and are confronted by all sorts of beautiful plants. Analyze your site and think about what you want from plants (color, shade, cut flowers, bird attraction etc.) then choose plants that fit that situation. I strongly urge you to stick with native and desert-adapted choices. They are adapted to our heat, alkaline soil, aridity, sunshine and have few, if any, pest problems. There are many colorful choices, beyond the few basics that show up over and over. The University of Nevada Cooperative Extension office provides lists of well-adapted landscape plants for your region. Go to their website and scroll through the topics. They also have an office in Las Vegas with Master Gardeners who can provide guidance from their experiences. County Cooperative Extension office, 2345 Red Rock St, Las Vegas, 702-223-3130. and click on Horticulture. Good luck with your new landscape.

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