Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southwestern Deserts

April, 2006
Regional Report

Web Finds

Arizona Municipal Water Users Association
The Arizona Municipal Water Users Association publishes free publications on low-water-use landscaping. They are comprised of water conservation departments in the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metropolitan area. However, if you're not in their service area, the Web site contains lots of ideas for saving water in the low desert, regardless of location. Recently, they've created an interactive version of their publication, Landscape Watering by the Numbers. There's also a downloadable list of the 200 plants recommended in Landscape Plants for the Arizona Desert.

Favorite or New Plant

Globe Mallow
Globe mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) is an incredibly tough Sonoran desert native that survives on very little water. Orange flowers are commonly seen growing in the wild, and light pink and rose varieties are common in the nurseries. Seek out some of the more unusual flower colors for sale, such as cherry red, peach, lavender, and white. Plants grow to about 3 feet tall and wide and prefer full sun. They take harsh conditions against walls with reflected heat and sun. Plants may die out or look rangy after a few years. Cut back to rejuvenate. Greyish green, lobed leaves have surface hairs that can irritate people with sensitive skin, so wear gloves. Plants are prolific self-sowers so by the time the parent is spent, there's likely a new crop growing in the yard.


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