South West Gardening for people in the S.W.

Casa Grande, AZ

Hi there. :D

Missing all the hardcore south western gardeners. Trying once again to see if I can round anyone up for talking about what grows first, in the south west and second people who live in the S.W. and desert areas zone 9-11. That corner of the world where it is 110+ in the shade during summer and 40 degrees in the winter. You know---zones 9-11 in the South West!

I erroneously presumed a different site's S.W. forum was about barrel and pole , cacti, agaves, aloes, Trichocereus, Mammillaria, hedge hogs, chollas and prickly pears, etc.. It turned out to be centered upon vegetable gardening and growing tomatoes here in the S.W. The one particular cacti forum was intermixed with succulents that don't live or survive here and some guy's Orchids. *Whatever*

Tomatoes and Orchids are nice but when I think of S.W. gardening I think of the indigenous plants that fill most of our yards in the desert. I don't have grass. I have a back and front yard of rock. We have snout weevil to contend with not mosquitos. You guys know what I'm talking about.

I am looking for other desert dwellers in MX, NV, NM and AZ----as well as any other persons that know our types of plants well regardless of their location. People who really get the true meaning of the words, 'full sun' . How to answer the question 'Does that grow here or will I kill it' even though the plant's label claims otherwise.

Of course all should participate. I welcome everyone but I would like to see if we can form a cohesive S.W. cacti growers' type of forum.

Anyone interested in discussing plants like the examples below?
AG

BTW...Had a forum previously called "Sizzling Agaves". Anyone interested in picking up there?

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Rio Rico, AZ(Zone 8a)

Hi AG! I just moved to Rio Rico,AZ in September 2019. I was concentrating on the inside for a while and the next thing I knew what plants I had were freezing and dying! So, yes! I am very interested in the plants you mentioned, and also other types that might do well here...I had a planned landscape that I have scrapped and I'm starting over with a little bit more restraint. Hope to hear back...

Shari

Fort Worth, TX

wish you all well. I am in Texas. We do the 100s in summer but at the moment it is pouring rain and we are only 8B I think.

I can't keep any cacti alive, just barely manage an aloe. but good luck all the same

Rio Rico, AZ(Zone 8a)

Hi Gypsi! Finally someone answered! So sorry to hear about your cacti...maybe something like a mock orange or Hibiscus (if you want flowers)...my hibs did really well in high heat as long as they got plenty of water. Let's keep chatting and maybe we can help each other.

Fort Worth, TX

we can, but I'm in North Texas. It's a wee bit wetter than Arizona. The whole Texas forum took off for a free forum and hasn't waved back yet. I stayed here mostly

Rio Rico, AZ(Zone 8a)

So what kind of plants are you looking at to replace your cactus?

Fort Worth, TX

not another cactus as a houseplant, that's for sure. waiting to see if my graptosedums and jade plants live.

I do have a yucca for outdoors but I am not sure if it is doing well. it was dug up by heavy equipment, it was a pup but it did have a root so I potted it up back in November or December. Going to plant it soon. Don't know if the reddish coloring on the leaves means anything

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Rio Rico, AZ(Zone 8a)

Hi Gypsi...sorry I've been away. Ok let's see, a little brown/red on the edges of yucca leaves is pretty normal if these are the older leaves. Just cut them off if they bother you. What kind of plants are you looking for? Grasses, flowers, evergreens? Firebrush, Columbine and Esparanza are a few you might like. I have a different problem...I know what plants I want to work with, but I am in a free range area and the cows seem to find just about everything tasty!

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Fort Worth, TX

I used to have columbine, wonder if I still do. I work a lot in spring so not online a lot. I picked up 4 agaves from my daughter's flowerbed last week and potted them up

Rio Rico, AZ(Zone 8a)

I like agave. Haven't been on much myself. So few folks here that I tend to forget to check! Sorry bout that. I am trying to get an ocatillo or two. they are so graceful and pretty when blooming. We have been having quite a bit of rain and I have been putting together a neighborhood call list (for anyone who might need help or can give help to others) and then distributing it. For someone who is supposedly self isolating we sure are busy! How you doin in Ft. Worth?

Fort Worth, TX

6 inches of rain in 3 days, the agaves were looking melty so I moved them to pots of gravel mixed with a little compost. It's sink or swim here.

Rio Rico, AZ(Zone 8a)

Wow! you are getting a lot more rain than we are! Probably moving them to pots will help. Do you always get such rain?

Fort Worth, TX

no. we alternate between droughts and flooding since about 2006. 15 inches at the airport before today since the first of the year, I'm at about 9 inches in the last 10 days

Rio Rico, AZ(Zone 8a)

Sheesh! That would melt most of my plants! Everything I plant has to be drought tolerant. Just today I planted a medium sized mock orange and some sedum right beside my front door, under a window. I'm bushed, we have an extreme bumper crop of large rocks this year - and the biggest ones always seem to be where I need to dig!

Fort Worth, TX

That is the way rocks distribute themselves. I haven't got much planted since I posted last. Work got in the way

Rio Rico, AZ(Zone 8a)

So you are still working? What do you do? Please be safe! Remember "social distancing"...

Fort Worth, TX

I clean koi ponds, little f2f contact with customers, I call or text from the back yard, and crew is arriving in separate vehicles. 6 ft is easy to maintain. Gas station stops for bathrooms are 9/10ths of our human contact.

Rio Rico, AZ(Zone 8a)

Wow! What a cool job! Koi ponds are always so relaxing to me. Almost a form of meditation watching them. But its good that you are being careful and safe. This is gonna get worse before it gets better, and common sense is needed now more than ever!

Fort Worth, TX

yes. and I am now starting to get nervous about gas pumps, may add a spray bottle of lysol to the truck or just use a paper towel to touch the handle.

Rio Rico, AZ(Zone 8a)

Couldn't hurt! Just be careful whatever you do...this is not the time to relax the precautions. Let's hope we can get back to normal soon.

Fort Worth, TX

I went to senior shopping hour at Winco and Costco Thursday morning, got the things I was out of

Lucerne Valley, CA(Zone 8a)

I'm 8B in the high desert of So CA, and I really get the 110 degree F plus summers along with the 12-22 degree F freezes.

I do some cacti that's native to our area. Various cholla & barrel, some prickly pear and agave. I tend to my Yucca and Joshua trees, and adore my (mostly woody) perennials that survive (and sometimes thrive) here. I do, however, also grow veggies and herbs while I struggle with giving them some shade. This year I'm getting serious about berries and am putting a lot of energy into hopefully having permanent beds for blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and kiwi. Gonna give a couple of seedless Concord grape vines a go, as well.

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Fort Worth, TX

I can only keep one permanent strawberry bed alive in North Texas, on the north side of my house, and only the parts of that that don't get full summer sun. You can look at the bed (mixed with flowers) and tell where the shade is, because that is where my remaining strawberries from the 2013 planting are

Lucerne Valley, CA(Zone 8a)

I'm prepared to put up some shade during the really hot times this summer. I've had success with strawberries once before here in the high desert, but then I got a load of insufficiently composted manure and Bermuda grass took that garden over so completely it's now a play yard for the grandkids.

Fort Worth, TX

Every time I put up shade cloth I get a wind storm.... nothing worse than bermuda

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