Sunday, June 3, 2012

Drought Tolerant Plants for Tucson

Feather Cactus
We've arrived.  June is here!!!  Where do we begin??!!!  Well this is a great month to get things done early in the morning or late at night.  There isn't that humid or muggy monsoon air....yet.  But it's the perfect time to get your cacti and palms into the landscape. 
Drought Tolerant plants are important for our landscape because it cuts down on the use of water(xeriscape) and your water bill.  But most importantly, it frees up some time in our busy schedules.  Most of us who love gardening would love to be outside the entire time doing work in our yards.  However for many of us, this is not a realty.  Drought tolerant doesn't mean that your place can't be beautiful or lush....quite the opposite!  If you plan with the right plants, your place can be gorgeous, xeric AND cut down on yardwork.

This is a great guide to help you choose the best plants for your landscape.  They can found at TEP etc.  While some of you love to garden and water, you may not feel this way down the road.  I am at that stage in the property restoration of El Presidio.  I don't like watering plants and I really don't like being outside during the hot temps.  And I've watched a lot of people go through these stages in their own yards.
Many have commented to me about our property and say that they are surprised at how lush and green El Presidio is.  Yes.  That is the biggest compliment ever.  I have researched hours and hours on plants to make our property water friendly and GREEN like back home in Wisconsin......but with a desert twist.   Obviously I don't plant Wisconsin things here, but I find similiar looking plants that have been adapted to our desert or native plants that will thrive in our climate.  They also must function to feed humans and wildlife.  The above shot is the beloved Persimmons tree located at El Presidio. This pic was taken in October of last year.  Some fruit trees love our climate like the Mulberry, Peach, Apricot, Fig, Pomegranate or Persimmons.  It's all about placement and lighting.
I also try to use color when I can......and BAMBOO!!!  Several types of bamboo grow very well here like the Buddha's Belly Bamboo.  Once it's established, it only needs watering once a week.  I have the bamboo placed around our buildings where it catches the extra rain from the roof.
Save yourself work and find plants that will lower your water bills and outside time this summer.  Keep your potted plants near the entrance to your home as it will be easier to water them with a hose.  Everything else should be watered once or twice a week.  June is hot and typically rain free.  Mountain Laurel and Texas Ebony are lush and extremely XERIC plants.  In fact, there are so many great choices.  Find the above guide and get started.  It's fun once you get going.
I found this guy in our garden last July during monsoon.  More tomorrow....


  1. I love that bougainvillea climbing that part of the house! And that grasshopper seems unusual, maybe it is melanism in grasshopper, i wonder why! It looks monstrous.

  2. I know it has to be difficult to grow things there and sad that you can't grow more but that front looks beautiful!

    Cher Sunray Gardens

  3. You certainly have a green thumb. How I would love to have bamboo growing here!

  4. i do like bamboo. we have some giant reeds that grow wild here near marshy areas that are similar to it.

    (and whenever i've visited wisconsin in the summer, i'm always taken aback at how lush it is! you don't realize it until you leave...)

  5. Nice oasis shots. But Bougainvillea is definitely not a form, color or texture one can have in the midwest...or anywhere cooler than Tucson, at least permanently! Again, such nice oasis ideas, and it is easier to work outside now if early or late enough. Then kick back when the muggy monsoonal flow moves in, and watch it all start to grow!

    I'll try and remember to send you a cool statement on an ordinance from Tucson as to why they started encouraging Sonoran / world desert plants and no lawns for commercial frontages. It was great!

  6. There are some lovely drought resistant plants. I love the bougainvillea. I would love to use the bamboo as a fence for privacy. It seems to grow like weeds. Great post.

  7. Hi Chris,
    Nice loking garden you have developed there :-)
    By the way, in answer to you question ''how much rain do we get over there'' well.............loads! It rained most of today!

    Can you believe though, we are on a drought order and cannot use hose pipes! We dont pay for water in this country, and people just waste it, so after a particularly unusually dry winter, we find ourselves short of the stuff!!

  8. Wonderful advice. Can't understand when someone moves to the desert and wants all the same water thirsty plants they left behind. The desert is full of life and can be lush.

  9. Beautiful bougainvillea. It must bloom most of the year there.

    Your approach to grow what works is best for the long run. Non-adapted plants may do well for a few years and then drought or cold or rain will take them out. There are so many lovely plants that will work there, best to go with those.

  10. I love seeing photos and reading of your work at the Gardens Chris. It certainly looks lush, green and colourful from your photos. We have quite a bit of bamboo in our garden - the canes are useful too for giving other plants support.

  11. How exceedingly satisfying, to have your xeric garden appreciated as Lush and Green!

  12. It is sometimes hard to make that transition from lush, green, water-loving plants that we're used to from back east and translate that into our desert landscape. But it can be done. Glad you're making the effort.

  13. A wonderful read.. Many thanks for sharing.

  14. LOL!!! Dear readers, apparently, I chose to use the word "lush" a little too often:) That is a word my father uses often....I must have spoken to him on the phone before I wrote this post. My apologies:)

  15. Great post.
    I love the bougainvillea.
    Here we grow bamboo, I'm surprised it will grow in our wet and cold climate.
    Thanks for sharing.

  16. i like bamboo a lot! a friend gave me a couple of babies last year, which i planted in the side yard...when they grow & spread...will make a nice natural fence!

    funny how you said 'drought tolerant'...and the first 2 pic's reminded me of under water shots! ha!

    cool grasshopper too! :)


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