Hybrid “Pepe” Aloe
Blue Elf Aloe
Monsoon rains help quench the thirst of summer plants.
Set out heat-tolerant seasonal color blooms such as cosmos, gaillardia, gazania, globe amaranth, lisianthus, periwinkle and zinnia.
Put in warm-season vegetables such as Armenian cucumbers, black-eyes peas, corn, tepary beans, gourds, melon, okra and summer squash.
Harvest basil often and prune at least 1/3 of the growth to ensure an early fall harvest. Use steel tongs to remove the juicy fruit from the prickly pear cacti.
Feed blooming plants often during the wet season with high-phosphorous fertilizer. Fertilize palms during this rainy season.
Frequent irrigation leaches nutrients, so feed with a slow-release fertilizer.
Prune mesquite and palo verde trees during summer. These trees heal more quickly during hot weather.
Water deeply early in the morning, when it’s not raining. Soak the entire root area of trees and shrubs weekly. Adjust your irrigation as needed through the monsoon season. Summer annuals in pots may dry out quickly, so check irrigation systems often.
Protect container plantings from intense reflected heat and sun. Non-native cacti and succulents prefer some shade. Use 50-75 percent shade cloth over peppers and tomatoes.
Heat-loving tecoma shrubs such as red bird of paradise, fairy duster, Texas Ranger, palms, portulaca and perennial sunflowers can be planted now.
Make use of the summer rains by harvesting the water. That may include building a collection system or simply using the runoff and carrying it to specific planting spaces.
Watch for insect infestation on plants. Heat- and drought-stressed plants are especially vulnerable to disease.
Watch for cochineal scale on prickly pear cacti and wash off any that appears.
Avoid standing water that might harbor mosquitoes.
TIP OF THE MONTH
Aloes are flowering succulent plants with more than 400 known species. Although native to Africa, they are frequently grown in the desert Southwest.
Appreciated for their sculptural, rosette shape, the fleshly leaves of aloes also make them a good, low-water-use choice. The leaf colors range from dark green to blue-green, often with striped or spotted markings. Aloes add a lush, tropical look to any garden. Most leaves have marginal teeth, with some being minuscule, and others sharp. The various species range in size from six inches to six feet in height.
Aloe vera is known for its medicinal properties. The bright tubular flowers in coral, orange, red and yellow are arranged in clusters that attract hummingbirds.
They are easily propagated by numerous offshoots. They can be grown in areas of light shade and also do well in containers. HG