As the weather warms, we Tucsonans get busy in our gardens.
Plant color annuals such as pansies, petunias, larkspur and primrose. Plant warm-season flowering bulbs such as canna, dahlia, daylily and gladiolus. Set out warm-season annuals such as cosmos, four o’clock, globe amaranth, gloriosa daisy, lisianthus, marigold, portulaca, vinca, zinnia, celosia, sal-via, sunflower, gaillardia, beans, okra, cucumber, peanut, pumpkin, melon and squash. Plant seedlings of pepper, tomatoes, squash, eggplant and green onion. Sow seeds for warm-season flowers such as hollyhock, salvia, sunflowers, tithonia and zinnia in garden beds.
Look for new growth on native and desert-adapted plants. Prune winter-damaged plant parts. Allow flower stalks on spring bulbs to brown and die back naturally. When spent, clip off at the base.
Always water before and after applying any fertilizer. Feed Bermuda grass with high-nitrogen fertilizer.
Feed roses every two weeks or use a slow-release fertilizer for longer season intervals during spring’s peak bloom.
Reap flower seeds. Allow wildflowers and cool-season annual flowers to dry and scatter seed; or collect dry seed and store to sow next fall.
Adjust drip-irrigation systems to accommodate new plants and the warming temperatures.
Plant red bird of paradise, ageratum, eupatorium, passion vine, desert hackberry and datura to attract butterflies.
Plant container-grown roses.
Plant new citrus and protect trunks from sunburn.
Plant desert landscape shrubs, cacti and succulents so that the roots reestablish before the summer heat.
Tip of the Month
Hollyhocks (Alcea rosea), a Mediterranean native, can add a touch of nostalgia to your garden. This old-fashioned favorite can make a spectacular display of tall spikes with rows of colorful blooms. Plant along a fence or wall. Hollyhocks are among about 60 species in the mallow family. They are easily grown from seeds, which many gardeners save and plant the following year. The double cultivar’s seeds may revert to singles the next year, and some cross pollinate.
They are short-lived perennials that produce only leaves the first year, so purchase the crowns from a nursery to have blooms that year. They prefer well-drained, rich soil and full sun. Provide drip irrigation to provide at least one inch of water a week in the spring. Remove flowers as they fade.