As the weather warms, we Tucsonans get busy in our gardens.
Tip of the Month
Vines add an interesting vertical element to your landscape. They can act as a divider, barrier or privacy screen. Climbing over an arbor, they also create shade. Vines have a wide variety of leaf shapes and textures. Many have bright flowers that add color and aroma — all these benefits without taking up much ground space! There are four main types: self-climbing (which attach to masonry, like creeping fig), non-climbing shrub vines (need support, such as bougainvillea), twining (stems twist for support, i.e., honeysuckle) and tendril-climbing (tendrils act as support, like passion flower). Vines are said to sleep the first year, creep the second year and leap the third year.
Clockwise from above: Passion Flower, Orange Trumpet, Honeysuckle, Bougainvillea, Creeping Fig.
Planting 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, salvia, 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.
Watch for iron deficiency on citrus, pyracantha, gardenia, nandina and bottlebrush. Look for yellow leaves with green veins, which signal gardeners to apply chelated iron according to package directions.
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.