Grow your Bougainvillea Plant in containers and pots. They LOVE IT !!

Will my Bougainvillea plant grow in a container?  Yes and it will be a very happy plant.  Bougainvilleas do great in most types of pots and containers.  These plants are not easy to transplant so make sure the pot you choose is big enough to last the Bougainvillea for years to come.

Although they like their roots crowded in a container, Bougainvilleas do not like standing water.  Make sure your pot has good drainage so the Bougainvillea does not get root rot.

Bougainvillea flowering bush shrub

Growing Bougainvillea in large pots

Fill your container with potting soil and place the bougainvillea plant inside.  Find a sunny location and it will be easy to keep your Bougainvillea happy and healthy.

growin Bougainvillea in pots

Bougainvillea plants on your patio

Bougainvilleas have beautiful red, pink and purple colored bracts, which are specialized leaves that contain the plant’s white slender flowers.

Bougainvillea plants can grow rather large so they must be kept pruned in pots and containers.  You can train your Bougainvillea to grow up a trellis or in the shape of a tree.

growing bougainvilleas shrubs

Pink Bougainvillea thriving in a large container

During the winter, Bougainvillea plants can be most striking and provide gardens with abundant color.  Winter is when Bougainvillea Vines and Plants reach their peak color.

heat resistant plants Bougainvillia

Bougainvillias are tropical plants that are heat tolerant

The small heart shaped bracts of the Bougainvillea are quite delicate to the touch, and are crinkly in appearance.

can I grow bougainvilleas in containers

Bougainvillea potted plant growing up a trellis

How long will a Bougainvillea plant display their color?  The length of time depends on how much sun and heat it receives and how healthy the Bougainvillea plant is.

Typically, a healthy Bougainvillea will bloom for about 3 weeks.

Bougainvilleas love sun and more sun.  They are heat tolerant and the hotter the better.  At the very minimum Bougainvilleas need at least 5 hours of direct sunlight.

Desert flowering vines

Bougainvillea pink leaves and white flowers

Supply your Bougainvillea with regular monthly fertilization.  Nitrogen and phosphates are critical to flowering.  One of the best Bougainvillea fertilizers I’ve come across so far is BOUGAIN.

Pink flowers on Bougainvillea plants are leaves

large containers to grow Bougainvillea Plants

You can prune your Bougainvillea any time during the year because it does not affect bloom initiation.  If you want the Bougainvillea to grow up, then prune the outer branches.  If you want your Bougainvillea to grow out, then prune the new growth.  Trim your Bougainvillea drastically before bringing it inside for winter.

Bougainvillea tree plants

Bougainvilleas blooming in pots

Bougainvillea plants and vines have a BLOOM CYCLE followed by a rest cycle whether you trim them or not.

I recommend a little trim or pinching at the end of each Bougainvillea bloom cycle as it promotes more budding for the next one.  Our plants just ended a bloom cycle so I will be trimming Bougainvilleas this week.

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Pruning Desert Bird of Paradise bushes and shrubs – Red, Yellow, Orange Flowers

flowering desert shrubs called Mexican Bird of Paradise

Arizona Desert Bushes with Red Orange Flowers

When should you prune desert bird of paradise shrubs?

Caesalpinia pulcherrima plant with red flowers

Red Bird of Paradise shrubs blooming in the desert

Pruning your Red Bird of Paradise,  Caesalpinia pulcherrima , which is what I have, should be in late winter or early spring.

Arizona bushes with red flowers

Red Bird of Paradise is sometimes called Mexican Bird of Paradise

I pruned mine a few weeks ago with a sharp pair of garden sheers. Many people cut these plants almost to the ground. I don’t, I prune my Red Bird of Paradise bushes about 18 inches from ground level.

Red Bird of Paradise cutting

Trimming Caesalpinia pulcherrima – pruning desert Bird of Paradise bushes

Red, Yellow and Mexican Bird of Paradise bushes, trees, and shrubs thrive in dry conditions; once established, they are drought tolerant plants, with fern looking leaves blooming with orange, red or yellow flowers.

Texas shrubs with orange red flowers

Red Desert Bird of Paradise, drought tolerant plants

The Yellow and Mexican Bird of Paradise need very little pruning.

Caesalpinia gilliesii is a drought tolerant desert shrub

Yellow Bird of Paradise has red stamens and yellow flowers

Caesalpinia gilliesii, or sometimes called Yellow Bird of Paradise or Desert Bird of Paradise is a shrub that has been naturalized in Texas;  planted as to give an effect of wild growth and may some year be considered native in the rest of the southwestern US.  In the photo below see the yellow bird of paradise, Caesalpinia gilliesii.

TX bush with yellow flowers and bean pods

Yellow flowering Bird of Paradise, Caesalpinia gilliesii

This yellow flowering desert shrub has clusters of beautiful yellow flowers with long red stamens.  The Yellow Bird of Paradise is a fast growing, upright shrub that is originally from Argentina.  Pruning your Yellow Bird of Paradise bush will encourage dense growth.

Caesalpinia gilliesii mistaken for Mexican Bird of Paradise

Yellow blooming Bird of Paradise desert bush in AZ TX CA

Yellow BOP is drought tolerant and very durable, also cold and heat tolerant. Exposure to full sun is best for ALL Bird of Paradise Plants.   The yellow bird of paradise shrub is toxic.  

drought tolerant desert bush shrub

Yellow Bird of Paradise with Red Stamens

This Hardy Bird of Paradise shrub can grow to the height of 10 ft.

In the early Spring, prune to remove dead or damaged stems.  In the summer water your Yellow Bird of Paradise every week.  Water it deeply to stimulate an effective root system and tap-root.

The Mexican Bird of Paradise bush can be pruned and trained into a small tree, see photo below.

Mexican Bird of Paradise tree, well pruned

Mexican Bird of Paradise tree, well pruned

desert shrub with yellow flowers in Arizona

Caesalpinia mexicana, Mexican Bird of Paradise with yellow flowers

In the photo ABOVE see the yellow flowers and rounded shape of the leaves on the Mexican Bird of Paradise bush or tree.

Caesalpinia mexicana

Mexican Bird of Paradise small tree with yellow flowers

Whether you pick the Yellow, Mexican or Red Bird of Paradise shrubs or trees,  you are certainly choosing a winner for your desert garden!

The daisy-like bush, Euryops are # 4 – top Ten Heat Resistant plants for my Arizona garden

Do you want a flowering plant that can take the hot heat and last through the winter?  Euryops is low maintenance and good on the budget!  I waited over a year before writing about this plant so I could document what animal/critters would eat our Euryops.

a shrub with daisy flowers in Arizona

Daisy like bush that is perennial

It is a pleasure to state Euryops are CRITTER proofNOT even the Javelina ate our daisy bushes!  Replacing desert plants can become costly; therefore this Euryops cultivar VIRIDIS rates HIGH on our list!

Euryops is a genus in the Asteraceae family -  Daisy family.  The Green leaved variety is Euryops pectinatus Viridis.  This robust heat resistant plant is native mostly to rocky sites in southern Africa.

yellow daisy flowers in Arizona

Euryops are heat resistant daisy like plants

They produce cheerful yellow daisy flower heads from fern-like foliage.  Euryops are perennial and a very hardy plant, bush or shrub.

heat resistant daisy bush

yellow daisy flower of the Euryops bush

When winter comes to the Arizona desert, our Euryops still look amazing while other desert plants go dormant.  This daisy bush is cold tolerant to 20 degrees F or -7 Celsius.   Planted in a sunny location is a key factor!

Yellow is the only flower color, but it’s a bright, sunny yellow bloom that enlivens your garden in the winter. :)

heat resistant arizona plants

Euryops look attractive next to our Brittlebush

Because Euryops are an evergreen, perennial plant they are an ideal choice for flower beds and borders.

Follow a regular watering schedule during the first growing season to establish a deep, extensive root system.

**Euryops Viridis generally keep its deep green color leaves even in the heat of summer, although lower leaves may become brown and need to be removed.

drought tolerant arizona plant bush

yellow daisy blooms of the Euryops

Once the yellow flowers have faded, trim off the dried ones to help encourage the Euryops to produce more blooms!

Euryops will tolerate being cut back quite hard after flowering or if you want them to develop some height give them a light pruning.

heat and deer resistant

daisy like euryops bush

  • Water Needs — Water regularly; do not OVERWATER, **soaking well establishes deeper roots
  • Flowers are good for cutting and displaying in vases
  • Perennial and Evergreen
  • Suitable for growing in containers and pots

We had 2 healthy Euryops planted in large containers that died over this past winter.  The reason had to be that the location of our daisy shrub had a good deal of shade.  Lesson learned:  when planting Euryops pick an area with the most sun!

This happy plant tolerates drought well but doesn’t mind if it gets regular water.  The daisy blooms give personality to cacti in Xeriscape yards.  Euryops are frost tolerant down to USDA zone 8.

flowering plants in containers

grow Euryops in planters in sunny locations

Even without flowers, the feathery leaves of Euryops give the garden interest and a sense of lushness. The Viridis cultivar has deep green leaves, while the Euryops Munchkin cultivar has gray-green leaves.

desert winter plants bush

Euryops is animal, heat, and drought resistant

If you want to add color to your winter garden, consider Euryops!  This easy on your budget yellow daisy bush is hardy and flowers through winter while planted in a sunny location.

Propagation:

Euryops stem cuttings root reasonably easily. Summer is the best time to take cuttings.  You can also allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds.

Honeysuckles made # 5 – in the top Ten Heat Resistant plants for Arizona

Honeysuckles love the Arizona heat and the hummingbirds love the honeysuckle.  Now that is a desert garden delight!

As long as I water this thirsty honeysuckle shrub it will produce abundant blooms most of the year.  The narrow, orange, tubular flowers give enthusiasm to the garden with their bright colors.

heat resistant honeysuckle

heat-resistant orange honeysuckle

Our orange honeysuckles are fast growing perennial plants that are low maintenance.  Care for your honeysuckle with regular watering and pruning to keep the growth under control. With 180 species of honeysuckles, genus Lonicera, you can pick from pink, yellow, white, orange, red, etc., flowers.  Honeysuckles belong to the Caprifoliacea family which includes all types of woody shrubs and fragrant vines.

When choosing a honeysuckle to grow, be sure to check the label as some varieties are hardier than others and can cope with frost.  Also, there exists a few species of honeysuckle that are considered invasive such as Japanese honeysuckle.

common honeysuckle

Japanese honeysuckle is considered invasive

Pruning tips for honeysuckle vines:  Prune your plant in later winter when it is dormant.  With pruning shears, remove dead blooms from your honeysuckle as soon as you see them.

honeysuckle

honeysuckle flower

Tree, fence, trellis or wall; honeysuckle vines will climb on anything to seek out the sun.

orange honeysuckle flower

orange honeysuckle flower

Our garden has become a very busy place.  It is October in the Arizona desert and our honeysuckles are still blooming.  What a joy to sit quietly and watch the butterflies and hummingbirds feast on the bright tubular flowers.

Honeysuckle bush

Arizona heat-resistant Honeysuckle plant

Honeysuckle and Salvia plants for hummingbirds

Honeysuckle and Salvia plants for hummingbirds, butterflies

These heat tolerant honeysuckle plants did well even in full desert sun as long as they received their daily water.

native arizona honeysuckle

Lonicera arizonica Arizona honeysuckle

In the photo above is Lonicera arizonica which is a native Arizona Honeysuckle.  It is a perennial vine or shrub that you find in the open at elevations of 6,000 – 9,000 feet.  According to Northern Arizona University, this native honeysuckle was used by Native Americans to cleanse the bowels.  Navajo tribes used the leaves of the Lonicera arizonica  to induce vomiting.  Can I eat the red berries from the Arizona honeysuckle?  Yes you can eat the berries but it will have a purgative effect.

Red Geraniums made # 7 in my top Ten Heat Resistant plants for southern Arizona

Zonal geraniums can last for years with the right growing conditions.  The red geraniums pictured in this article are the first plant my husband and I acquired when we were married.    They are very unique and add a velvety, radiant color to our desert garden even with the record-breaking 2012 temperatures.

This red flower is called a zonal geranium.  What is a zonal geranium?  Zonal geraniums are the genus Pelargoniums, and are NOT true geraniums. This species of flowering plants work well in Arizona and Texas because they are drought resistant, perennial and heat tolerant.  Zonal geraniums originated from South Africa and have become very popular as bedding and container plants.

Important fact:  Geraniums, Pelargoniums, are poisonous to dogs and cats.  If your pet eats a geranium contact your local veterinarian right away.

Zonal Geranium in Arizona

planted zonal geraniums in Arizona

I’m always on the lookout for a plant that adds a softness to a thorny, spiky desert garden.  Amazingly, a red geranium can thrive almost as well as a cactus.  We have several throughout our Arizona yard that are either in full sun or sparse shade.  All of our zonal geraniums are doing well; but, the ones with semi shade have larger leaves and more flowers.

zonal geraniums bedding

Caring for geraniums is easy:

  • They love the sun but do well in sparse shade especially with high temperatures
  • Plant Pelargoniums when there is no danger of frost, they do not like the cold
  • In the fall plants may be dug up and brought indoors by a sunny window away from your dogs and cats
  • Water geraniums when the top 2 inches of the soil feels dry
  • Zonal geraniums are critter proof and virtually insect free :)
heat resistant geraniums

hanging basket of Red Geraniums in Arizona

Pelargoniums are low-maintenance and a great choice for xeriscape yards.  Grow your geraniums from seed or plant cuttings.

If your geranium has yellow or red leaves it is experiencing stress in some way.  The most common causes of red or yellow leaves are:

  1. your geranium – pelargonium is over-watered
  2. phosphorus deficiencies, are you fertilizing?  If it has gotten cooler at night and the temperature drops below 55 your geranium will not be able to absorb trace minerals.
  3. another possibility is too much sun
  4. or planted too close together

Too diagnose the problem simply look at the exact conditions your plant is growing in.

Red Geranium is a zonal geranium

Pelargonium is a zonal geranium

Even with the best of care a few leaves will inevitably turn yellow; simply remove them along with spent flowers.

In the fall temperatures drop and red leaves on pelargoniums are a sign that it is time to move indoors or to take cuttings from annual cultivars.

October is barely here and I’m already daydreaming about plans for a colorful, lush spring heat-resistant garden.

 

Asparagus Fern is my # 8 in the top Ten heat resistant plants

Introducing the fabulous Asparagus densiflorus, Sprengeri.  Even when southern Arizona reached temperatures above 110 degrees the asparagus ferns thrived!  Our desert garden has a subtropical ambience thanks to the ornate asparagus fern.

This common name is somewhat deceiving because the asparagus fern is not a fern at all; but a member of the Liliaceae, or Lily family.  Growing asparagus ferns in pots and containers is very easy and low maintenance.  Asparagus Ferns develop large tuberous roots and can become potbound in a relatively short period of time.  This is a vigorous, fast growing plant that can take extreme heat as long as it receives regular watering.

asparagus fern with berries

asparagus fern with berries

To encourage new growth I give our asparagus ferns a trim every so often.  In the photo above you will notice several green berries that will turn red by winter.  Since these plants are dioecious, not all of your asparagus ferns will grow berries.

What does dioecious mean? Plants that are dioecious have their male and female parts on separate plants. Both male and female plants must be present for pollination to occur.

Asparagus Ferns are toxic to cats and dogs.  Contact with the skin may cause dermatitis so I recommend wearing gloves.

Asparagus Fern in Arizona

Asparagus Fern in a pot

From a distance, the asparagus fern, Asparagus densiflorus, looks very soft and delicate. This can be attributed to its fine, needle-like leaves.  Make no mistake, putting your hands into an asparagus fern will give you scratches.

Asparagus Fern is native to South Africa and is an evergreen perennial that is commonly used as a groundcover or in hanging baskets for its showy foliage.

Asparagus Fern in planters

our Arizona garden with asparagus fern

An easy way to propagate new Asparagus Ferns is by division.  Using a large serrated knife, you can easily divide up the root ball into half or quarter sections for more new plants.

asparagus fern in arizona

asparagus fern in the Arizona heat

The photo above is one of our potted asparagus ferns that is located in the full Arizona sun.  Other containers are nestled in part shade.  All of the plants are growing well with my only complaint being I need to plant more! :)

Yellow needles develop on asparagus ferns for different reasons such as rapid temperature change, under watering, over watering, spider mites and possibly a change in light.

Your asparagus fern will need less watering during winter and in low light conditions.

grow asparagus ferns in pots

growing asparagus ferns in pots

Asparagus ferns can be trained to grow as a vine or cascade down a hanging planter.

Sprenger’s Asparagus has been declared a noxious weed in Florida, Hawaii and New Zealand.

Listed as a Class One Invasive by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council’s Pest Plant List (FLEPPC).

I love Asparagus Ferns and have grown them in hot, hot Arizona for years with no behavior problems.

Canna Lily is my # 9 in the top Ten heat resistant plants

Our canna lilies were thriving during the intense heat that Tucson and southern Arizona experienced this summer.  Cannas are spectacular in our desert garden and I was thrilled it made the top 10 heat-resistant plants list.

We have several canna lilies that are growing in extra-large pots.  It is a joy to watch the leaves on this perennial plant shoot up and slowly unfurl into this tropical-looking foliage.

Canna lily heat resistant

heat resistant Canna lily

Caring for a canna lily requires low maintenance and is quite easy.  Ours receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight; which cannas prefer.  These lilies do well in large pots with good drainage.  When choosing a container, bigger is better!  This flowering plant does exceptional with some moisture so try not to let it dry out completely.

A canna lily is not actually a lily.  This exotic plant is related to the Ginger and Banana plants.  The flowers are beautiful but I have to admit my favorite part is the canna lily leaves.  The leaves are wide with a stripy pattern making cannas leaves the center of attention in our yard.

Order: Zingiberales, Family: Cannaceae, Genus: Canna

Canna lily flower

Canna lily flower

Infested cannas do not bloom, and generally look unhealthy.  Are bugs eating your canna lily leaves?  To address canna leaf rollers, cut off infested leaves or unroll leaves and destroy the caterpillar.  We spray bacillus thuringiensis, Bt, a few times a year when needed.  It is organic and easy to use if you follow the directions on the bottle.

bacillus thuringiensis

bacillus thuringiensis

To prune your canna lily simply cut the dead or damaged foliage at another leaf line to allow for new plant growth.

The rhizomes of Cannas are similar to potatoes but sweeter.  In South America they are grown for food.  Peel and cut the roots into chunks; place them in the oven and enjoy your delicious canna lilies.

canna lily leaves

canna lily leaves

If you live in climate, growing, zone 7 or warmer, your cannas can be grown outside year round.  In cooler climates the rhizome can be dug up and stored in a cool, damp environment.  Plant your canna lily in the spring by burying the rhizome 4-6 inches below the surface.

These over-sized gracious leaves and silky tall flowers make our front garden a tropical escape away from the arid Arizona desert.

the countdown continues with some unique plants ahead…

Is the white or purple Texas Sage edible? Eating a Texas Ranger Plant? – Leucophyllum frutescens

Can you eat purple sage, Texas Sage?  This perennial evergreen shrub with grayish leaves and fabulous purple flowers is actually not sage at all.  This purple bush goes by the name Silverleaf, Texas Ranger Plant, Thunder Cloud or most commonly Purple Texas Sage.

purple flowering shrub

Leucophyllum frutescens, Texas sage

Leucophyllum frutescens is the scientific name for this Texas Sage bush and it is a member of the figwort family.

white cloud sage bush

white flower, White Cloud, Texas Sage

The Texas Sage shrub with white flowers is called White Cloud.  According to the National Gardening Association, Texas Sage is one plant that is most often ignored by deer unless they are starving.  Rabbits and other small animals in the desert will not eat Texas Sage either.  It is safe to say that this white or purple flowering bush is critter proof!

texas purple flowering plant

purple flowering bush in AZ, TX

After several hours of research I was not able to find any evidence of the Texas Sage bush being edible.  Looks like it is best to leave this luscious purple shrub to the bees and the butterflies.  

purple flower bus

Texas Sage bush, Leucophyllum frutescens

Eating Texas Sage is not recommended.  Nonetheless, it is a gorgeous addition to your sun-filled garden!  Texas Sage is a popular ornamental plant that does best in dry, warm locations. This flowering desert bush can grow up to eight feet high.  In Arizona, Purple Sage is often used as a border or hedge for a yard.

If you are interested in more information regarding care and pruning your Texas Sage please browse the categories for more articles.