Philodendron made # 6 in my top Ten Heat Resistant plants for Arizona

Philodendrons are native to the tropical Americas and are a rain forest plant.  With close to 1,000 species of philodendrons you have many choices of the best foliage plants available today.  Heat resistant, oh yes!  Philodendrons do amazing in southern Arizona even with temperatures reaching over 110 degrees.

philodendron

Philodendron bipinnatifidum plant

One of the best houseplants that adds a delight to any room is the philodendron.  You can choose from a climbing or non-climbing variety.  Our Elephant Ear, philodendron bipinnatifidums, are growing in pots and containers but in the spring I will be planting several in soil next to trees that have regular irrigation.  Philodendrons like water because they are a species of the rain forest.

heat resistant plant

Elephant Ear Philodendron plant growing in Arizona

The genus Philodendron is in the family Araceae with each species having its own leaf size, color or shape that gives it a unique personality.

climbing philodendron

climbing philodendron

Propagating from climbing philodendrons is quite easy.  Simply gather a stem cutting and place it in a glass of water.

In the rain forest, most Philodendron species live on the trunks or branches of trees and do not need soil to survive.  Those tree-dwelling species are known as epiphytes or hemiepiphytes and are plants that live upon another plant.

What is an epiphyte?  This type of plant begins as a seed placed on branches by a rain forest animal and grows attached to the host tree.  A hemi-epiphyte is a seed that was dropped on the ground, begins to grow and then finds a host tree to climb.  A simple example would be if the seed came from a bird’s droppings…

The Tree Philodendrons are found largely in Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay.

For more in-depth facts and information on philodendrons, this site is excellent:   http://www.exoticrainforest.com/Grow%20or%20Growing%20Philodendrons.html

Philodendron is heat tolerant

Philodendron bipinnatifidum is heat tolerant

Try not to plant your philodendrons in too large of a container.  They actually grow better when their roots are slightly cramped.  Re-pot your philodendron when the roots begin to compact into a ball.

philodendron flower

philodendron flower

Philodendron bipinnatifidum, Elephant Ear philodendron, does produce flowers but it can take more than 10 years…  Flowers are rarely produced on philodendrons that are grown indoors.

To keep your philodendron clean; mist the leaves every few days.  Misting is another way to make this tropical plant feel like it is in the jungle.

Philodendron yellow leaves

Philodendron yellow-brown leaves

The leaves on my philodendron bipinnatifidum started turning yellow and brown.  Originally, I placed this plant in too much direct sunlight.  After trimming the yellowing leaves the philodendron was moved to a partly shaded area where it could not be burned by our Arizona sun.

I can safely say this philodendron plant has no insect problems.  If you are looking for a low maintenance plant that has large green leaves and gives a tropical feel to your garden… Elephant Ear philodendrons may be the right choice for you.

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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.

 

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…