Red Salvia is # 3 – in the top Ten Heat Resistant plants for my Arizona garden

I’m only one of multitudes of people who love Salvia.  These Salvia plants, better known as Sage or SCARLET sage, are indigenous to nearly all continents.

Most varieties of Salvia are heat resistant and drought tolerant along with providing colorful flowers that bloom lavishly.

Salvia varieties of sage

Red Salvia sage in pots, containers

drought tolerant red salvia

Red Sage, Scarlet Sage plants in containers

This plant is easy to grow and Salvias furnish over 900 species; offering amazing potential for your garden!  The lush green leaves of the Salvia plant are so attractive that this Sage looks handsome even when not in bloom.

heat tolerant plant salvia

growing salvia

Salvia is a member of the Lamiaceae or Labiatae family; the MINT family.  Hot temperatures are a considerable concern for my Arizona gardens and Red Salvia loves the heat!

Salvia splendens, Salvia coccinea, Salvia darcyi, Red Salvia, or commonly referred to as Scarlet Sage are hardy, impressive plants and my favorite choice because of their lovely red blooms.   These Red Salvia are not edible like the sage in your kitchen.

red salvia in container

growing Salvia in a pot

Like most Salvia, the fragrant foliage is deer and small critter-resistant.  One of our Scarlet Sage, RED SALVIA, gardens is growing in the open desert and available to all wildlife.  In the past several years, I can report that our desert sage was devoured 1 time by JAVELINA but has been left alone ever since.  Most likely the Salvia made them ill.

red salvia darci

red salvia is a heat resistant plant

A location with full sun is the best choice for most salvia varieties but some are shade tolerant.  Our Salvia located in part shade did not make it through the winter; on the other hand, the salvia plants in sunny locations come back year after year.

squirrel proof plants salvia

Salvia sage plants are critter proof

When the flowers are spent the Salvia will self-sow its seeds! Take a look at the photo below. No worries about Salvia being intrusive:  you can easily transplant the seedlings or share them with friends.  Simply pull up your unwanted plants.

baby salvia seedlings

salvia seeds itself

Sometimes called Autumn Sage, Red Salvia blooms continually from spring through fall. A garden plant must have that is perennial and hardy in Tucson and Phoenix.

Arizona red salvia in a pot

growing salvia in containers

Can you grow Salvia in pots and containers?  Absolutely! We have several different pots with gorgeous Scarlet Sage blooming throughout the yard.  Our favorite color of Salvia for our garden is red but many cultivars offer pastel blooms such as pinks and blues.

I found, the main difference with growing Salvia in containers is:  1)  the plants need to be watered more often      2)  several of the small shrubs needed replaced after winter

red salvia in Arizona

salvia, Scarlet Sage plants in containers

The abundant showy flowers produce a good amount of nectar making them attractive to hummingbirds and some people have named salvia: HUMMINGBIRD SAGE.

red salvia plant seeds for finches

salvia plants attract small birds

Goldfinches and other birds visit the Salvia plant to pick out the tiny brown seeds hidden in the calyces.

garden plants to attract birds

birds eat salvia seeds

Deadheading Salvia encourages more blooms and more birds!  I have so much fun watching the Goldfinches pick out the seeds.  Salvia plants can get pretty tall and unshapely.  Prune the salvia stalks back for fresh growth and new blooms!  I trim often to keep a fuller shrub and nice shape.

red salvia desert garden plant

salvia, Red Hot Sally Sage varieties

colors of salvia heat resistant plants

red and blue salvia plants

Hardy Salvia has been a jewel in our garden and definitely worth a try. :)

desert plant with red flowers

Red Salvia, Salvia darcyi

 

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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 are low maintenance and good on the budget!  I waited over a year before writing about this daisy like plant so I could document what animal critters would eat our Euryops.

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!

drought heat tolerant daisy plants

bushes with yellow daisy flowers, Euryops

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 leavesEuryops 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.   Plant your daisy shrub in a sunny location that is key!

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.

heat resistant flowering plant for winter

best flowering bush plant for Arizona desert garden

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!

Euryops have yellow daisy flowers

hardy daisy like shrubs, desert garden plants

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.

daisy flowering plants in containers

daisy like plant, Euryops in pots

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 with daisy flowers

Euryops are animal, heat, and drought resistant plants

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.

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.

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…

My top 10 heat resistant plants that flourished during record breaking temperatures for July and August 2012

Bougainvilleas are tropical plants that thrive in outdoor areas with low rainfall and intense heat.  The 110 temperatures this year did not faze our Bougainvillea.  This flowering jewel is number 10 on our list of the BEST heat-resistant plants in Arizona.

Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea magenta color

Bougainvillea is drought resistant, I do not call it drought tolerant because it is not a desert native plant. Bougainvilleas are native to South America. Caring for and growing a Bougainvillea takes more effort but it is worth it.

Bougainvillea in the ground

Bougainvillea in the ground

Bougainvilleas do great growing in pots and containers.  To grow your flowering Bougainvillea shrub/vine choose a very sunny place. Be sure your pots have good holes in the bottom, so you will have good drainage. Fertilize with Hibiscus Food.  Hibiscus food has more potash than many other fertilizers. Be sure to measure exactly the amount of food according to the size of your pot.

Bougainvillea growing up a trellis

Bougainvillea growing up a trellis

The amount of watering for your Bougainvillea is directly related to your area and the local weather. There are some basics —- Bougainvillea is a drought resistant plant, and requires very little water once established.  Be sure to let the soil dry between waterings; if your Bougainvillea’s roots stay continuously wet it will promote a weak and shallow root system. Wilting is the best indicator that watering is needed.  Don’t let it dry out completely as this will cause bracts and foliage to drop.

Bougainvillea growing freely

Bougainvillea growing freely

When choosing an area to plant your bougainvillea, remember that higher ground is best – as this makes water drain AWAY from the roots. Avoid overwatering.

In Florida, landscape professionals commonly perform a hard cut at the first sign of summer, and keep on a regular trimming schedule all summer long to maintain size of the Bougainvillea.  Pinching is the method of removing the soft tips of young plant stems to encourage fuller growth.  Bougainvilleas will send out several new stems just below the pinched tip.

The more regularly you pinch, the more your bougainvillea will branch and bloom.  The best time to prune or pinch is after the flush of color or flowering cycle is completed.  Flowering cycles are typically four to six weeks. Lets get pinching!

Stay tuned as the count down for the best heat survivors continues…