Desert Dwellers, It's Time to Plant!


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Potted Garden by The Contained Gardener
  • Potted Garden by The Contained Gardener
Tucson gardeners — it is time to celebrate as we are now freed from our winter frost alerts!! Here is a huge list of what you can do this month!!


  • Warm-season annuals such as cosmos, globe amaranth, gloriosa daisy, marigold, and zinnia. Be sure to check that the plants’ root systems are well developed by gently lifting the plant from its nursery container and looking for a light-colored ‘road map’ of roots.
  • Warm-season flowering bulbs such as canna, dahlia, daylily and gladiolus.
  • Vegetables including beans, okra, cucumber, peanut, pumpkin, melon and squash.
  • Seedlings of pepper, tomatoes, squash, eggplant and green onion.
  • Warm-to-hot-season greens such as amaranth, purslane, Malabar spinach, and Yakina Savoy lettuce can be sown now and grown through summer — just as we do, all will appreciate afternoon shade from a tall trellis, tree, or sunflowers to the west.
  • Seeds for warm-season flowers such as gaillardia, salvia, sunflowers — great for the kids! and zinnia in garden beds.
  • Plant container-grown roses.
  • Plant new citrus and protect trunks from sunburn. Don’t fertilize when flowering.
  • Plant desert landscape shrubs, cacti and succulents so that the roots re-establish before the summer heat.
  • Late this month plant your summer annuals such as Vinca, Penta, Scaevola, more zinnia and other heat seeking flowers.


The danger of frost is past. Look for new growth on landscape and potted plants and prune winter-damaged plant parts back to new growth.


Watch for iron deficiency on citrus, pyracantha, gardenia, nandina and bottlebrush. Look for yellow leaves with green veins and apply chelated iron according to package directions.
Always water before and after applying any fertilizer.


Adjust drip-irrigation systems to accommodate new plants and the warming temperatures.

For more information on potted gardens in the desert, visit The Contained Gardener. Have a question? Email Marylee .

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