How can I be talking about summer flowers when this picture was just taken at the University of Arizona on March 15th? However, if our temperature trends continue, these pansies may be getting pretty tired by the time you read this update.
As you always hear me preach, I recommend that you do not plant summer flowers until the second half of April or later. Remember, I always talk about how long we ask our summer flowers to perform. If we plant late April, we won’t plant again until late October and that is six months. Planting in late March or the first week of April adds another month to that. We do want to plant before the summer heat arrives so the roots can get established before the soil warms up to summer levels.
You will have more options in the nursery too! For those of you chomping at the bit to plant sooner, just be prepared to add some new plants in August to refresh your pots if some of the plants are too tired to bloom or grow any longer.
Fertilize: Establish a regular fertilizing schedule for your roses starting this month with both organic and water soluble fertilizers:
Pests and Fungi: aphids and mildew:
Spring has “sprung” and in spite of the wind today, we know that upcoming days of 80 degree temperatures are in the forecaste. It’s easy to forget that not so long ago we were experiencing cold and rainy weather. Here is the top question I get asked along with my answer:
Is the danger of frost over?
I believe so! The last average freeze in Tucson is March 15. Right now the forecast through March 20 is 80/55. However, those living in the mountains or southern regions of Arizona, keep watching the night time temperatures and if it changes, be prepared to cover any tender new plantings if the forecast moves below 38 degrees I still suggest you wait to do any pruning until the end of them month. If you have any specific questions, please email me.
Start your program of fertilizing this month
Watering Potted Roses:
Pest Threat: Aphids and Mildew
Aphids: Jet Spray roses off with water a couple of times a week. If a colony has gotten started, use Bayer or Safer Rose Spray once a week per bottle instructions
Mildew: Spray Funginex as a preventative for Mildew on a weekly basis, rather than waiting for the problem to show up.
Thrips: When the weather gets warmer the dreaded Thrips will appear. They attack the rose blooms and turn them brown. A simple way to keep them under control is to get a small plastic spray bottle and fill it with Bayer or Safer Rose Spray or Orthinex aerosol. Spray the buds directly once a week as they are starting to open. Watering:—Reprinted from the March 20
Note: If you love your potted roses or have roses in the ground, you want to become a member of the Tucson Rose Society. It is inexpensive ($20 a year) and you receive great information from them and have many rose experts and information at your fingertips. Visit Tucson Rose Society for more information.by
We have had a challenging winter so far with several hard freezes and continuing chilly weather. Do not let a warm week in February allow you to think that winter is over. We can and most likely will have freezing temperatures this month and possible into March. Average last frost date is March 15 and remember – That is the AVERAGE!!!
Frosted or Frozen Plant Damage
I have a regular weekly column in the Coachella Valley Independent. Find out more behind the story of this desert patio makeover.by
You will want to finish pruning your roses by early-February so that they can rest for a couple weeks before our early spring tells them to start growing! Follow these steps for a healthy spring bloom! The same instructions apply for all Hybrid Tea and Floribunda roses. Pruning Use bypass pruners that work similar to scissors. Anvil-type pruners will crush your rose stems.
Water and Feed
January is is a wonderful period of time in the desert. The holidays are over and soon all the decorations will be away if they are not done already. Unless you have roses, there is not a lot you need to do in your potted gardens. So be sure to seek out the warmer days and enjoy the colorful gardens you have created.
January’s Container Garden Checklist
Many of you know I have been working on a long overdue book on container gardening in the desert. We hope to have it out by early March. I am planning to self publish so stay tuned right here to find out when it is ready. My goal for the book is for you to be able to have a potted garden, here in the desert. One that for many of you will remind you of your garden ‘back home.’
If you have missed the warning today through Sunday:
There is a freeze warning for the Tucson/Pima County region. Please check your local forecast for specifics. Details online can be found at weather.gov/tucson.
Frost Protection Checklist
— Water all potted plants
— Cover the entire plant area with frost cloths, sheets, or light blankets. Do not use towels or plastic.
— Secure the cloth inside the pot at the soil level with rocks or clothespins.
— Remove covering during the day if you can and cover again until danger of frost is over.
If you have any questions, please email me and I will try to get back to you quickly.
Prepare for the coming holidays with a final spruce up of your pots. The picture above has reds for those celebrating Christmas but are not so committed to being a ‘red all over’ theme that no matter what holiday you might celebrate, these pots will be a cheerful addition to any entry. There is an added benefit of a lettuce mix in bright green and red that will easily find its way into your daily salads.
Don’t be afraid to add more flowers to your desert potted garden this month. You can continue to plant all winter long. Just hold off if the temperatures approach the freezing mark as it will be hard for the young plants to get off to a good start. Typically these low temperatures only last a week and you can start planting again as long as the night time temperatures are in the 40’s.
December’s Desert Potted Garden Checklist:
Potted Roses – General Notes:
Special Attention in December <<FREEZE WARNINGS>>
Do you feel the cool air at your home now? We have finally gotten through the long summer in the desert and are ready to GARDEN!!! This is the time to plant your winter annuals and pots. The long range forecast is really saying to Get To IT NOW!!!
November’s Desert Potted Garden Checklist:
What to plant this month
There is an abundance of flowers in your nurseries now for you to choose from. Decide on your color scheme and plant freely!! Just remember to water everything in thoroughly so that water comes out of the bottom of the pot.
Don’t forget to fertilize with a time release fertilizer each time you repot.
Besides your normal winter plants of pansies, petunias and snapdragons, be sure to look for these wonderful additions to your winter pots:
I recommend that you do not use jumbo or six-packs. Choose four inch plants or gallon containers. They will give you a faster start and if we do return to some high temperatures, these will be stronger plants.
Special Attention in November
Hi Gang! Did you like that rain yesterday in Tucson? I hope you each were safe. I was fortunate that Mondays are scheduled to work from my home office so I got to stay in most of the day!
I do not want you to miss out on my upcoming classes this week – as in TOMORROW and Saturday at the Tucson Botanical Gardens.
Join potted garden expert Marylee Pangman to learn how to plan your floral combinations for extraordinary winter potted gardens.
$12, $7 members !~ You can register by clicking here or call the Gardens at 520-326-9686. If you are reading this late and want to come over in the morning, come on down! I expect we will have room for you there.
My other fall classes are listed to the right.by