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The Hot Month of June in Your Desert Potted Garden

Summer Potted Garden in the Shade

Summer Potted Garden in the Shade

Once again we are in the 100′s and it is only June 2. But what can we expect? It is June – the hottest average month of the year in the Desert. I only plan to update this blog once this month. There is not a lot to do AND I am working on my book – Getting Potted in the Desert. I have said for years I was going to get this done for you and NOW IS THE TIME!

So please – drop me a line if you have a question or just want to encourage me to get the book done. In the meantime, check out my upcoming classes at the Botanical Gardens and stay in the shade – but don’t neglect your potted garden!

This month’s checklist:
• Avoid planting new plants during this, the hottest month unless we have a cool period.
• Watch for signs of water stress and sunburn
• Increase watering, but beware of hot hose water
• Stop mosquitoes before the summer rains by eliminating places where water may collect
• Garden in the early morning or late evening to beat the heat

What to plant this month
I just said not to plant this month. However, if you must here are the safest bets you’re your summer pots
• Lantana
• Bird of Paradise species
• Guara
• Gazania
• Portulaca
• Purslane
• Pentas

Potted Roses
General Notes:
• Water early in the morning
• Water deeply
• “Dead head” at least once a month.
• Apply a half strength liquid fertilizer once a month, the day after you water your roses.

Special Attention in June

Water, shade and more water – need I say more?
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Potted Desert Cacti – May is the time to plant!

Low Bowl of Golden Barrels

Low Bowl of Golden Barrels

Potted Cactus and succulents – May is a great month to plant new cactus and succulents.

  • Be sure you are choosing their new location appropriately in regards to sun/shade needs.
  • Use cactus soil for all plants.
  • Plant at least ½ inch shy of the soil line to allow for room to add rock and not suffocate the plant.
  • Water two weeks after planting unless the planting soil is absolutely dry.
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Desert Potted Gardens – Special Attention this Month

Canoe pot deadI cannot stress enough the need to pay close attention to watering your plants this month. We have had a very dry winter/spring this year and your landscape plants may need to have some extra help before moving into the extreme summer heat.

Newly potted flowers may need twice a day watering for the first two weeks of planting. Then all pots in the sun will need daily watering. Do not let the roots dry out entirely.

Water your potted cactus every two weeks when we are without any rain.

Monitor all shade plantings to water as needed. Depending on your location and theirs, I suggest watering every 2-4 days.

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Your Desert Potted Roses – Going into Summer

Relecting Climbing Rose in a Desert Landscape

General Notes:

  • Spray your roses with a jet blast of water three times a week. This is the best proactive method to keep your roses healthy.
  • Put down mulch to keep soil from drying out.
  • Be sure to dead head your roses this month to continue this bloom cycle while our weather is still favorable.


Note: Always water your roses thoroughly the night before you fertilize.

  • Week 1: Use one cup of organic fertilizer like Max Magic Mix or homemade compost. Scratch the dry fertilizer into the ground and water in again.
  • Week 3 and every other week after: Use a water-soluble fertilizer with a hose applicator. Spray the rose leaves and buds as well as a thorough soaking of the soil.
  • Week 4: Apply a dose of fish emulsion to help get the microorganisms going.

Pests and Fungi: aphids and mildew:

Aphids: Use Bayer Rose Spray or Safer Insecticide once a week per bottle instructions to wipe them out.

Mildew: Keep in check by using a good fungicide. It is best to fungicide as a preventative for mildew on a weekly basis, rather than waiting for the problem to show up. It’s harder to prevent damage once it’s started.

Thrips: 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 with your favorite rose spray and spray the buds directly as they are starting to open. Do this once a week at least.

Water – Daytime Temperature guidelines:

Deeply water your roses. Potted roses need deep watering every two days when in the 80’s and daily in the 90’s.

Take your opening roses inside to enjoy the intense fragrance this month! Too bad I cannot share this with you in these posts!!


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Your Potted Desert Edible Garden

May Planting: You will want to get a jump on these veggies and herbs this month.  Be sure to protect your tomatoes with shade cloth as the sun’s intensity increases.


  • Jerusalem artichoke
  • Sweet Potato
  • Tomatillo
  • Jicama
  • Eggplant
  • Pepper (by mid-month)


  • Basil
  • Mexican-oregano
  • Mexican-tarragon
  • Cuban-oregano

Anyone have a recipe to share?

Desert Potted Winter Kitchen Garden

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The Beginning of Our Desert Summer Potted Garden

Potted Garden Provides Focal Point to Desert GardenThe heat is coming!!! NO doubt about it – we do live in the desert! This picture above is a great example of how you can have flowers all summer long. And no, the cactus is not growing up in the same pot. It is against the wall, far from the container!
Here is this month’s checklist for your potted desert garden:

• Plant your summer flower pots
• Finish the planting of cactus & succulents
• Plant summer vegetables and herbs
• Place shade cloth over newly planted cacti & succulents to avoid sunburn
• Shade tomato plants
• Continue to increase watering and irrigation to your floral potted gardens
• Fertilize potted (and ground) citrus trees around Mother’s Day

What to plant this month
Ml corner potsShrubs:

• Yellow Bells
• Lantana
• Sky Flower
• Bird of Paradise species

Perennials and groundcovers including:

• Gazania
• Chocolate Flower
• Trailing Lantana
• White Plumbago
• Rain-lilies

Summer flowers

• Vinca
• Verbana
• Portulaca
• Gomphorena purple buddy
• Perslane
• Pentas
• Celosia
• Salvia
• Zinnia
• And many more!

The important thing is – Have fun!!

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April in Your Potted Cactus Garden

Low Bowl of Golden Barrels

Low Bowl of Golden Barrels

Potted Cactus and Succulents

April is a great month to plant new cactus and succulents. They will have ample time to get established before the summer heat. When planting new succulents, you want the soil to be slightly moist but you do not need to water the plants after planting. Give them a week or so and if they are not out in any rain, give them a good watering once established. Make sure the pots have excellent drainage and that you have a layer of rock coming up to the original soil line – not above.

One of my favorites:

Photo by Mark Dimmitt Courtesy of the Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society

Photo by Mark Dimmitt Courtesy of the Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society

‘Blue Glow’ (A. attenuata x A. ocahui ‘Blue Glow’), which has deep blue-green leaves with maroon leaf margins, is hardy to 15°, and forms a 3- by 3-foot rosette. Planted in a pot, the ‘Blue Glow’ will grow much more slowly and be able to stay in the pot for many years. Find it at your local nurseries and be sure it is ‘Blue Glow’ and not ‘Moon Glow.’

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April in your Desert Rose Garden

Healthy-rose-blooms-1-1024x768Fertilize: Establish a regular fertilizing schedule for your roses starting this month with both organic and water soluble fertilizers:

  • Start with and then monthly: Max Magic Mix or homemade compost (about one cup per bush the first week
  • Bi-weekly: Dilute your water soluble fertilizer (Miracle Grow, Peters, Scotts, etc) as the instructions state and shower your fertilizer using your hose.
  • Monthly  Additionally, be sure to apply a dose of fish emulsion once a month
  • Be sure to water your roses thoroughly the night before you fertilize them.

Pests and Fungi: aphids and mildew:

  • Spraying your roses off with water a couple of times a week will help reduce the aphid population. If a colony has gotten started, use Bayer Rose Spray or Safer Insecticide once a week per bottle instructions to wipe them out.
  • When the weather gets warmer, the dreaded Thrips will appear. They attack the rose blooms and turn them brown. Using a small plastic spray bottle, spray the buds directly with your chosen insecticide above, as they begin to open. Do this at least once a week.
  • Mildew can be kept in check by using a good fungicide. It is best to apply fungicide as a preventative for mildew on a weekly basis, rather than waiting for the problem to show up. It’s harder to prevent damage once it’s started.

DSC01213Water – Daytime Temperature guidelines:

  • 70′s water every 5 – 6 days.
  • 80′s water every 4 – 5 days.
  • Your roses should be receiving 10-15 gallons of water each time you water. You can calculate this by the size of the emitter (e.g. 1 gal/hour) x the number of emitters x duration of watering cycle) This should provide water to a depth of 18-24 inches deep, keeping the soil moist but not soggy. The soil should not dry out between waterings.
  • Continue to water your roses and increase the frequency to three times per week as the temperatures increase.


  • Put down mulch to keep soil from drying out in the hot days ahead.
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The Potted Desert Edible Garden

Lush Potted Herb Garden

Lush Potted Herb Garden

Veggies and Herbs:

  • If you haven’t pruned your herb garden, now is the time to do it. For frost damaged herbs, look for new growth emerging on the lower half of the plant. Use sharp shears to cut the plant back by 1/3 to 1/2 or more, down to healthy new side shoots. Add new compost and water well.
  • Fertilize producing vegetable gardens.

Planting: Set out seedlings of anise hyssop, basil, bay laurel, chives, lemon grass, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, salad burnet, and thyme.

Set out transplants of eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes. Sow seeds of beans, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, and squash.

Special Attention Needed for the month 

Tippy pots.Burch

Pots Seated Well In Protected Stone Area

Watch out for strong winds this month. Be sure you have all your furnishings secured or in places that will not drag them into the pool or the neighbor’s yard.ecte

If weather advisories come out about gusting winds, be sure to water you pots in well before the wind arrives.

If you have any pots that are notorious for tipping over, move them to a safer location.

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Your Potted Desert Garden – Moving into Summer

Late Winter Desert Potted Flowers

Late Winter Desert Potted Flowers

Repotting season may begin early this year due to our mild winter and early summer. Normally we do not plant to plant our 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.

Ask yourself, how are you pots looking now? Mine are great! So why would I pull them out. I will wait until April or May and then I should be good for the entire summer. I will have more options 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.

It’s time to check your irrigation system 

  • NOTE: Newly planted pots need daily water.
  • Review past water bills to track your usage – look for any obvious changes.
  • Check your system for leaks.
  • Do Not ASSUME… we need ½” of rain to be safe in turning off the irrigation for any length of time. Your pots will need water again in one to two days. Don’t forget to turn it back on!
  • Adjust irrigation timers. As temperatures increase, so do the water needs of your garden. To give plants just the right amount, adjust the timer by increasing the number of days per week it operates, but not the number of minutes per cycle.
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