It’s October!!! Finally, the heat is subsiding and we can feel the cool fall air. The nights are beautiful and it may even be cool enough to turn on our fire pit. We can turn the air off and open the windows. This is a great time to be in the Arizona desert. The mountains are even starting to bloom and green up. It is also the prime planting month for the low desert. We have seven to eight months of beautiful, mild weather to allow the plants to establish before the summer’s heat returns. Remember, if we get a cold frost in December -February, cover your new and tender plants or your tropical plants and winter flowers. Don’t forget to change your water for winter watering schedule. Check out this Arizona watering guide.
- Transplant native or desert trees, shrubs, ground covers, vines, grasses, flowers, cacti and succulents. Make sure you plant your plants in the correct spot for the correct sun exposure so it can survive the summer. Many people plant desert plants in part shade and wonder why they don’t bloom. Full sun, desert plants like the Bougainvillea or Bird of Paradise actually need full sun to flower. They will not look good under a tree or in a shaded spot. Save those areas for plants that like the shade. Also consider the plants mature height and width in planting. It will save you a lot of headaches down the road and cut back your trimming needs if you give the plant the room it needs to grow.
- We all love Hummingbirds. Plant trumpet shaped flowering plants and trees to attract them to your yard. The Desert Willow is a great choice. If you prefer a tree without seed pods, consider the Art’s seedless (pink rose) variety. The Cascalote tree is one of my favorites for winter color. They are so beautiful in the winter months and stay green with yellow blooms all over for the Hummingbirds. The Smoothie is a thorn-less Cascalote tree. The Blue Palo Verde, Foothills Palo Verde, Palo Brea and thorn-less Desert Museum Palo Verde provide great nesting and perching sites for bids, including the Hummingbird.
- Wildflowers: Sow seeds all month for wildflowers.
- Bulbs: It is time to plant your spring bulbs. In Arizona desert you can plant bearded iris, crinum, crocosmia, dutch iris, freesia, glory of the snow, rain lily, and sever other varieties that do not need to pre-chill. Check out Bakernursery.com or easytogrowbulbs.com
- Herb and Vegetable Gardens: Check out this Arizona winter vegetable planting guide for more ideas.
- Sow: anise, borage, caraway, chamomile, chervil, chicory, chives, cilantro, dill, fennel, lemon balm, parsley, salad burnet, sorel.
- Transplant: bay tree, comfrey, curry, feverfew, germander, lavender, lemon grass, rosemary, oregano, sage, society garlic, scented geraniums, and thyme.
- Vegetables: Sow seeds for cool season vegetables or transplant from the cabbage family (brocolli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, peas, and root crops.)