container gardening in phoenix

pennyinphx(z9 AZ)March 5, 2006

Can anyone help me get started container gardening here?

Just need to know a few basics on potting soil, easy plants, dwarf citrus etc. that are fairly easy and do well.


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I'll help ya out... Just let me know what your wanting to grow and do, How is your water being handeled?, How large of containers do you want? and whats the pourpose for growing in containers? (ie. color/veggies/rock garden cactus/ ect. ect)

theres about no end to what you can do in containers here

    Bookmark   March 6, 2006 at 2:10PM
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pennyinphx(z9 AZ)

thanks for helping me. I have desert landscaping in the backyard. Most of the plants there are hibiscus, natal plum and bougenvilla. I have two large patio areas. One is brick, the other flagstone with a small pond. I was water gardening in the pond, but gave it up, so now the pond is just water, waterfall and chlorine. I want to jazz up the patio areas with container plants. I would like a variety of large and small containers with eye catching plants, flowering or greenery. Possibly cactus or dwarf citrus. I do have a drip system in the backyard. I want to start slowly so as not to overwhelm myself. I need to know the best potting soil, what the easiest plants to maintain through the summer and how to add interest to the patio. Thanks for any advise you can give me!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2006 at 3:22PM
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I am doing mostly container gardening as well. Also, I am trying a small "square foot" vegetable garden and some tomatoes and herbs and flowers in pots. I am using a mix of 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 compost and 1/3 peat moss. I have hayrack baskets on my block wall. Last year I hand watered everything but this year, my brother has hooked up drip irrigation for everything. I think you can grow almost anything in pots.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2006 at 11:24AM
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I do a lot of container gardening in Phoenix, and enjoy it. Like elledee, my mix is 1/3 pumice, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 potting soil. I use this mix for plants other than cactus and succulents. I have dwarf citrus, annuals, and tropicals in containers. You do need to watch your watering practices, especially in the summer months. Dwarf citrus does well, I have Mexican Thornless Lime, Variegated Calamondin, Limequat, Royal Mandarin, and Buddha's Hand in containers. For citrus, you do need to use large containers. Good luck, and have fun!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2006 at 8:24PM
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Where can I get a Limequat?
When we're talking large container, what constitutes "large"?

I love container gardening since if something's not working out in one spot, I can move it around until I find its ideal location. I typically use glazed ceramic pots for smaller things. Terracotta is just too porous to hold any water for any length of time in the summmer, but I do keep some daylilies in terracotta in the shade and they do well.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2006 at 10:12PM
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Nothing hold water for any length of time in the summer! All serious joking aside....terra cotta works very well for just that reason. The evaporation of the water through the pores helps keep the roots as much as 20 degrees cooler. When you sit pots on that large solar collector we call patios the heat stress on plants can be the toughest thing to fight. With the exception of the newer foam type plastic pots which offer some insulating value, the cheaper plastic pots can cook you plant's roots. If you want to use the plastic, try a pot in a larger pot with crumpled news paper in between for insulation. If your drip system is zoned right you can water mutiple times ( I water twice to 3 times a day during the hottest months). Just remember to water heavily once in a while to wash the accumulated salts through the soil.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2006 at 11:13PM
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I agree with jkochan in using terra cotta. It allows the plant to be able to breathe, and it is cooler than other materials during the summer. I use the larger size, 22"-24" for citrus. Home Depot seems to have good prices on them. I picked up a Limequat this past Monday at Target. It was reduced 50% to $10 bucks. A little worn, but it will come back fine. With containers, you can move the plants to sun during the winter, and then more shade when the blast furnace returns.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2006 at 7:56PM
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drmeow3(z9 AZ)

I found some great terracotta pots at Pottery Land on Main in Mesa. They have some particularly large ones (which get pretty heavy when full - I need a heavy duty handtruck and my DH to move the big ones). You can see some of them in a cluster to the right in this picture:


I've had particularly good success with Murphy's Agave, Bougainvillea, Mediterranean fan palm and Pony tail palm in containers. (You can see the Agave and Pony tail palm in the photo along with some Dusty Miller that did not survive.)

    Bookmark   March 12, 2006 at 2:15AM
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The best thing for keeping things moist in the summers is "Soil Moist", I use them in allot of our containers for shrubs I grow, reduces watering by 40/50%

Here is a link that might be useful: Soil Moist

    Bookmark   March 12, 2006 at 8:50AM
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pennyinphx(z9 AZ)

Thanks so much to everyone for these great suggestions. I am going out today to home depot and am going to start my collection of containers and plants. I am really excited to try a dwarf lime tree. Which products from soil moist do you use Trutleman? Can you get it in stores around the valley? or do you have to order it?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2006 at 10:55AM
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jessejane(Surprise, AZ)

Took this class last year - most helpful!

 9 a.m.-noon March 18, Container Gardening with Master Gardener Cherie Czaplicki at the University of Arizona's Maricopa County Cooperative Extension, 4341 E. Broadway Road, Phoenix. $20, if you bring along a 10- to 14-inch terra-cotta pot; $25 without. Soils and plants provided. Register at (602) 470-8086, Ext. 823.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2006 at 2:41PM
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Soil moist granules are available at Walmart. I use them also. They turn into a gel when soaked in water. Like the stuff in disposable diapers and the neck cooler ties. We made some of those last year!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2006 at 1:25AM
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I'm the Dist. for the Southwest here so I carry about all the Soil Moist anyone would need,, each application is a bit different I use SM Plus in my containers for the nursery, If your in my area I can help you with any of the products youd want.. I'm sure I can save you some $$ also

    Bookmark   March 19, 2006 at 8:45PM
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I don't understand why you use vermiculite, moss and so little soil. And then water a couple of times a day.

Why? Basically, you are using the water as the nutrient source? There doesn't seem to be enough soil for nutrients and for the roots to grow around.

Please explain. Thanks!!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2006 at 11:40PM
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I need a good book on Phoenx container gardening on a patio which has sun most of the day.

My plants for the most part just aren't as happy as when I was using a yard. For example: I planted an Early Girl with bloom in Feb. Big plastic pot, potting soil mixed with garden soil, some non-smelly manure, some sand, a little bit of vermiculte. I water till it comes out the bottom when the stick-in-the-dirt meter tells me it is half dry which is about every 2 or 3 days. Tomato fertilizer about once a month, some epsom salts same.
The plant has grown but not large. Maybe a dozen tomatoes. I picked the first red one today, only a slight bit larger than a cherry tomato and hard as a rock.
I did great with tomatoes when I had dirt but I figure it is just a matter of experimenting.
Or maybe I should just plant all cactus. My cactus plants are doing fine, the various honeysuckle and Salvia microphylla (Baby sage) are OK but not up to the growth I expected.
Any suggestions for what I am doing wrong or need to do will be appreciated.
thanks, Mariam

    Bookmark   April 27, 2008 at 2:39PM
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as transplant from WA state to Phoenix, I felt like totally liked I had no idea how to garden anymore LOL I still dont!

I have an apt with a large south facing balcony with many plants. In February...things were blooming beautifully in the pots. Things that are winter-spring flowers (iceland poppies, ranunculus etc)

Now in may, everything except my tropicals look horrid. I have hanging pots that get full sun and the plants are horrid...the euryops that was doing great in the early spring now has turned brown in places and the flowers are really small. The African Daisy surrounded by Allysum in a pot looks bad. I'm wondering if I have watered them TOO much and gave them root rot..I don't know.

I have another pot with rudbeckia in it but even if it is only in the morning sun, all the leaves wilt.

I have tomato plants that are pointless as the flowers won't set now (I planted them too late)

I also have had a horrid problem with fungus gnats (in Phoenix for sakes) and SPIDER MITES!! I think the mites are gone....I won that war.

I've learned so much through this process, If I'm here next year...I will do things SO much different. I'd rather have a yard though lol


    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 10:50PM
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I'm actually in Fort Mohave, so its hot. What is the best way to water containers??? Is there a system you can buy on a timer. My new yard is mainly patio and I'd like some greenery. People that lived here had tons of Oleandor and we tore them out, to fit you had to prune them so severely you lost the looks of the plants as they took over what little patio this yard has. So I'm going with pavers and pots, but need to know a good irrigation system as we aren't home all the time

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 10:36AM
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mangledmind(AZ 9B)

kingman, Lowe's and Homedepot sell kits for around $20 plus the timer, you can get one that connects to garden hose spigot or a larger setup for PVC with valves and timer

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 10:52AM
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Thank you

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 6:45PM
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