Need, fast growing bush

tracydr(9b)May 4, 2012

I need a really fast growing bush or even annual, to shade a very hot Arizona room sliding door. The room gets up above 100 degrees in the summer.

The spot will be in mostly sun, is easily watered, gets a bit of flood irrigation, and needs to be very full/bushy.

Prefer something that would go with my tropical look that I'm trying to work on around my pool.

I was considering yellow bells or their orange relative. Also, perhaps hibiscus or even one of the hardy hibiscus. Maybe swamp mallow? Would any of these grow quickly and work here? Confederate rose?

It will get some shade in the afternoon from the large pine trees and house, especially when smaller.

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Well, there's always the Oleander...I know some people don't like them but they do grow like crazy and are very dense! :)

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 4:24PM
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Not an option. Far too poisonous.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 9:15PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Lady Banks rose.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 9:51PM
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Isn't that a vine? I'm trying to shade a glass door. How would that work?
Would yellow bells grow really fast with irrigation?
How about a confederate rose?

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 1:30PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Tracy, it can become viney, you could keep it bush-like with trimming and pruning but it may be too much shrub for that spot. I don't know about confederate rose. I think yellow bells are a fast grower. What about jasmine? Do you want some scent? Emu bushes - yellow emu is a real trooper. How tall do you want it to get?

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 2:13PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

I typed a long reply listing some shrubs from the link below but sometimes on GW I forget to click the second button to submit - looks like I failed to actually post my note. I'll just repost the link to a booklet that I find is a great resource. I find it free at nurseries and the library. Go to shrubs and look for growth rate = fast.

Here is a link that might be useful: Landscape Plants for the Arizona Desert

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 3:39PM
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Last winter our neighbor took down a tree that provided lovely privacy and coziness to our patio. We planted Tecoma orange jubilee as replacements for the tree because they're supposed to be really fast growers, are definitely bushy, and are pretty to boot. A little trouble with aphids on one of them, but it's recovered, and they're growing well so far. Supposedly they'll grow ten feet in a single season, and I can definitely say that even over the winter with the cool temps, they've put on some new growth. Even better, they've already bloomed several times and the hummingbirds like them!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 9:52PM
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Orange jubilee, hands down. Maintenance free; grows like a weed. Yellow bells doesn't get as big. Texas olive is another option, but slower growing. Orange jubilee is frost sensitive, but that may not be an issue if you plant it close to the house.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 10:34PM
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Sounds like orange jubilee is very high on the list.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 10:49PM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

I vote for Orange Jubilee, too. It does grow fast, gets nice and tall and blooms like crazy. It is frost sensitive and should be cut back each spring to get a new start. I didn't do that and now the plant is leggy and sprawly. My caveat is that it may not provide as much shade as you want. Unless you plant a few in a row, maybe...

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 2:34PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

That's a good choice. Pretty plant and the hummers love them.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 5:25PM
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kathleen10(z9b AZ)

Why not put in some Burgundy Okra? It is a stunning plant, looks more like an ornamental than an veggie, loves the heat, gives a ton of shade with its huge green leaves and has a lovely red stem/red accent as well and it has beautiful yellow flowers that look like large hibiscus (I believe they are the same family). They end up with thick strong stems almost as tough as a piece of bamboo.

I grew just 6 of them in a 24" pot last summer and they grew to be over 7' tall and they totally shaded half of a 5' wide window they were in front of. I read the plants can grow to 12' tall in India and other hot climates and are very drought tolerant - can vouch for that especially being crowded into that container. They lasted from spring until about late November when the cold finally caused them to drop leaves and I took them out.

I'm planting them there again this year (and a couple other places in my garden) for all 3 reasons: shade, beauty and veggies! You could put some sunflowers with it and get a pop of those big beautiful blooms as well. This would be a quick and easy solution and buy you some time to think about how you might want to make a permanent solution to this problem and deal with it in the fall.

Another thing to think about is this: if the room gets hot during the summer, it might be best to put in something that's an annual (like the okra) or something deciduous so that when winter comes, you can have a bare spot or a bare tree so that the sun will shine in and heat up that room. You'd be surprised how much that can help keep your home comfy in winter. Just something else to consider.

BTW if you're not a big okra fan, I wasn't either until this past year. I found a recipe where you just toss them whole with a bit of olive oil and some spices (like a dry rub you'd put on meat) and then grill them. Awesome and they are not slimy this way! You can roast in the oven as well. I'll post the recipe if anyone is interested.

Here is a link that might be useful: Burgundy Okra detail and photos

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 2:27AM
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kathleen10(z9b AZ)

Just reading the rest of that okra link and wanted to note that this variety is not spiny and irritating to touch. I harvested with scissors just to make it easier (they don't pull off the stem easily) but touching the leaves didn't irritate as that article notes. I've got extra sensitive skin too and this wasn't a problem for me. It also states they grow to 4', nope! Not here, more like 8' if they were in the ground, I'd say!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 2:34AM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Recipe please....I've planted some okra, don't remember off hand if it's the burgandy one. Hubby has a problem with the slime factor so the roasting would be good.

[tracy, we'll be right back on topic momentarily. :-))

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 8:35AM
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kathleen10(z9b AZ)

Here you go, marymcp - you can basically use any herb type rub you prefer but this one is very good, You can also use a grill basket for simplicity:

Barbecued Okra
Recipe courtesy Steven Raichlen
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 8 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 4 servings

1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 pound fresh okra
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, or olive oil

Preheat the grill to high.
Place the salt, paprika, sugar, coriander, black pepper, cayenne, and celery seed in a small bowl and stir to mix.

Rinse the okra under cold running water and blot dry with paper towels. Trim the tips off the stem ends of the okra but do not cut into the pods. Place the okra in a large mixing bowl, add the butter and toss to coat. Add the rub mixture and toss to coat.

When ready to cook, arrange the okra on the hot grate so that they are perpendicular to the bars or you may wish to skewer 4 or 5 pods side by side with bamboo skewers that have been soaked in water to keep any stray okra from falling through the grates and into the fire. Grill the okra until nicely browned, about 2 to 4 minutes per side, turning with tongs as needed. Transfer the grilled okra to a platter or plates and serve immediately.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 5:58AM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Thanks Kathleen!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 8:11AM
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Great idea on the okra! I had been thinking about a screen made of okra and amaranth. I think that will work for summer, then I'll plant something permanent next fall.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 11:24AM
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I have a south window that Im thinking about screening with sunflowers. My grey water runs near there.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 6:59AM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

kathleen10, thanks for posting that recipe (and thanks for asking for it, LOL, Mary). I just saved it to my files to make this summer. Sounds awesome! I'm in the anti-slime camp too, LOL. Happy gardening all!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 7:59PM
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I love grilled okra.
Darn, I wish I'd ordered some burgundy okra when I bought seeds! I may just have to make another seed order. I have so much okra seed but they are so darn pretty.
I think I'll fill this spot with okra, amaranth, mayb some sunflowers. Plant Tecoma and maybe a hop bush this fall.
Wish bananas were bushier and handled that kind of sun. I'm trying to plant around the pool with tropicals, this area is just outside of the pool area.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 8:20PM
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Burgundy Okra looks beautiful. When is the best time to plant the seeds. I'm thinking of planting this in a raised garden- maybe with some sunflowers. Do you think the sunflowers or the okra get taller?

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 2:43AM
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kathleen10(z9b AZ)


You can plant okra now through the end of the month of June I believe. Check the online planting calenders for anything after June, not sure how far into summer you can plant it. My okra grew to over 7 feet in a container last year. I understand it loves heat so it might grow bigger in a larger planter or in the ground here in AZ.

Can't tell on the sunflowers, I can't grow them as the rabbits eat them usually before they even get their second set of leaves :( But I do know there are many sunflower varieties and you could choose shorter or taller ones as you wish to go with the okra. I think they'd be fabulous together and I actually tried to plant them together in ground this year, even though I swore off in-ground years ago due to predation. So I put in some of the giant gray sunflowers and some of the autumn variety which are multicolor blooms, smaller flowered and shorter. But I should have known better - the rabbits foiled me again, even with chicken wire and netting. So disappointing :( I really need to either make a solid walled courtyard or a grow house made of wire on sides, top and bottom so I can actually grow more than just containers.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 3:50AM
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I planted regular green okra, but not from seed. My mom grew the seeds and I planted the little plants. I'm new to gardening- I plan on building a few raised beds and would love to fill the tallest tier with the okra and sunflower combo. Sounds beautiful. Just not sure when to actually plant the seeds for next year. I'd ask my mom, but she's a pain in the... love her though!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 12:29PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

My okra (and armenian cukes too) are not sprouting. Any suggestions? Do you folks start them on a wet paper towel first? Soak them overnight? What what??

Thanks, mm

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 3:27PM
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kathleen10(z9b AZ)

Below is a link to an AZ planting calender. Okra and sunflower can both be planted from March through August by seed or transplant. So you still have time to do your raised bed of them which sounds lovely.

I just sow my okra seed in the dirt, no prep. I'm wondering if yours is not germinating because it isn't staying moist? Or perhaps it's too moist? Or maybe the seeds are old? I know lots of people do soak their larger size seeds overnight before planting and feel that helps germination.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 2:32AM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Thanks kathleen. Maybe they are too moist. In the past I was a bit careless with the watering and thought maybe they did not sprout due to not enough water. Now it may be too much. Sounds like a Goldilocks syndrom!! ;-\ The seeds are fresh.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 8:06AM
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I had both okra and amaranth volunteer this spring around April 1st in the bed I had them in last summer. I hadn't even been watering. It may have been following a light rain or something but I think the main thing was soil temperature. Okra, sunflowers and amaranth are all heat lovers. They seem to sit in the ground and sulk until it warms up, then go crazy. Don't seem to need tons of water, either. Just damp/moist.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 1:20PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Soil temp in those beds is about 80* - that oughta do it. I'll back off on the water and sow a few more seeds tomorrow.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 1:57PM
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kathleen10(z9b AZ)

Yes, it could be too much moisture. I had a set of 4 leaved okra sprouts keel over in my first planting this spring. Damped off at the ground, shriveled stem and dropped over. I was being overly generous with water because I also had some marigold seed in with them and was trying to make sure it came up. Never did and the okra died. I'm on my second sowing in that pot which is just now coming up.

I lost my inground okra before they got to 6 leaves, damned rabbits dug under the chicken wire and ate them down to nothing :( They did the same with the 2 leaved sunflower sprouts I planned to go with my red okra - such a beautiful combo I would think but I'll never see it. But the rabbits didn't touch the Uzbekistan melon also in with the okra and sunflowers (planted from seed of a farmer's market melon of 2011). My other melons planted in a container are almost ready to spill up and over the supports (vines probably 5-6' now) and back to the ground, so I'm really hoping the little rabbit darlings will just leave them alone too. Kind of scary even thinking about letting anything outside of a pot or enclosure around here. Good luck on your second okra sowing.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 6:53PM
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Mary I sowed okra multiple times this year with very limited success. I finally resorted to the paper towel trick, and got very good success planting the seeds as soon as I saw them sprouting.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 10:34PM
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