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New homeowner, new to the valley, new (to me) plants

Posted by bagendek Arizona (My Page) on
Sun, Jan 5, 14 at 18:34

Hi everyone. I am new to home ownership and after growing up in the White Mountains of Arizona, I now own my first home in Gilbert and keeping things alive in the desert is all new to me. I would like to maintain my landscape myself, but I am not sure what kind of general maintenance my plants need and how often. If anyone can identify the plants I have and let me know any tips to care for them, I'd greatly appreciate it!

Plant 1: Bougainvillea

I have 6 of these. One on a trellis, two medium sized ones, and three smaller ones. The smaller ones got hit by the frost a couple of weeks ago and I'm assuming I will need to prune the dead parts. Should I wait until after the last freeze? How far back should I cut it?

Plant 2: Lantana

This one was hit the hardest by the freeze. Same questions about cutting it back - when and how far?

Plant 3: ???

I'm not sure what this is, and I've been pulling up those small plants/weeds around this one since the picture was taken. Any tips on controlling these weeds?

Plant 4: ???

This had little purple flowers on it until the freeze. My realtor identified it and told me it would grow into a hedge eventually (there are a couple of them under a window) but I didn't take note of what it was at the time.

Plant 5:

Again, is it safe to cut the dead parts off? Should I do it now or later?

Plant 6:

I have 4 or 5 of these grassy bushes against a wall in the back yard. Should I do anything with them this spring?

Thank you for any and all help and guidance! If you have any good materials for me to reference, I'd love to take a look at any of your recommendations.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: New homeowner, new to the valley, new (to me) plants

Don't trim out dead from frost until you know we are done with freezing temps. That could be all the way in Feb.
For me that's March

RE: New homeowner, new to the valley, new (to me) plants

Get the Sunset Western Garden book (new or used)

It's a great resource for what grows in Phoenix.

With ALL those plants, wait until mid-March or so to prune off the dead stuff. When you see fresh growth coming out, you'll know where to prune. For the shrubby plants, cut just above the last new shoot for maximum regrowth size, or cut it back harder to make it bushier.

Lantana and bougainvillia can both be pruned back severely and recover well. That purple-flowered thing is "Mexican Petunia" ... you couldn't kill it if you mowed it to the ground and stomped on it.

The Yuccas - trim off the frosted bits of the leaves.

RE: New homeowner, new to the valley, new (to me) plants

I agree with the others, wait until our short frost season is over before trimming any damaged growth. For the bougies, just wait until they start re-growing and cut above a nice fresh green shoot.

Unknown #3 is a white flowered trailing lantana (L. montevidiensis). I'd use a hula hoe to keep those weeds under control. It's basically a scuffle hoe that "shaves" the weeds off at ground level. Do it on a warm sunny afternoon and they'll croak right away. Plus it's kind of fun. Getting some type of mulch around the lantana will help control weed seedlings too.

Unkonw #4 is a Ruellia, sometimes call Mexican petunia. They bloom spring through autumn. You can trim them if you like, or leave them be. Again, I'd wait until after the short frost season is over.

Keep us posted! Happy gardening!

RE: New homeowner, new to the valley, new (to me) plants

Most cities in the valley offer free landscaping and irrigation classes to their residents. Check with your water conservation office or visit their web page to see what topics are available this spring. It should help you keep your landscape looking its best.

Many (but not all) are listed at the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: free landscape classes

RE: New homeowner, new to the valley, new (to me) plants

aztreelvr -- just came across this thread. Fantastic website link, thank you for the info!

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