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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - March 12, 2009

From: Apache Jct, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Xeriscapes, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Low-maintenance native plants for Arizona
Answered by: Nina Hawkins

QUESTION:

Will you please suggest some Native plants that can be left without care for the summer and survive - other than cactus?

ANSWER:

The plants below are all native to Pinal and/or Maricopa counties and can tolerate dry conditions.  Since it sounds like you won't be around during the summer, I included a few plants that will bloom in some of the cooler months or that have a long bloom period.

Chilopsis linearis (desert willow)

Baileya multiradiata (desert marigold)

Abronia villosa (desert sand verbena)

Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida (Dakota mock vervain)

Hibiscus coulteri (desert rosemallow)

Melampodium leucanthum (plains blackfoot)

Tecoma stans (yellow trumpetbush)

Cleome isomeris (bladderpod spiderflower)

Also take a look at this previous question that lists native grasses and low growing shrubs for erosion control in Arizona.  These plants will have an excellent shot at surviving your summers unattended.  You can also check out our Recommended Species page for Arizona or search our Native Plant Database for specific plant characteristics such as bloom time, light requirements or habit (herb, shrub, tree, etc.) using the 'combination search' feature.

Any initial watering you do to help your new plants get established should be deep and infrequent to encourage the roots to grow farther down into the soil.  Deep roots will better equip them to withstand the drought and heat of summer.

 


Chilopsis linearis

Baileya multiradiata

Abronia villosa

Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida

Hibiscus coulteri

Melampodium leucanthum

Tecoma stans

Cleome isomeris

 

 

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