Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Suppport the plant database you love!

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
5 ratings

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

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

How to have year round color in the garden in Fort Worth
October 23, 2010 - Hello, I'm sending an SOS for a miracle! Since planting is the best now during the fall or so I've been told for North Texas Native Perennials, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. My beautifully mat...
view the full question and answer

Problems with chile pequin from Pflugerville TX
July 19, 2012 - Hello there! I have a question about my chile pequin (Capsicum annuum L.) plant. I purchased it last year from the Wildflower Center Fall Plant Sale. It stayed in a pot until three months ago when I p...
view the full question and answer

Seasonal tasks for Big Red Sage and Tall Aster in Marble Falls TX
January 09, 2012 - I transplanted some Big Red Sage and Tall Aster into my raised bed garden in early summer this year. They've sent up lots of rosettes. Do I need to protect them from freezing in winter? Do I need to ...
view the full question and answer

Pet Friendly Groundcovers for CA
January 23, 2016 - I am looking for pet friendly, groundcover plants in San Jose, CA.
view the full question and answer

Are dusty millers perennial in Dubuque, IA?
April 24, 2009 - I have dusty millers in my front yard. Last fall I did nothing with them as I wasn't sure if they will return or not. Do the dusty millers continue to grow year after year and should I cut them dow...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.