Do you plan before you go shopping for your potted desert garden?

Marylee choosing flowers for her container gardens

Reduce the Overwhelm

When you first arrive at the nursery, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. Start before you get in the car with these first two tips:

Know your pots. (Sizes, color, and sun/shade)

Know your desired color scheme

Shop at a local nursery!

I’d like to take a moment during this hot month to talk about economic responsibility. So stay inside your air-conditioned home and consider what you can do when shopping for your garden.

You have most likely read why shopping locally is right for your community’s economy. The bottom line is that for every dollar spent when shopping at a locally owned store, $.68 stays in your town where shopping at a chain or big box store, only $.43 remains.

When you begin to calculate this on a million dollars of sales, it adds up. $250,000 for every Million! 25% is Huge.

More benefits when you shop locally.

There are times when I recommend shopping for price. A big box nursery can offer a plant for less money than your local nursery. There are plants they will carry that come from the same grower as those your local nursery uses. They may be the same plant, int the same size container, but the big box will win at price.

IF you buy this plant soon after it arrives at the big box, and the price is reasonable, I would say go for it. Saving some money on more generic plants will allow you to buy more at the local store along with some specialty plants that you may not spend your money on!

However, if the plants have been around for a while in the big box, you will want to examine the plant’s health and make sure it has been kept nicely moist, and in the type of sun it needs to thrive. A cheap weak plant is not worth any amount of money you might save.

Here are a few reasons that may strike that chord to keep you shopping locally.

A local nursery will only bring in the plant species that will thrive in your area.

I have often seen a big box bring in plants in the wrong season or too early to plant or those that don’t belong in the climate where I live.

Additionally, local nurseries will offer a plethora of native plants for your area. Best suited to your garden, they will recommend plants that accomplish your personal goals. From easy-care to perennial bloomers to winter warriors, they will know what you need.

Local nurseries will often grow their plants, mostly annuals.

And they will buy their plants from local growers which the big boxes will not use. better-adjusted

Local nurseries grow plants in the same conditions where they will live their entire lives. Less transplant shock, no adjustment period to the local climate, and even less transport time will contribute to the plant’s health and, therefore, your garden’s and your happiness.

Plants will be cared for with personal attention.

A local nursery employs knowledgeable staff and trains them to increase their knowledge of plants, care, and local conditions. The team will make sure the plants are watered as soon as they arrive. They will then be placed in the optimal location for their immediate health. They will be checked for pests and disease and cared for if there is a problem.

Plants waiting for their new home will be pruned to maximize their growth and blooming capabilities. They will be repotted when they outgrow their pots.

What you as a consumer gain

Your local nursery staff understands the microclimates and growing conditions where you live. Even within a state, there can be many climates. In Arizona, for instance, there are low and mid-level deserts and 9,000’ mountains with significant snow and much colder temperatures. Not only will they ask where you live and know the best plants for your home, but they will also ask if you have any specific challenges at your home site due to waterways, slopes, or rocky areas.

Do yourself and your neighbor a favor. Shop smart and shop Local. And while you are at it – go out to eat at a local restaurant!!

Now – Back at the Nursery!

Grab a cart at the nursery and an empty flat or carton.

Place your selections on the flat and then step back and look at it.

Stare at it hard and long, and be sure it sits right with you.

If something seems just not right, take out one plant. Look at color combinations, textures, and heights. Often you have too many small-flowered plants with small leaves, and that can complicate the arrangement.

A 24” pot with one central planting will need approximately fourteen (14-17) “4” inch” plants. If you select any gallon plants, they can replace 3-4 smaller ones. I urge you to use 4” plants and not six-packs. (Ask me why!)

Important: When you go shopping and bring your plants home, water them in well and plant as soon as possible – as in the same day. If you have to wait until the next morning, place them in the shade to rest until the morning.

To Your Success

Desert Potted Garden in the Winter

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  1. Sandy on at

    Are you in Tucson?

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