Tag Archives: Desert Pots

To Drip or Not to Drip – Gain Time and Beauty in your Desert Potted Garden!

Homeowners do have the best intentions. We create beautiful container gardens and promise ourselves we will water our pride and joy faithfully. Living here in the desert can mean watering daily. And in the severe heat, we have much of the year, when we miss a day; it is likely that our beautiful flowers are toast. Needing consistent watering is where adding a drip irrigation line for your potted garden would be beneficial.

90% of Plant Failure in Hot and Dry Climates is Due to Inappropriate Watering

If this sounds like you and you continually have your potted gardens dying, the most reliable way to keep your pots healthy is to water them automatically with a dedicated irrigation valve and timer.   When I first added a drip irrigation system to my home pots, I began saving an hour a day not having to hand water!

Two Methods to Add Irrigation to your Pots

Method 1: Dedicated Line for Pots on your existing system

Preferred: You have two options for automatically watering your pots. The preferred method is through an existing irrigation system. If your  timer can accommodate a new valve and run times, you can use it.  Pots typically are watered five to ten minutes a day during the hot periods of the year. You do need to put in a dedicated valve for your pots.

Not Recommended: If you are tempted to hook your pots up to your landscape line, they will be getting one to two hours twice a week or so. A run-time of an hour or more is excessive water, and you risk losing your plants and the pots from the abundant water and “erratic” watering schedule. This may mean you have to have another valve put in at the expense of $500 – $1200 when installed by a professional but well worth it when you think of the value of your time and materials you buy for your gardens that potentially die quickly.

The beauty of a good timer is that you can change the run time in one-minute intervals. The timer can set for 5 minutes and then adjusted by one-minute increments until your pots are getting the right amount of water. Additionally, if the water is running through the pots too fast, you can run it for a shorter period and more often during the day.

Method 2: Battery-Operated Timer

If you are unable to put a potline into your landscaping system, an alternative is to add a y-valve to a hose bib near the location of the pots and connect them to a simple battery-operated timer.  These timers are inexpensive and typically allow for many start times. A good timer will cost between $30, and $50 and the rest of the parts will run less than $100 depending on how many pots you have.

What I mean by a good timer is one that can be set at one-minute increments. Some of the less expensive models only have a spin dial that is limited to five to 30 minutes increments. This will never do for container gardens.

A battery-operated system is an excellent solution for vacation time too! You can set something up for pots clustered in a part-sun area and ensure they receive adequate water while you are away. I still recommend that you have someone check on them to make sure nothing has gone awry.

Just be sure to change the batteries twice a year and do not wait for them to run out. Daylight savings time is an excellent way to remember – and while you are at it, change the batteries in your smoke detectors too!

Adjustable Emittor on Stake is great for pots

An Adjustable Emittor on a Stake works perfectly in your pots

Regardless of which method you use, you want to use the right emitters for your pots. An adjustable emitter on a stake is my preferred method. The outpInline emittor on laser 1/4" lineut of water is in patterned like wheel spokes and is adjustable from about 4” – 10”. In larger pots, you would use two or three emitters, each off their own ¼” line.

Another option is an in-line emitters spaced every 6” on a 1/4” line. These lines will need a longer run time to water your pots thoroughly, but they do work well with gardens that require a slower water delivery. Test your system by running it for 5 to 10 minutes. After watering, the soil should be thoroughly wet, with some water draining out through the container’s drainage hole. If water floods out, you have run it too long; if no water comes out and the soil isn’t thoroughly moist, you need to run the system longer or change to more emitters. Most controllers allow you to run the system several times a day, which is particularly useful in our hot climate.

The best bet is to give it a try and adjust the timer and emitters to provide your pots with consistent water. Get this done and enjoy your garden oasis with the newfound time you have gained!

There is much more to be written about irrigation and watering your container gardens. Stay tuned as I write more posts. However, if you have a question now, please email me right away or comment in the section below.

Pots with winter flowers in blues, white and yellow

The end of a great season – with Drip Irrigation for Pots!


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Loving Volunteers in Our Garden

We’ve all had them. Plants that sprout up in places we never planted them. It’s not so hard to figure out — grass in the flower patch, dandelions in the lawn, clover in the vegetable garden. Most likely, in these cases, the plants would be called weeds.

Weeds – my definition of a weed is any plant that comes up in a place you don’t want it to grow. I probably learned that from another long-time gardener friend.

So even a popular plant such as an Oak tree that comes up in the middle of the groomed lawn of your front yard could be called a weed.

Now, if you want to grow an Oak tree, once the ‘weed’ has its second set of leaves, you can transplant it to a pot and later to the desired location in your yard. In that case, it is a perfect volunteer plant.

Seeds are spread by the wind, dropped by birds, carried in the compost pile or merely fall from plants last season. These unintended plants either add chores or whimsy to your garden. Even unplanned, a volunteer can add color, food or structure to your garden.

A Pain in the Neck

Large planting of purple Ruellia

Ruellia brittoniana – Mexican Petunias

I prefer focusing on the positive side of life, but I experienced the invasion of a plant I once put into a pot. Ruellia brittoniana ‘Purple Showers’ or Mexican Petunia.

I was drawn by the purple color of the flowers and the three-foot height that gave stature to the pot. Before I knew it, Ruellia plants were coming up all around the pot. We quickly removed them as they were unwanted.

But next season, there were Ruellia everywhere, and the neighboring beds became root bound with the deeply rooted plant. They already had taken hold of the soil and were miserable to deal with.

(Side note: I have recently heard that some new cultivars have been developed that are showing to be far less invasive. Look for Ruellia MayanTM)

The Positive Side of Volunteers

Self-Seeding Annual Flowers

Many volunteers are in the category of self-seeding annuals. These volunteer Alyssum is a familiar example and were a delightful and fragrant surprise one winter in Tucson.

The containers on the wall were full of the little flowers. Watered by irrigation, the runoff would drain onto the ground on the outside of the walled patio. Lit by a western sun, the seeds readily germinated and provided casual passersby a special show.

Volunteers Add Whimsy to your Garden

In this narrow garden of an urban townhome, the owner created a postage stamp garden where she could go out, feed the birds and enjoy nature and the peace it provided while living a hectic city life.

Volunteer flowers have popped up around the pots grabbing for the water provided by the pot irrigation runoff.

This creates a woodland retreat – all that is needed is a comfy chair.

How you look upon volunteer plants is up to you. They can be seen as a treasure or a gift from nature – such as a volunteer watermelon that springs up from the seed of an unharvested fruit of the previous season.

Once I had a volunteer snapdragon sprout in my hanging, succulent wreath. What a surprise! It stayed small due to the limited root space and low light. But there it was!


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A New Year Resolution for your Desert Garden

Most of us attempt to make New Year resolutions or reflect on the successes of the past year and think about what we want for the next year. In our gardens, we can make many different kinds of resolutions such as: 

~ to work consistently in my garden, deadheading, planting and fertilizing 

~ to add a water feature to my garden 

~ to create a new garden 

~ to add a new patio or shade area to my garden 

~ to add and care for a sustainable garden with veggies & herbs 

Etc, etc, etc!!! 

So often as I speak with desert transplants and ask them how they use their patio, the answer is that they don’t. We have chosen to live in the beautiful desert climate and the winter months in the valley is the perfect time to be outside and take in all that you have done to create a beautiful environment around you. Enjoy this easy resolution for many years to come!!

My suggestion for your New Year’s Resolution is to

Resolve to spend more time in your garden (or on your patio) enjoying your oasis in the desert

Happy New Year!



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Coloring a Shady Entry for Your Holiday Potted Garden

Do you have a front door that is crying for some easy-care color? This pot arrangement might just do the trick, especially for your holiday potted garden. For instant gratification, as the nurseries should be spilling over with Cyclamen, Geraniums and Bacopa in the greenhouse.  

Choose a pot that is at least 18” in diameter. I prefer you go up another 2-4” but see what you like that you want to use for the holidays. Fill the bottom of the pot with your favorite potting soil (after making sure you have a good drainage hole and that you cover it with a screen or coffee filter) and add some time-released fertilizer. 

Decide if the pot will be seen just from one side or all around and plant in the following order back to front, or center out.  

The Thriller

First, take the Butterfly Iris out of its nursery container and be sure to loosen up the roots as they are usually packed. A Fortnight lily will work just as well but as the plant matures, the leaves become much broader and I prefer the “grassy” appearance of the Iris. Plant the Iris in the back or center of the pot. 

The Filler

Look for Cyclamen or Geraniums in gallon containers that are already eight inches tall. Decide if you want all red or a mixture of red and white. If you buy gallon plants, you will need three. If quart or 4” plants, buy a total of 5. 

Plant the Cyclamen (if planting front to back you only may need three) closely around the Iris. 

The Spiller

Variegated Vinca (either gallon or six packs is what you will most likely find.) is a ground cover but works especially well in pots as a trailing plant. You will need to remove stubborn stems that insist on growing vertically but soon you will have a nice cascading effect for your pot.  

Another option for warmer areas is Bacopa (Bridal’s Wreath). I recommend you get the equivalent of two 1-gallon plants. This would be three 4” or on the off chance you find the Vinca in six-paks, get one but just plant three individual plants.  

Then take your Vinca or Bacopa, keeping the trailers on the outside of the pot and fill in between the Cyclamen.  

Add soil as needed to snug up and the plants and water in well. 


These plants do nicely with a strong hose spray to keep problems of powdery mildew and insects at bay. Also, spray with a water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks for nice growth. Cyclamen do not like their feet continually wet so be sure to not overwater. 

Place the pot outside your front door if it is in the shade or on a shady covered patio in front of your window to enjoy indoors and out! It would look very nice on a stand or table to raise it closer to eye level. You will find you only need to water the pot every few days as all of these plants have low to moderate water needs once established. 

If you feel in a decorating mood, you can add some holiday décor on stakes to the pot, put some glass beads around the base with some blue gray river rock or add a couple more smaller pots with some white or red cyclamen in them. If you find you have any dirt showing around your plants, add some sphagnum moss to cover it and dress the pot up more. 

Each of these plants are perennials however, if it gets cold in your area, the Bacopa may need to be treated as an annual. I have Bacopa growing in my carport yard year-round and some has lasted for three years now! The cyclamen will stop flowering when it gets hot but you can plant something else around it in the summer and then spice up the fertilizer in the fall to get it to start flowering again. Eventually your iris will need to be divided – probably in two years. Then you can add it to another pot. 

If you are having a holiday party, feel free to bring the pot in but be sure to get it back outside soon. You don’t want to leave it inside more than a day.  

Enjoy! Keep this pot going and it will work for Valentine’s Day also! 

Happy Holidays!!

ps. It’s not too late to get a copy of my book! Click on my picture above and it will take you to the link.

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Getting Potted for the Holidays (potted GARDENS that is!!)

Life in the desert is grand. Having the benefit of year-round gardening, we can plant as little or as much as we want. As the holidays are upon us, with a bit of imagination, we can add to our home’s celebration by sprucing up our container gardens to our heart’s content. Another excuse to ‘play’ outside in our gorgeous weather! 

You have many options to add to the holiday luster in your pots. Let’s explore some ideas, and you can mix and match as you please. 

Seasonal plantings that last all winter – perfect for the holidays

Whether you lean towards permanent plantings in your pots such as shrubs or trees or if you mix it up with perennials or only have annuals, you can plant your holiday color scheme now and your gardens with the right care will last until the heat of the early summer returns. 

For your Sun Plantings, add Red and White Annuals such as: 

  • Petunias 
  • Million Bells 
  • Stock 
  • Dianthus – try the newer variety of Amazon, a supertall Dianthus) 
  • Geraniums (part shade too) 
  • Diaiscia 
  • Nemesia 
  • Snapdragons (Whites and Burgundy – no red) 
  • Alyssum 
  • Lobelia 
  • Pansies and Viola (Whites and Burgundy – no red) 

Shade Plantings – Red and White Annuals: 

  • Primrose and Cyclamen are your best bets in full shade. Filtered sun is an excellent place for geraniums.  
  • Paper Whites, Poinsettias and Amaryllis are great nursery plants that you can use in pots during the holidays. If there is a dip in temperatures to 40° or below, you will want to bring them inside.

Advice for flower shopping:

Grab a cart at the nursery and an empty flat or carton and place your selections on the flat and then step back and look at it. Look at it hard and long and be sure it sits right with you. A 24” pot with one central planting will need approximately fourteen (14) “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. 

 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.

Permanent plantings 

Your existing shrubs or trees can stand alone as holiday décor. Heavenly bamboo leaves will turn red. Red-tipped Photinia’s new growth is red so if you fertilize it now, you might force it into growth resulting in those showy leaves just in time for the holidays.

Pyracantha and English Holly have red berries showing off right in time for your parties. Burgundy cordyline is another plant that can bring holiday cheer when decorated with other plants or objects.

Speaking of objects, take some of your decorations and embellish the plants. Use small holiday lights, bows, garlands, ornaments, pine cones or anything that catches your eye as you ‘deck the halls!’  

A Perfect Gift for the Holidays for any Gardener

A few members of our online community told me how they love my book, Getting Potted in the Desert. Get Marylee's Book, Getting Potted in the Desert Today!They have given the book as a gift to family members, the person who watered their plants while they were on vacation, their hair stylist who loves to garden and their friend who insists she has a black thumb. I’ve also had designers and realtors give my book to clients who are new to the desert or just are avid gardeners! I am blown away by the interest that continues for my book.

You still have time to order your copy or pick up a copy in Tucson or Albuquerque. Click on this link for the information. And Thank YOU. There is no better praise for an author than another book sells.

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Using Color in Your Desert Potted Garden

Desert Patio Garden with Blues and Yellows

Receive these free tips in your Inbox – Fill out the box in the column to the right and receive Marylee’s Top Tips to Desert Potted Garden Success!


Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder… sometimes 

Color is the most prominent element in a garden design and typically the first one considered. Color is what draws us into a garden and often is what gets us out of the house onto our patio.  

When driving down the boulevard and you approach a bed of flowers, what draws your eye in? Color!! What I have experienced is that the first image of that bed is described as pretty. But when stopped in traffic and I have the time to really look at the garden, something clicks in my mind that this is just not working. What first is viewed as fun and exciting, can become exhausting when you sit with your coffee or cocktail ready to relax after a long day. 


Too many colors makes a potted garden too busy

Why doesn’t it work? Too many colors in one garden! 

Purple Osteospernums, Red Dianthus, Blue Pansies, White Allysum, and more – Oh My!

In choosing color combinations, we know what we like when we see it. However, sometimes we think a color combination will work when we choose the flower colors at the nursery but once they are home and planted, we wonder – what did I do wrong? 

We tend to buy what we like in the store. The rainbow of colors and shades attracts our attention and unless we have a ‘color agenda’ we don’t put the brakes on and try to coordinate our selections.

What not to do in your pots – Yellow Violas, Orange/Burgundy & White Snaps, Purple, Purple/White, Burgundy, Orange Pansies, White Allysum

Take a Moment

Step back to plan your potted gardens.  

I always suggest putting the plants that will go in one pot together on your shopping cart and then step back to look at them. Look long and hard. Stare at your combinations and see if it works as you view it with your critical eye. 

Ahhhh, such a difference. Yellow in Calendula, Violas and Nemesia, Blue in Pansies and White in Kale. With a Burgundy/Yellow Center Diascia.

Combining Color in your Desert Pots this Winter 

  1. Start with two colors that you also use in the room inside your home. Choose the room that also has a view of your pots.
  2. Add a contrasting color if you would like.

For instance, if your home is decorated in earth tones of rustic oranges, browns and green, begin with an orange. Green will enter the picture with leaves and stems. Then add either purple or yellow depending on how exciting or vibrant you want your color combination to be. 

Another example – if your room is decorated in primary colors, choose something like the blue and yellow and perhaps add red as shown in the lead photo above. 

The key is to put your plants together and if you like them – try it!  

The beauty of using potted gardens is that you can easily change your mind, try new combinations or take out one plant and substitute another without breaking the bank. Keep your money out of the compost heap – Happy Potting! … Marylee

I hope you stay in touch with me!

Feel free to send me your questions.

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Ahhh – October in your Potted Desert Garden

Hanging Baskets, Pots and Beds Create a Living Dividerin a Desert Potted Garden

If you have not realized it by now, I love potted desert gardens. They are so versatile in there uses, flexible in their placement and plantings and the bottom line – you don’t have to dig in the ground!!… Marylee Pangman, Potted Desert Expert

Stay on top of your garden tasks to keep your potted desert garden thriving 365 days a year with October’s list!

October's Potted Desert Garden Checklist

Don’t Build Walls – Create outdoor ‘rooms’ with potted desert gardens

Many patios are like bowling alleys. Many yards have no delineated areas. Some homeowners will build ramadas, patios, gazeboes and outdoor kitchens. All of these add to the hardscape of your property and in our desert homes – the HEAT!! 

I came to the realization years ago that you can create magic out of these scenarios with pots.  

The Walkway to a Secluded Side Yard Patio at a Desert Home

In my first Tucson home, we had a long walkway down the side of the house to the backyard. Not wanting to waste any space and shaded by the neighbor’s oleanders, we created sitting areas down this path and separated it with a trellis (made out of concrete reinforcing metal screening) and pots with vines (including a Tombstone Rose, Jasmine, and Tangerine Beauty CrossVine) that grew up the angled trellis.

Large Planters create a barrier at a Tucson restaurant patio

One of my restaurant client’s patio faced a parking lot. We created side by side concrete planters filled with Robelini Palms and Mexican Lime trees, underplanted with cascading flowers and herbs – to be used by the chef. 

Eding a Driveway with more than a railing

Red Geraniums accompanied by grey Dusty Miller and Red Yucca make this an easy care driveway screen

Above is a cool idea of a roundabout driveway that has a drop off if you don’t make the corner! The contractor put up a standard double railing to warn the drivers, but it looked pretty industrial. The planters are 48” wireframe hayracks with coco-fiber liners. Then we welded on decorative braces to assist in the planters’ stability. 

So you see, there are a myriad of ways you can use pots to serve as a function in your home. They allow you to work with a smaller budget and to have tremendous flexibility as we gardeners change our minds – as we tend to do.  🙂

Happy Potting!


 Before you go shopping for your winter flowers,

Follow this Link


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4 Ways to Prepare for Cooler Temperatures in Your Desert Garden

Late Summer Potted Garden with Crepe Myrtle

September brings more mornings with temperatures in the low seventies and a nice breeze to your desert garden. What a relief! This always entices me to do some work outside – not only in the garden but also in my swinging hammock chair on my iPad. Nice!!!

On one of these mornings, I thought about how we really don’t use our desert patios as much as we could. I think we get so caught up in the heat and “It’s just too hot!” and then the winter cold which does happen now and then. We don’t have a habit developed to go out and just be.

I created this list of ideas as your temperatures allow you to venture outside, at least in the early morning hours:

Cozy Nook to enjoy a cup of teaIdea #1: Drink your morning beverage outside and contemplate even cooler days to come. What are your plans? Is there anything different you want to do in your pots this winter?

How about an “at home” holiday?

Don’t have a place that is comfy and cozy to do this? Take a weekend to relax, turn off the phones, spend time in the pool or curl up with a good book – what you might do if you were at a resort. With a little imagination, creativity and a couple of comfortable chairs, you can create a wonderful cozy seating area without bricks and mortar to enjoy on your ‘staycation.”

But before you go outside, get some healthy air inside! This is Idea #2. There are many reasons to open the windows – first and foremost – it feels and smells good!! Here are some other reasons to get those windows open!

  • It will help rid your home of toxic fumes.
  • It’s free – turn off your air conditioning for a couple hours and let your home soak up those cool breezes.
  • Your indoor plants will love you for it!
  • You will hear the birds and other sounds of nature.
  • Experts say that opening windows will improve your overall health.

And while we are talking about feeling good, consider Idea #3

Messy Patio with out of date potsReducing some of the clutter that might have accumulated in your yard over the past year(s). If you are not using some pots – donate them to a community or school garden. Old soil and fertilizer, broken tools, things you have collected over time and are tired of or you just don’t want/need them anymore – find new homes for them by donating them and toss what is of no value. I promise you that if you clean out the clutter, it will have many of the same effects as opening your windows!

Finally. Idea #4 – consider adding a new accent pot or piece of art to your favorite area. A new, cooler season might inspire you to treat yourself to something bright and cheery.Accent Pot

Trust me – it will continue to cool down so that you want to spend more time outside. Now is the time to dream a little and make some fun decisions about what’s next for your garden.

Additional Tips for Your September Desert Garden

Capture Rainwater-

And use it to water plants under your covered areas. Micro nutrients in the rain are great for potted plants!

Speaking of rain, too often desert homeowners make the mistake in thinking that a monsoon storm means they can cut back on irrigation or hand watering for their pots, gardens and other plants.

Desert Rain – Points to consider:

  1. It has to rain at least one (1) inch in order to saturate the root ball of your plants (get yourself a rain gauge so you know how much rain your yard has received)
  2. Pots under a Ramada, tree or overhang do not receive enough. if any rain.
  3. A deep soaking rain (more than 1 inch) received over a long time period (several hours) will only replace one day’s worth of pot watering.
  4. Pots in full sun with flowers and other ‘soft’ plants are accustomed to daily watering.
  5. A missed watering can cause your plants to get stressed and this invites problems including pest invasion and disease.
  6. If you have not received much rain, water your potted cacti/succulents now ~ Deeply!

What to Plant when your pots are just ugly:

Nurseries will have a fresh selection of annuals to replace those that have petered out. Zinnias, Marigolds, Vinca, and even Snapdragons, Dianthus and Petunias are all good choices that will carry your through October and the later three, all the way through winter with the right care.

Rose September Cut Back: 

This applies to all Hybrid Teas, Mini’s and Floribunda’s.

  1. Remove the top 1/3 of your roses and dead canes
  2. Selectively prune your climbers doing a lesser cut back.
  3. Clean up all the dead/fallen leaves, old mulch and debris.
  4. Reapply bark mulch around the roses.

Fertilize Citrus: 

  1. Check to see if you have fertilizer for your citrus trees.
  2. Fertilize citrus according to the instructions on the package this month.
  3. Water in deeply.
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Designing with a King in Your Potted Garden

This summer I have been showing off the “Silver King” Euonymus, a member of the Boxleaf family and very container-friendly and perfect for your potted garden. If you missed the previous column on the “King”, click here to check it out.

Designing for the “King” with a Court of Odd Fellows 

Too many colors in our potted garden will create havoc or confusion in our weary, heat-laden minds. Let’s return to this month’s theme of the rule of three and limit our choice in color combinations to odd numbers, and in this case the magic 3! 

 The picture above, featuring our plant of the month, the ‘Silver King’ Euonymus was already established in the pot. The silvery white and green glossy leaves stands out in our combination but the green is static in our combination and we will not count it as one of the three colors. With the white, I added strong contrasting colors including purple of Nierembergia ‘Purple Robe’ with the almost black leaf of the Black Pearl Ornamental pepper plant. The white is repeated in white ‘Profusion’ Zinnias as the bookends of the potted garden design.  

You can substitute purple Scaevola or Fan Flower for the Nierembergia. This will hold up better in the desert full sun. You can also use white Vinca for your white. You could also substitute yellow for the white – with either the Profusion Zinnias or Purslane. 

 Shopping for your Potted Garden Plants

As I always recommend, group your plants on a cart at the nursery and step back from them to see if you like them. You will be tempted to buy many other plants and flowers for your potted garden but keep in mind the heat and keep it simple. You can always go back another day! 



Happy Potting! … Marylee



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Sultry August in Your Desert Potted Garden

 The ‘OMG’ Month in Your Desert Potted Garden

It’s hot. It’s humid. Ugh. You don’t need me to tell you that. August is the month to take a break from many desert potted garden chores. The largest challenges are managing the weather and the needs of your garden.

You have the list here. Right click on it and print it out. Here are a few extra tips.

Hmmm… that’s funny – Tips!

Pot with top-heavy Bougainvillea is a high danger of blowing over.

i.e., Tipping pots

Heavy rains with blustery winds can endanger tall pots with narrow bases. When a storm is coming, be sure to

  • lasso them in
  • tuck them into corners or
  • put other, more solid structures around them.



Tip #2

Irrigation and Watering Your Pots During the Rains

Do not assume because it rains that you can stop watering your pots. Here’s some information from various weather sources:

  • Don’t forget to water your plants, even when it rains. … Even in wet seasons, watering helps, because roots need air to function, and a “cats and dogs” rain temporarily drives all the air out of the ground.

A ‘cats and dogs’ rain certainly applies to monsoon rains.

  • An inch of water should penetrate the ground at least 6 to 15 inches, depending on the soil type. Clay soils are denser, and water doesn’t penetrate as deeply as in sandy soils. Ideal garden soil will be moist 12 inches after an inch of rain.

I can hear you now – oh good! The local weather said we had an inch of rain! Did you have an inch where you live? Do you have a rain gauge near your pots? Or better yet, in one of your pots? Often we get a 1/4′ which is absolutely not enough for your summer flowers.

  • Soil on the dry side will take longer to absorb enough water to rehydrate itself. So that inch of rain is not going to do enough good to allow you to skip a day.
  • And speaking of skipping a day, if it rains that inch or more today, don’t assume it is good for tomorrow. Thirsty summer flowers usually need water daily so don’t skip. Check the soil. If it remains cloudy, you may not need to water on Day Two.

Don’t assume. Check your plants daily or you may be in for a very sad surprise.

Tip #3

Plant new plants in your desert potted garden only if you find good ones

Sometimes in August, the supply of new flowers is disappointing. If you have some plants in your pots that are looking really sad, pull them out and groom the bare soil spots.

Visit your favorite nursery and look for thriving Pentas, Summer Snaps (Angelonia), or healthy young petunias. If you don’t see something you really like, Wait! Talk to the staff and see when they think some fresh plants will be in. You want things that will be gorgeous throughout the fall.

If you have a copy of my book, check out the section on shoulder season plants. If not, click on the image to order one today!

Happy Monsooning! …. Marylee

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Getting Potted In
The De
sert Book

Marylee Pangman shares her wealth of information gained from 20 + years creating successful Potted Gardens in the Desert