Water Your Cactus…or Not?

Drought Kills Desert PlantsI was talking the other day with someone who wanted to buy a cactus.  “Do I have to water it?”  When I told him yes, he asked why.  I mean, the plants in the desert don’t get watered unless it rains…why do I have to water it?

Great question!  True, the plants in the desert don’t rely on us to water them.  They’ve been well-adapted to our desert climate, and take what rain they get.  But what happens in a drought?

Drought-stressed plants not only lack adequate water, they become vulnerable to diseases and pests.  And they sometimes die as a result, like this Ocotillo.  That’s why, in many Phoenix landscapes, we even supplement our native and desert-adapted xeriscape plants with water.

So when you’re planning your landscape, consider whether you want to take your chances (and a few rain dances) on a “natural” desert landscape…you’ll want to consider neighborhood and zoning restrictions, too.  Or whether you want to provide enough water to ensure a healthy desert garden.


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