Connecting Greater Phoenix gardeners with information that helps put xeriscape principles into action.

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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Best Security for Phoenix Homes: Cacti!

Cactus as Home Security Poke me!  This Phoenix homeowner planted a border of three different cacti (Jumping Cholla, Bunny Ears, and Indian Fig) in his xeriscape to create his own living security system.  It’s not only visually interesting (different sizes, colors, and shapes), but it keeps unwanted guests from walking or cutting through the property. 

Try some well-placed cactus to create a barrier that keeps intruders, stray animals, and wildlife where you want them.  It’s like a silent (but painful) alarm!