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

In Rare Form: Arizona Hedgehog Cactus

Arizona Hedgehog Cactus (Echinocereus arizonicus ss. arizonicus)I think it’s important to support the gardens in our Phoenix desert, so I belong to both the Boyce Thompson Arboretum and the Desert Botanical Garden.

Yes, they’re both lovely places to visit, especially in the spring when the desert goes bloom crazy.  But I’ll bet you didn’t know that one of the most important functions they perform is horticultural research.  The Arizona Hedgehog Cactus (Echinocereus arizonicus ss. arizonicus) is just one example of the research being done on our rare desert plants.

This species is found in just one small area of central Arizona.  But with a better understanding of this stunning cactus, researchers can begin to propagate them so they can one day make their way into your local nursery.  So…feed our gardens, save our cactus!


Bromeliads at the Desert Botanical Garden

Aechmea 'Blue Tango'

Licensed by and used courtesy of Creative Commons.

If you made it down to the Desert Botanical Garden this spring, you probably noticed the striking plants in the large containers near the entryway.  How could you not, with their electric blue and shocking salmon-colored blooms!

Well, I finally figured out what they were.  Their medium-green foliage is typical of a Bromeliad, so I did some searching and as best as I can figure (and remember), it’s an Aechmea ‘Blue Tango’ or possibly ‘Del Mar.’  Given the striking blue color, I’m leaning toward ‘Blue Tango.’

This is a tropical plant, and the cultivar was developed in Florida.  But since we’re in the furnace-blowing Phoenix desert, these do require some special care.  Put them in some bright indirect light, and give them lots of water.

Now here’s the cool part:  their stunning blooms will last for several months!  And, like an Agave, once they’re done blooming, they die.  But they do produce pups which you can pull from the parent plant and re-plant.

If you can coddle this guy through our dry desert heat (let’s call it atropical!), you will be amply rewarded with a profusion of color in the spring!


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Spring 2012 Plant Sale: Desert Botanical Garden

Desert Botanical Garden Plant SaleThe Desert Botanical Garden’s Spring Plant Sale is this weekend, March 17-18, 2012!

This is a great opportunity to get outside, pick up some xeriscape plants for your desert garden, get some gardening tips, and support the Garden.  The Desert Botanical Garden does not receive public funding, leases the land from the City of Phoenix, and relies on income from private donors, memberships, programs, and plant sales.

Better yet, become a member and you’ll get into the special Members Only preview on Friday.  Hours are:

  • Friday, March 16 (Members only) – 7:00am to 5:00pm
  • Saturday, March 17 – 7:00am to 5:00pm
  • Sunday, March 18 – 9:00am to 5:00pm

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