Southwestern Deserts

November, 2005
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Devil's River
The compact shrub called devil's river (Zexmenia hispida) is a fast grower, reaching its mature size of 3 feet by 3 feet in one growing season. It blooms with orangish yellow daisylike flowers from spring through fall. Highly tolerant of reflected heat, it's a good choice for a splash of color near sidewalks, driveways, and walls. Cut it back in early spring before new growth starts. Its only drawback: rabbits are known to browse it.

Clever Gardening Technique

Water the Soil, Not the Plant
Don't regularly sprinkle water on plant foliage from above with a hose or sprinkler system. Wet foliage provides an environment conducive to fungal disease. Desert water is high in salts, and as the water evaporates, it leaves behind salt residue. Finally, it's more efficient to apply water on the soil, where the roots are waiting to absorb it. An occasional overhead watering to remove dust or wash away aphids is okay.

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