Are your summer flowers in your desert pots looking really sad right now? With a little effort, many can be pruned back to encourage new growth and prolific blooms for the next couple of months while we wait for the cooling temperatures of late October and November. Flowers such as vinca, pentas, Rudbeckia (the Black Eyed Susan family), summer snaps, (Angelonia,) Gallardia and salvias will all respond very well to pruning back to new growth. Zinnias and if you still have them, marigolds, if in poor shape, will need to be pulled.
Foliage plants such as coleus and sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas) will also benefit from a pruning. If you have sweet potato vine, and it is wilting during the day regardless of how often you water, it is just hot! A good hair cut will help the root system succeed in supplying the water needed to keep the plant happy all day long.
Depending on the amount of “empty” space in the soil due to removal of low life plants, you can decide if the other plants will fill in or if you need to add a few things. A trip to your local nursery will provide you with some possibilities of good plants to keep you growing through the rest of our long summer.
Be sure you continue to water your pots deeply during the varying degree days of the valley desert. It is even more important at this time of year to feed your flowering plants as the pots have been depleted of their nutrients from the constant watering they receive. Use a water soluble fertilizer as we have previously discussed in our articles
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Marylee is the founder and former owner of Tucson’s The Contained Gardener. With more than 15 years of successfully designing and growing potted gardens in the desert’s challenging and oftentimes harsh climate, Marylee has become known as the Desert’s Potted Garden Expert. Marylee is available for digital consultations and you can always email her with comments and questions. Follow The Potted Desert on Facebook!