beginners gardening

The Problems Associated With Desert Gardening

When we think of gardens, we tend to think of lush green lawns and lots of flowers and foliage. Many gardens do look like this, but when you live in a desert area making the most of your garden is a whole different task altogether.

Desert gardening has two big problems – dry heat and lack of rain. Some areas of the world have no problem with rainfall, and even during dry times of the year they receive more rain than desert areas.

So when we are thinking about doing desert gardening, we need to think about identifying plants which are hardy, and which do not require moist conditions to thrive in.

Lawn Or No Lawn?

You might think that desert gardening doesn’t allow room for a lawn of any kind, but you would be wrong.

It is quite possible to have a lawn but it needs extra care to make sure it thrives throughout the year. Native grasses are ideal – the turf you would commonly find in gardens in areas used to lots of rainfall won’t be suitable for desert gardening.

Buffalo grass is commonly used in dry areas, although there are other varieties you can use equally well. Ask your local garden center for advice on which type of native grass is best suited to the area you live in.

Think Alkaline

Desert gardening requires a little more knowledge to make a real success of it. Desert areas tend to be alkaline in nature, so the trick to creating a garden which will look good all year round is to concentrate on growing plants which thrive in soil that has a high alkaline content.

Good compost will also help the development of your plants, and give them the nourishment they need.

Which Plants Are Ideal For Dry Areas?

The obvious answer everyone will come up with is cacti. There are many different varieties, and they do have the advantage of having that in built security factor. If you plant them underneath your windows you won’t have much of a problem with intruders.

Not all desert gardening has to do with prickly plants however. Plants such as the Arizona poppy, the yucca and the ocotillo with its bright red flowers can brighten up a desert garden enormously.

Desert gardening isn’t the best way – or the easiest – for a beginning gardener to get started, but with some perseverance and research you can soon be the proud owner of some truly attractive and blooming plants and flowers.


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Gardening Tip #11

Some plants require re-potting for optimum growth but there are others that resent having their roots disturbed. Or their roots system may be small enough that they don't require re-potting. One way to check if your plant needs re-potting is to turn it upside down. Tap the pot to release the plant and check its roots. If roots are all you see, then re-pot. Sometimes the roots will come out of the pot. You should either cut them off or re-pot the plant.