It's 105 degrees, muggy, the sun is blazing, you're hot, thirsty, and there is no end in sight.
Welcome to summer in the Arizona desert!
Well did you know that this is the time of year your tropical trees have been waiting for and it is also one
of the better time of years to plant if you had to pick one. Because of our great weather in southern Arizona
you can plant year round with great success. However if you are taking the summer off from your gardening
because of the heat, you are missing out on a great planting and growing opportunity.
You might be asking yourself, "why", but you just need to think about what tropical plants like and are
accustomed to in order to answer that question.
Tropical Fruiting Plants Need:
1. Warm-Hot Days
2. Warm-Hot Nights
3. Lots of Sunshine
6. Warm Fertile Organic Soil
7. Good drainage
But to be successful you do have to know a few things. Anytime you grow a plant that is not native to a particular area
certain conditions have to be addressed. That is what Tropica Mango Rare Fruit Nursery and this website is all about, "Being Successful".
The biggest challenges to growing tropical fruiting plants is not the hot weather but the brief winter. Since unfavorable
winter weather to tropical plants only presents its self during only a few hours over a few cold nights during a 4-6 week period from late December to January, the odds of growing successfully are on your side. The sooner you get over the assumption that Arizona is too hot to grow tropical fruiting plants and that nothing will grow in the desert, the sooner you will understand and be on your way to your dream garden. Don't believe me, just pick up a copy of Phoenix Home & Garden or visit the Phoenix Zoo or Maricopa County Extension Tropical Fruit Demonstration Garden, and take a look at the beautiful gardens they have created with tropical plants. If they can do it so can you.
Young plants of any kind from tropical to desert and in-between need help to get started, so don't just plant your new tree right out in the middle of the yard and expect it to survive the summer without help. Even the mighty Saguaro starts its life in the desert under various protection and even then has to overcome many obstacles. An interesting note about the Saguaro is that it produces about 40 million seeds in its life time, yet only a handful ever germinate and reach adulthood. Hmmm.
Tips to Successful Summer Planting
1. First thing first is to think shade, especially for the younger plants. Basically any plant that hasn't developed its bark or is bought in a 5 gallon or smaller container should have shade for the hotter part of the day. The exception to
this is Avocados that need all day shade no matter what size you get for around two full summers. A simple temporary shade structure made from 2-4 land scape poles and a strip of shade cloth or light colored cloth, or even a beach umbrella work great. It doesn't have to be elaborate or permanent and anything basically will make a tremendous difference on giving your young plants the chance to establish.
2. Second, don't be afraid to water daily for the first few days and then slowly back off to every other day, then to two - three times per week. Use a root stimulator like B-1 several times to help with shock.
3. Don't fertilize using any kind of commercial chemical fertilizer for at least one year. OK to use organics like Extreme Juice, liquid seaweed, fish emulsion, worm castings etc. after about 1-2 months or start of next growing season.
4. Plant during the early morning or early evening. This is easier on you and easier on the plants.
5. Water during the early morning hours only if possible and make sure you water slowly and deeply. Till you get a watering schedule down, water with as many gallons as the container the plant came in. If it came in a 5 gallon nursery container then give it 5 gallons of water during each watering, this isn't as much water as you think and doing less just jeopardizes your chances of success.
6. If you are container growing you just need to water till the water starts coming out the bottom and you will have to water 1 -2 times a day. Container growing is hard on any plant because the roots are exposed to the same temperature as the outside air, where if they were planted the roots would be 30-40 degrees cooler
7. Congratulations, wasn't that easy.