Arizona Garden: What to Plant in the Winter

December 2, 2014

Fall is a wonderful time to plant a new garden, or freshen up your current flower bed. Many of the plants you expect to plant during spring throughout much of the country actually do best when planted during fall here in Arizona. With our help, you can have your plants looking healthy and vibrant all through the winter!

The Basics

For the novice gardener, in addition to seeds (or plants) you’ll need a few basic gardening tools, including:

  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Gloves
  • Pruning Shears
  • Potting mix
  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch

And for nights when there’s a frost warning, have a frost blanket on hand to completely cover up the plants to prevent them from freezing. Though these plants are very hardy (can withstand cold temperatures), you don’t want to stress them out too much. “Better safe than sorry”, as they say!

Soil preparation, irrigation, and sunlight requirements vary depending on the species of plant. We’ve provided some tips for each type of plant below. Come visit an associate in the lawn and garden department at Shoppers Supply if you have additional questions! Our horticulture enthusiasts are here to help you start and maintain a beautiful garden in the winter, and every season, of the year.

Now that you have the basics, you’re ready to decide what to plant! What do you want out of your home garden? Some herbs to add to recipes? Colorful flowers to spruce up your landscape? Or maybe you’d like to save some money at the grocery store by planting your own fresh veggies? You’ve got plenty of options when it comes to customizing your garden. Why not try a little bit of each?

Read on for more on what to plant in the winter in Arizona.

Herbs

Herbs are easy to grow and don’t take a lot of time to maintain. They also smell great! Most herbs prefer full access to the sun, good air circulation, and well-drained soil. You can plant them in a small plot outside or put them in a flower pot. They’re versatile plants that will add some flavor to your meals. Some even have medicinal uses!

Potting Mix at Shoppers Supply

Here are a few hearty herbs you can grow this time of year:

  • Cilantro
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Dill
  • Mint

Basil also tends to be a very popular herb. If you’re thinking of having a fresh basil plant so you can add some flavor to your Italian dishes, keep it indoors for winter! Basil doesn’t like the cold as much as other herbs. You can move it outside or transplant it once temperatures increase. 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit is best for basil.

Plant your herbs in a spot that gets full access to the sun. Herbs need to have as much sun as possible.

Flowers

Imagine looking out the kitchen window and seeing beautiful wildflowers blooming… This could definitely become a reality next spring if you plant now! When it comes to choosing flowers for your home garden, you’re only limited by your own creativity. Annuals, perennials, wildflowers, and bulbs all offer many unique species of plants.

Annuals

If you’re new to the world of horticulture, you may want to ease into it with annuals. Annuals are a small commitment compared to perennials. Their life cycle lasts only one year and includes four phases: seed, bloom, produce seeds, and die. This means they’ll need to be replanted next year, unless the seeds they produce find another place to germinate. Feel free to experiment with different kinds to see what you like! Annuals bloom for a long time, so you’ll get to enjoy pretty colors through winter and spring.

Popular winter annuals include:

  • Geraniums
  • Petunia
  • Snapdragon
  • Lobelia
  • Pansy
  • Wildflowers such as Desert Marigold, California Poppy, or Bluebell

Soil preparation is crucial to the health of your annuals. Soil should be loose, fertile, and well-drained. You’ll need to get a good fertilizer and mulch! In addition, digging in some peat moss or compost will help develop organic matter, which allows the plants to grow and spread deep roots.

Perennials

Perennials can last several years (depending on the species) and require more maintenance than annuals. They provide lovely seasonal color for your home garden. As with annuals, prepare the soil with a good fertilizer.

Popular winter perennials include:

  • Iris
  • Blackfoot Daisy
  • Carnation
  • Globe Mallow
  • Hollyhock
  • Ruellia

Use pruning shears to trim off dead leaves. This will keep your flowers looking nice and maintain their good health for years to come.

Bulbs

For the seasoned gardener (or the ambitious newbie!) bulbs are another great option for the garden this time of year. They’ll need lots of sunlight, well-drained soil, and plenty of water! Mulch is also a must, as is fertilizer made specifically for bulbs.

Popular bulbs to plant right now include:

  • Tulip
  • Hyacinth
  • Daffodil
  • Paperwhite Narcissus
  • Muscari

Depending on the weather, they will bloom from January to March. Add some variety to your winter garden with bulbs!

Vegetables

Nowadays many people are opting for a home garden as an alternative to rising prices and pesticides on supermarket produce. Right now is a great time to plant them too! Many can tolerate frost and some actually germinate in cold soil.

Speaking of soil, make sure yours is deep, well-drained, and has high organic matter content. It’s a good idea to get the soil tested if you’re going to be a heavy duty vegetable gardener! You should also group plants according to what kind of feeder they are. The term “feeder” is used to describe the amount of nutrients the plant extracts from the soil while it grows. Veggies such as lettuce and broccoli are heavy feeders while carrots and peas are light feeders.

Here are some great veggies to plant right now:

  • Artichokes
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Lettuce
  • Peas
  • Green beans

Plant some veggie seeds and you’ll have healthy, delicious side dishes for your meals all winter long.

Ready to Get Started?

When you’re ready to grow a green thumb, stop by Shoppers Supply to find everything you need for a beautiful home garden. Our friendly staff will advise you on how to keep your plants healthy through the winter so they bloom nicely for spring! For the best selection of tools, irrigation supplies, and garden maintenance products for your Arizona winter garden, head to the nearest Shoppers Supply today.