Growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area. With a wiener dog.

October 25, 2011

The secret to growing tropical plants in Arizona

Growing tropical plants in the Phoenix, Arizona, area is possible, as you can see by how well my cannas are doing this October. But there is a lot going on behind the scenes! Just buying Canna Tropicannas at Home Depot and plopping them in the ground won't give this effect. They will live, but they will struggle. If your cannas don't have the same lush foliage that these do, here are some tricks.

• Plant them in a lot of good potting soil. I use Miracle Grow Moisture Control®, which has both fertilizer and polymer moisture crystals in it. Then I add more fertilizer and more moisture crystals. If you have already planted yours, dig them up, dig a nice deep hole filled with lots of potting soil, and replant them. They will grow back like wildfire so don't feel bad about cutting all of the leaves off to the base.

• Give them a LOT of water. They can even have their *feet wet*. Behind this stand of cannas there are several water sprayers, that come on every day at 2:30 pm for twenty minutes.

• Feed them. Be generous with the plant food. I don't really even keep track - I just give them a lot, all of the time. I use both dry plant food and and Miracle Grow through a hose-end sprayer. I also stick Jobes® indoor plant food spikes in the ground at the base.

• Trim them back hard. I snoop around, looking for leaves that look a little frayed, and then cut them as close to the ground as I can. And as soon as the flowers have finished, I cut the stalk to the ground.

You really can't over-water or over-feed tropical plants here. Give them what they need!
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