This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

September 22, 2013

Preparing a planting bed for Elephant Ears and iris

If you want a spectacular tropical look for your garden, even here in the desert, plant bulbs. Unfortunately, it isn't an instant effect. In fact, at first it looks kind'a sad. Like this planting bed for Elephant Ears and iris.

This area is triangular in shape and is about ten feet wide by about five feet at its widest point. And I have planted two tiny Elephant Ears and three iris bulbs, which I can barely see. This is a nice shady area that gets plenty of water, which these plants love.

Elephant Ears get to be about four feet tall and splay out even wider, so they need some space. Iris (which is really just a giant blooming grass) is pretty big, too, and it looks best with room to spread.

To do this, I moved away all of the gravel, removed the plastic that had been there since the house was built, and dumped a big bag of Miracle Grow Moisture Control potting soil. Then I dug down into the soil, which is kind'a soggy in this corner of the courtyard, and planted the Elephant Ears. The correct way to plant iris is very shallowly, so they they are just sitting gently on top of the potting soil. Then I moved the gravel back into place.

Elephant Ears in the backyard
And now I just have to wait. I have grown Elephant Ears and iris here at The Tropical Paradise before, and they do great. They love water! And I give them a nice drink of water-soluble plant food on the leaves and at the base of each plant.

Should be pretty impressive once it starts growing. But it's not an instant effect, as you can see. Will take a couple of months to start to really look like something. Once it gets growing, I will need to get in their and cut back severely, like I do in the backyard.
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