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

May 24, 2014

The eastern slopes of The Outback

The area that is south of where the artificial turf ends, I call The Outback. This is an area that gets some brutal afternoon sun in the summer, so delicate plants can't live there. I know, I've planted a lot of things there that are now in *plant heaven*. So, here is what seems to be doing well:

• Agaves. The nice silver-blue one there on the left I got from a friend in Los Angeles many years ago. It's an agave Parryi, and unlike what most people imagine an agave to be, it has stayed very small, and pups very little. It's really a miniature plant, so this is a giant miniature. Is that like a jumbo shrimp? At this size, they are very expensive, so the ones I've purchased have been smaller. Speaking of miniature agaves, there are several here. The green ones with the yellow stripes I got at Home Depot. I've seen plenty of them around the neighborhood, and they also don't become giants. Same with the green ones, which were given to me by a plant expert friend.

• Sansevieria. On each side of the Moai head are two different types of sansevieria, also from the same plant expert friend. The most common type of sansevieria is a common house plant, which was called *Mother-In-Law's Tongue* when I was a kid, but is nowadays called *Snake Plant*.

• Euphorbia. That's the stick-looking plant in the foreground. To be precise, it's an Euphorbia pedilanthus macrocarpus. It's still getting established, but there is a lot of new growth at the base, so I have high hopes.

The palm tree just right of center back there is a Phoenix rupicola reclinata cross that was developed by a grower here in Phoenix. Very slow growing, nice green color, doesn't mind the heat. It's also another *big miniature* that will never become a telephone pole in the yard, like many palm trees do. Yeah, you guessed it, expensive.

The bluish-green plant that kind'a looks like a fern is a cycad, a dioon edule, var. palma sola. Miniature, expensive, available only from certain growers in Phoenix. Behind it is cape honeysuckle bush. Luckily, these are cheap, you can get them at Home Depot, they grow fast, and they love the heat. I've had cape honeysuckle here for many years. They bloom in winter, but the foliage looks great all year.

The real test of this area will be this summer. If these plants do well, they will flourish. If not, well, I'll keep trying!
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