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

August 21, 2014

Companion plants for palms and cycads

When I first started planting miniature palms and cycads, they were pretty low to the ground. But as they grew, and got taller (being, uh, big miniatures), the space around them started to look a little empty. And after a while I found that I really didn't want to just stuff more palms and cycads in, so I started experimenting with companion plants.

It's near the end of August here in the Phoenix, Arizona area, so my lesson here is that if you want to plant aloes, snake plants, etc., they do best with shade. This is right up against the east-facing wall of my house, so it only gets morning sun, and then in the afternoon, it's in complete shade. I would show you how these plants looked on the other side of the yard, but they all died. Maybe a few are hanging on, as I'm still experimenting.

The really good news about these little plants is that they are easy to plant, and many of them create *pups*, so you get more. Whenever I see a pup (and I don't mean Macintosh, the good little wiener dog), I trim it off and put it in one of the pots I have there, or I find a likely place for it and plant it directly in the ground. We've had some rain lately, and it's overcast, so now is the perfect time to plant some pups.

Of course, there are way too many plants in this spot for all of them to grow up, so as certain plants start to crowd, I move them. This is surprisingly easy with the little agaves and aloes.

The true test of this part of the garden will be this winter. Many of these types of plants really hate cold temperatures, and it does get below freezing in the wee hours of January mornings here in the desert. But, I'm experimenting mostly. I'll let you know how it goes!
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