Desert Landscaping Ideas - Cacti
When most of us Phoenicians think about desert landscaping ideas, what immediately comes to mind? The cactus! Cacti are perfect plants for our Arizona Desert and landscaping in Phoenix. Cacti are covered with spines, not leaves, and they have short roots, thus eliminating excess water evaporation. Cacti are very easy to maintain and require little attention. Their spines function as self-defense and keep most critters away. Because they also require little water, they are very eco-friendly and pocketbook friendly! Below are some common cacti that you might want to consider in your desert landscaping ideas.
Saguaro- The Saguaro is native to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. In fact, the Saguaro’s blossom is the official Wildflower for the State. The flower is about 3 inches wide, creamy-white, and has a yellow center. It blooms between May and June. The flowers are clustered near the end of branches and the blossoms open during cooler desert nights and close again by next midday. The cactus is tall, fluted, and has a columnar stem. Although it grows slowly, about an inch per year, it will reach an average height of 30 feet. It takes over 75 years for a Saguaro to develop a side arm! Most Saguaros have about 5. Their arms measure about 18 to 24 inches in diameter. Saguaros do not grow at all from cuttings and must be grown from seeds. Their biggest threat is many times the woodpecker.
Golden Barrel- The Golden Barrel is often called theMother-In-Law’s cushion! It is native toCentral Mexico. This cactus has becomeextremely popular in cultivation, but is actually very rare and endangered inthe wild. The Golden Barrel is shapedlike a spherical globe and grows to reach an average diameter of 2 to 3feet. Many times, the cactus producesplantlets that form a clump its side. This cactus is fast growing. Itribs are lined with yellow hooked spines and its top is covered with thickwhite wool. After about 20 years of age,the cactus produces small, yellow, cup-shaped flowers around its crown duringthe Summer. This cactus makes a greathouse plant.
Compass Barrel- The Compass Barrel is native to theSouthwestern US and Northern Mexico. Itgets its name because it grows slanted toward the South. Its Northern side is protected from the sunand thus grows faster than its Southern side. The Compass Barrel is also many times called the Fishhook Barrel becauseof its heavy, thick, hooked spine clusters. Its spines are yellow, reddish, pink and grey. This columnar cactus grown slowly, and reachesan average height of 2 to 4 feet and an average diameter of 18 to 30inches. Throughout May and June, theCompass Barrel will produce yellowish/ orange flowers. These flowers grow atop the cactus and havefruit with them. The fruit is green whenunripe, but will turn yellow and stay long after the flowers have dried up.
Mexican Fencepost- The Mexican Fencepost can actually create a fence when planted side by side! This cactus does not have any really big spines, making it relatively safe for pedestrian areas. This cactus is composed of columnar trunks that gain an average height of 12 feettall, with individual stems that grow to about 3 to 4 inches in diameter. In March, this cactus produces 1 inch green-white flowers which eventually turn into dark red fruit.
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