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Q&AZ: How can my garden survive Phoenix's extreme heat?

This Valley's extreme heat is definitely not the ideal time to begin a gardening project, but there are things you can do to prepare for strong, long-lasting greens come planting season.

ThroughKJZZ's Q&AZ reporting project, a listener asked: What should a beginner gardener know when trying to grow in Phoenix heat?

Plants will survive best here if they were born and raised in Arizona or are native to the Sonoran Desert region, according to Michael Chamberland, the assistant agent in urban horticulture at University of Arizona. Be aware that plants purchased from nurseries may be sourced from another state and haven't built up the same heat tolerance.

Michael Chamberland recommends waiting to start your garden until the fall. This allows the plants as long as possible to build up their strength to withstand the next coming summer. 

“Because the summer time is just inherently stressful for the majority of plants, the plants that can withstand it best are plants that are healthy, they have a good root system, and being watered properly,” he said. 

Chamberland said to research your specific plants and their watering needs. Generally, Arizona plants need to be watered less frequently but more deeply than you would think.  

“We see people water their plants too often, but not enough, and not getting that water down deep into the soil to support a good root system for the plant," he said.

Though the Arizona heat can make gardening a challenge, with the right tools, a beautiful and lush garden can become a reality. 

Arizona gardening resources

Desert Botanicals Gardens has a list of heat tolerant plants.

Submit questions when starting your garden to the UA's Maricopa County Master Gardeners.

Landscaping for color with desert-adapted plants from the city of Chandler.

Andrea Barrios was an intern at KJZZ in 2023.