October in the Sonoran Desert

North Scottsdale is on the northern most edge of the Sonoran Desert.  We are a little cooler and we get a little more rain then Phoenix and the southern regions of the Sonoran Desert.  We have two rainy seasons; violent summer monsoons and gentler longer winter rains.  We also have two growing seasons; spring-summer and my favorite fall.

October is an optimum month for planting agaves and yuccas.  These plants are dramatic accent plants.  They require minimum care after they are established.  Once mature Agave’s produce a spectacular flower stalk, depending on the species the plant may die after it blooms.

Two agaves to consider are:

Parry’s Agave is native to Arizona and the Chihuahuan desert which makes it hardier at low temperatures.  The leaves are distinctive gray green color and the summer flowers are yellow.

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A very common accent plant in desert gardens.

Octopus Agave is native to Northwest Mexico and a fast grower.  The leaves are light green.  This can be a large plant with leaves that curve gracefully from the bottom.  This is a spectacular plant.

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This is one of my favorites.

Three yuccas we like are:

Banana Yucca is native to the southwest and very hardy at low temperatures.  It is a low growing plant with a large head and grey green leaves.  In the spring it has white flower clusters on a tall stalk.

The flowers are spectacular.

Soaptree Yucca is native to the southwest and like Banana Yucca is very hardy at low temperatures.  It has thin pale green leaves with fine white filaments.  It also has a white flower clusters on a tall stalk.

Blue Yucca is one of the prettiest yuccas.  Native to the Chihuahuan Desert and hardy to 10 degrees.  It has a big head of stiff blue gray leaves, blooms in late spring to summer with tall stalks covers with white clusters of flowers.

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Another favorite.