Growing Shrubs in Arizona

Growing Shrubs in Arizona

If you are searching “Growing Shrubs in Arizona” you are probably looking for the types of shrubs that grow well in state of Arizona or you are wondering how to best use them for your landscape.  Well laid out designs utilize shrubs to provide a backdrop for featured plants and incorporate flowering shrubs as focal points.

Types of Shrubs To Plant

There are a lot of different kinds of shrubs to choose from. Some do better than others in Arizona and cope with the heat.  With the right attention and care most types of shrubs can be grown successfully in the state, so we have chosen to highlight a selection that is geared well for easier care.  These shrub options include incredibly vibrant coloring flowers and will provide excellent visual interest to your landscape.


Chuparosa Shrub ArizonaThe Chuparosa is a native to the desert and grows well in the heat of Arizona.  This plant grows well in full sun and when mature will grow to about 4 feet high and 4 feet wide.  The Chuparosa flowers bloom in the late winter to spring and vary in color from red to orange. The plant has great landscaping benefits as it doesn’t drop litter, is pool friendly, and attracts wildlife.

Firecracker Bush

Firecracker Bush Shrub ArizonaThe Firecracker Bush puts a bang in your landscape of vibrant summer color. The red orange flowers of this shrub grow well in full or partial sun. The shrub will grow to about 4 feet high and 4 feet wide with medium green foliage.  This option has no thorns and only has a low natural litter from pedals and leaves.  This bush also attracts wildlife with the brightly colored flowers and is sure to impress.

Flame Honeysuckle

Flame Honeysuckle Shrub ArizonaThe Flame Honeysuckle is a favorite with landscapers as it has incredibly vibrant color and incredible hardiness for cooler weather. This hardiness makes it a great option for the areas of Arizona which experience below freezing temperatures. The bright red-orange flowers emerge in summer and late fall and are great for attracting wildlife. The size of a full grown Flame Honeysuckle is about 3 feet high by 4 feet wide.

Langman’s Sage

Langman’s Sage Shrub ArizonaThe Langman’s Sage features incredibly pretty lavender flowers that grow dense on its branches. The plant grows well in both full and reflected sun and weathers cold well, down to 10°F. This great burst of color and great hardiness make it a favorite for areas of Arizona that experience colder weather. The shrub grows to about 5 feet high by 5 feet wide and blooms out in summer and fall. This shrub is pool friendly with very little natural litter.

Shrubby Senna

Shrubby Senna Shrub ArizonaThe Shrubby Senna enjoys full sun to grow in but also has incredible hardiness and can endure down to 10°F.  This shrub will grow to about 4 feet high and about 6 feet in width. Flowering occurs in summer and features incredibly vibrant yellow blooms.  This shrub does not have thorns and also attracts wildlife to your landscape.

Planting Your Shrubs

Once you have the shrubs picked out for your landscape at your local shrub nursery you just have to get the home and get them in the ground.  Most nurseries have shrub planting services or can help arrange professional landscaping companies to come and plant your shrubs. Many gardeners and property owners also enjoy doing this work themselves. Here is a quick over view of how to plant your shrub yourself.

Planning The Area

Shrubs tend to grow to about 4 or 5 feet wide.  Plan your landscape and garden for the full mature size of your shrubs and don’t get them too close to structures or other plants.

Dig The Holes

The hole should be dug about 2 or 3 times the width of the root ball. This allows the roots to spread out easier and grow properly. The depth of the hole should be the same as the height of the root ball.

Plant Your Shrub

Take the shrub out of the pot or burlap sack and inspect your root ball. Generally while growing in pots the roots will be compressed against the sides of the pot. If the shrub has its roots bound up too tightly you can use a knife or pruners to loosen and divide the roots. Once you have done this you can set the shrub in the hole so that the top of the root ball is level with the surrounding dirt. Return all of the soil which was in the hole and gently press the soil to help gets rid of air pockets.

Early Watering for Shrubs

This is one of the most important steps in planting new plants and shrubs. You need to water the plant immediately after you have the soil back in the ground around your new shrub. This minimizes the shock the plant experiences and helps ensure it is hydrated.

Add Mulch

Mulch helps plants grow all over the country and does so in Arizona. We tend to use it a little differently as we have a different kind of soil. In Arizona it is usually best to use mulch as a 2 inch layer on top of the soil rather than included in the soil. This layer helps retain water and makes the plant more drought resistant. Click here: For more information about Improving Clay Soil in Arizona.

Caring For Your Shrubs

Once your shrubs are in the ground you will want to continue to care for and protect your investment. Shrubs will provide amazing landscaping value and bursts of color when cared for properly. Follow the guidelines below or contact your local nursery for more information.


If you have chosen low water use desert shrubs you will be able to use less water and easier plant care. Watering should be done so that it covers a radius around the plant which extends about a foot wider than the canopy of the plant.

Shrub Watering Guide

There are four seasons with drastically different temperatures which affects how much water is appropriate. Many plants also hibernate in winter and require less water. We will outline watering for shrubs for all 4 seasons below.

Watering Shrubs in Arizona

  • Spring – Every 3 to 6 weeks
  • Summer – Every 2 to 4 weeks
  • Fall – Every 3 to 6 weeks
  • Winter – Every 5 to 7 weeks

All watering should be increased in times of extreme heat or extended drought. These guidelines are for desert adapted plants.  Shrubs that are not acclimated or native to the desert will require more frequent watering. Soil probes can be used to gauge when to water. If your probe only will penetrate about 4 inches of soil, it is time to water.

East Phoenix Valley Shrub Nursery

If you are looking for shrubs that are sure to thrive in the desert, choose those that were are grown here to begin with. A&P Nursery grows their stock right here in the valley, so you can bet that the plants are already accustomed to the heat, soil, and dry conditions that are naturally found in the Phoenix valley.

We have 4 locations that are in Mesa, Gilbert, and Queen Creek, Arizona. We have the shrubs, soil, tools, and expert staff which will make it easy to plan your landscape, get everything planted, and care for it properly. Contact us by phone today or stop by one of our locations.

Improving Clay Soil in Arizona

Improving Clay Soil in Arizona

If you are searching “improving clay soil” because you are trying to grow a better landscape or garden in Arizona, this article is for you. It is normal for low desert soils to have high clay content, high pH, and low organic material. This leads to soil which is very alkaline, or salty.

High clay content does help the soil retain nutrients and water yet can stare it of oxygen and makes digging holes more difficult. In contrast some areas have sandy soil which also contains low organic material and will not hold moisture.

Working With Mother Nature

Classifications of soil like clay, sand, or silt are a reference to the texture of the soil, which is just about impossible to change. Instead of trying to fight Mother Nature and her desert landscape Arizona gardeners can choose plants which are accustomed to the conditions and will grow well. Choosing plants for your garden that prefer the acidic and loose soils of the eastern United States usually ends with frustration and choosing replacement plants.

Organic Material & Arizona

While a lot of gardening guides recommend the enrichment of soil with lots of organic material which adds nutrients to the soil and improves water retention and penetration, it is not ideal for Arizona. Other regions benefit from such treatments but here the alkaline soils cause organic material to decompose much more rapidly which can actually harm your plants.

Where it should be used

Mulch can and should be used in Arizona landscapes, just not IN the soil. It is a great addition to top the layers of your soil which will provide temperature regulation, help retain moisture, and reduce the growth of weeds.

How it should be used

Mulch can be spread out so it extends to the same diameter of the branches in a layer which is about 2 to 3 inches deep. Avoid letting organic material making direct contact with stems or the trunks of trees. If plants are desired which prefer the acidic soils of the eastern United States it is best to grow them in large containers where the soil’s makeup can be closely monitored and adjusted.

Mulch for vegetable gardens & flower beds

Vegetables and flowers are exceptions to being potentially damaged by rapid decomposition of organic matter in your soil. You can incorporate the organic materials each year by adding 3 inches of it into the soil and mixing it thoroughly.

Types of Organic Material

There are a lot of various organic materials which can be used to help gardens in Arizona. Many of them we either already have on hand or can purchase inexpensively from local nurseries.


Mulch is a combination which includes clippings from yards and other common waste products from homes. This can include leaves, grass clippings, hay, scraps from the kitchen, straw, sawdust, shredded newspaper, woodchips, cardboard and more.


While leaves are a common ingredient in mulch they fall naturally around our yards and plants. Leaving them when they lay under your plants provides incredible nutrient value. As they naturally decompose on the surface of the soil the nutrients will be added to your soil slowly.


You can make your own or buy it as your local nursery. It is typically made from produce waste or leaves which helps provide moisture retention but doesn’t carry with it excessive nutrients.


While it can be very beneficial to your plants it must be from the right animals and aged properly. It should come from vegetable eating animals like cows, horses, sheep, chickens or rabbits and have been aged for 6 months to a year.

Shredded Bark

Shredded bark is a popular landscaping material which provides a layer of protection from the sun and helps hold in some moisture on incredibly hot days. You can purchase it as your local nursery or if you have had a tree removed you might have some on hand.

Phoenix Valley Nurseries

If you live in the Phoenix valley and want to make the most of your landscape and garden A&P Nursery is here to help. We grow our plants right here in the East Phoenix Valley and sell them at 4 locations. Our team of nursery staff and expert gardeners love to help Arizona residents learn about what grows best, how to make that happen, and help equip gardeners with the best knowledge and tools available. Call or visit one of our 4 locations in the East Valley for more information or to get your garden started.

Phoenix Valley Citrus Tree Easy Care Guide

Phoenix Valley Citrus Tree Easy Care Guide

If you are searching “Phoenix Valley Citrus Tree Easy Care Guide”, you are looking for a guide that will help you understand how to care for your citrus trees in the heat of the Phoenix Valley.  Growing citrus trees in the desert environments that are common in Phoenix, Mesa, Gilbert, Queen Creek, and other Phoenix Valley cities is different than other areas of the state and country.

Appropriate Watering is Key

Master gardeners in the state of Arizona explain that the biggest problem for home gardeners growing healthy citrus trees is watering. When you water your citrus trees the area on the ground that you water should be about a foot wider than the canopy of the tree. Generally this is about how far the root system extends and is where your tree is searching for the moisture and nutrients it needs.

How To Water

It is best to water slowly and deeply to help push salt build-up past your roots. Watering should be slow and long enough that the depth reaches about 2 feet into the soil around your tree. Newer trees should be watered deeper for the first 3 years after they are planted. It is important to water deeply yet allow your soil to dry before you water again.

New Tree Pruning

Newly planted trees do not produce fruit for the first number of years after you plant them. The fruit that does grow on newly planted, young trees should be removed. Suckers and dead branches should be the limit of your pruning with young fruit trees. Any shoots that are growing quickly and headed straight up are described as suckers and should be removed. They should be pruned below the bud union. This will depend on the type of rootstock you choose, and not the fruit tree variety you buy or have planted.

Citrus Tree Pruning Tips

Typically in the Phoenix Valley the best time to prune citrus trees is from about mid February until March. You just want to wait until there is zero chance that there will be a freeze.  It is best to get this done before it is warm and your tree starts to have new growth.

Provide Some Shade

Leaving enough branches and leaves to create a skirt around your tree is an important factor in growing healthy citrus trees in the Phoenix Valley. Leave enough new growth to provide shade for the trunk of your tree so it does not get sunburned. If your tree trunk gets too much sun it can affect how healthy your tree is, and how much fruit it can produce.  Even if you are watering properly too much sun will hold you back. Young trees can be covered with a shade cloth that helps block the intense afternoon sun.

Protecting The Tree

There will be branches, new growth, and parts of your trunk you will be unable to provide enough shade for with the canopy. For these areas you can cover them with a specially formulated paint which is made for trees and helps protect them from over exposure to sunlight. You can purchase this tree trunk paint at your local citrus tree nursery.

Fertilizing Citrus Trees

Newly planted citrus trees don’t need to be fertilized for the first few years. Nitrogen can be used once the tree has had a chance to establish itself and you see new growth. Trees that have been planted for 2 years or more need to be fertilized 3 times per year. A lot of Phoenix Valley citrus tree lovers choose to make it easy and just apply fertilizer on 3 easy to remember holidays: Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Labor Day.

Citrus Tree Problems & Solutions

When we plant our citrus trees we all have different visions of how we will use the fruit, but share a hope that there will be a lot of it and it will taste great!  Being able to pile fresh and healthy line, oranges, or lemons into a basket is the goal of every citrus tree owner. Making this a reality in the low desert of the Phoenix Valley is definitely possible with the right watering and application of fertilizer.

Fruit Dropping Too Early

Some fruit dropping from citrus trees is normal as they tend to set more fruit than can be carried to maturity. When a citrus tree drops an excessive amount it is typically a sign that there is a problem with fertilizing or watering.

Thick Fruit Rinds

It is fairly normal for young orange or grapefruit trees to have thick rinds here that protect the tree against out dry and hot climate. If gardeners continue to experience thick rinds in their mature trees it many times can point to excessive nitrogen fertilizer being used. While thick rinds might not be ideal it does not usually affect the taste of the fruit.

Curling Leaves

When your citrus tree leaves start curling inward from the edges or turning to a dull green you need to step up your watering.  It is best to remember slow and deep watering that completely saturates the soil about 2 to 3 feet deep and then letting the soil dry out. Avoid trying to “catch up” by over watering.

Splitting Fruit

When your fruit is reaching maturity and cracks it is a sign that watering wasn’t sufficient earlier on during development. Dry or hard rinds are caused by improper watering and cannot expand as fruit grows. It’s best to establish a watering schedule, and keep it with calendar reminders or automated watering systems.

Granulated or Dry Fruit

Some types of grafting will result in trees that are more sensitive to drought conditions. Adhering to a consistent watering schedule and fertilizer program will help avoid or alleviate these issues in subsequent years of growth.  When you know you have this challenge it is best to pick the fruit as soon as it is ripe.

Yellow or Brown Leaves

There are two types of scenarios when leaves can be an indication that something is wrong with your citrus tree. You will find that these conditions manifest themselves by either being just the tip of leaves, or entire leaves. Read more below to nail down which problem you might be having.

Yellow Leaves

When the whole of the leaves are turning yellow or pale green instead of just the tips you can guess that you have a problem with over-water or a nitrogen deficiency.  This can be corrected by adjusting your watering schedule to allow soil to dry between watering, and increasing your soil’s nitrogen content.

Yellow Leaf Tips

When you have leaves that have tips or edges that have yellow that fades into brown it is a sign that you have an accumulation of salt in the tree tissues. Desert water supply and soil has a high content of mineral  salts which can pose a challenge for citrus tree lovers. This problem is resolved by, you guessed it, watering correctly. When water is too frequent and shallow the salt tends to collect near roots and get pulled into the tree.

Citrus Tree Care Help

If you live in the Phoenix Valley and need help getting started, growing healthy fruit, or have questions the our team is there to help at 4 Phoenix Valley locations.  We grow our stock right here in the Phoenix area and know what it takes to plant, grow, and harvest the best fruit. Let us help you get the most out of your gardening by calling one of our stores, or just stop by.

Growing Hydrangea In Arizona

Growing Hydrangea In Arizona

Are you searching for “Growing Hydrangea In Arizona” because you want to add one of the most beautiful shrubs to your landscape? If so, A&P Nursery can help. Hydrangea, for the uninitiated gardener, is a genus of about 70 species of flowering plants. They are native to the Americas and the south and east of Asia. Generally the shrubs grow to about 3 feet to 9 feet tall, yet some species can grow as high as near 100 feet. While the greatest diversity of Hydrangea exists in Asia, we can still find, plant, and grow beautiful examples right here in Arizona, as long as we choose the right Hydrangea species.

Selecting The Right Hydrangea

Arizona covers USDA zones 5 through 10 and can get quite hot in the southwest area of the state. The Hydrangea is rated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a 3 through 9 in hardiness depending on the species. This means for the hotter areas of Arizona, like Phoenix, certain species are better and will grant the gardener with greater success. If you want to check which hardiness zone your zip code is in, please click here.

Heat Tolerant Hydrangea Species

If you want to choose a species that will work anywhere in Arizona you might choose from the following: Bigleaf Hydrangea, Oakleaf Hydrangea, or Smooth Hydrangea. All of these species are rated for the various climates that are found in Arizona and will thrive as long as their other needs are met.

Bigleaf Hydrangea

While being native to Japan the Bigleaf Hydrangea is a deciduous shrub which grows to about 7 feet tall by about 8 feet wide. They bloom out with flowers in the summer and autumn with large blue or pink heads of flowers. In landscaping people love it for being a boarder or planting it at the back of a flower bed. With its large size, and rich foliage it makes a great backdrop for your annuals or perennials.

Oakleaf Hydrangea

A native to the Americas this Hydrangea species grows wild in the Southeastern United States in places like Louisiana, Florida, North Carolina, and Tennessee. It is also a deciduous shrub that features white showy flower heads and is widely used in gardening and landscaping. This plant is common planted near large trees such as magnolias, oaks, hickory, and others.

Smooth Hydrangea

The Smooth Hydrangea is also known as the Sevenbark, or wild hydrangea and is native to the Eastern United States. It native area of growth stretches from southern New York all the way to the panhandle of Florida and out into the flatlands of Kansas and Oklahoma. They typically grow to about 10 feet tall when mature and bloom out with flowers around May and June. Smooth Hydrangea is used extensively as an ornamental landscaping plant and was even used medicinally by Native Americans.

Choosing Where To Plant

Depending on which of the species you chose to purchase you will need more, or less shade. Both the Smooth and Oakleaf Hydrangea prefer part shade. While the Bigleaf Hydrangea grows well with direct sunlight with afternoon shade that helps reduce wilting. If you are going to plant your Hydrangea in full sun in Arizona you might consider planting the Panicle Hydrangea, which can withstand the greatest sun of any Hydrangea species. Ultimately you should talk with your plant nursery specialist about your landscape layout and where your favorite hydrangea will grow best based on how tall your house is, and the landscape layout.

Preparing Soil For Hydrangeas

Arizona’s soil isn’t much like the native areas of the Hydrangea such as the Eastern United States or Asia.  Our desert environment tends to not have the organic matter needed to grow the Hydrangea successfully. The soil should be amended with a 1-2 inch layer of compost across the surface of the soil. Compost then should be worked into the top foot of soil. The addition of organic material helps provide the nutrients needed and also assists with drainage in clay or compacted soils.

How To Plant Your Hydrangea

While it is possible to plant Hydrangea year round the best time of year to plant them is when it is cooler. The fall, winter, and spring are preferable and the earlier the better to give the root system a chance to develop before the heat sets in for the summer.

Digging The Hole

Once the soil is amended, dig a hole which is the same height as the root ball and about 3 times the width. Hydrangea as a rule should be planted about 6 feet away from other plants so it will have room to mature.


Set your Hydrangea in the center of your hole and return the soil around the root ball. Once the dirt has been returned you will want to mound up a ring of soil around your root ball which is about 3 inches high. This mini moat will keep water near the root ball and help you avoid drought problems.

Mulch & Watering

A layer of mulch that is about 3 inches deep should be used around the base and the Hydrangea should be watered thoroughly. Soil should be kept moist yet not saturated consistently for the first months after you plant your Hydrangea.

Continuing Care Tips

Watering – Most of the time 1 inch of water a day is enough for the Hydrangea, yet in especially hot weather doubling that amount to 2 inches per day helps avoid wilt. The leaves of the Hydrangea are prone to leaf spot disease which is caused by watering their leaves, so try to keep all of your watering on the soil.

Fertilizing – The Hydrangea has a moderate fertilizer need and should be treated with a slow release dry fertilizer with a 10-10-10 ratio and 2 cups per every 100 square feet in the spring once the plant beings to green up and once again when they begin to flower.

Buying Your Hydrangea

If you live in the Phoenix area in cities like Gilbert, Queen Creek, or Mesa, Arizona you can visit one of our 4 convenient East Valley locations to get help choosing the species, location, and even choose to have professionals transport and plant your Hydrangea. We make gardening and landscaping easy and enjoyable for our customers with tailored advice and services for every gardening need.  Stop by or call one of our locations listed below and we will be happy to help you select and plant your Hydrangea in Arizona.