Growing Gardenias In Arizona

Would you like to grow gardenias in Arizona?  A lot of people love the plant but seem to struggle in our uniquely hot and arid environment.  This post will give you insight into how to do it.

Choosing Gardenia | Plant LocationSoil Prep
Watering | When To Plant 

Gardenia shrubs are hugely popular with gardeners because of their wonderfully fragrant flowers and glossy, bright, evergreen foliage which is attractive all year long. The gardenia is a heat loving shrub and will grow very well when planted and cared for properly. Growing gardenias in Arizona is one of the more successful landscaping shrubs you can choose. It takes preparation and choosing the right place in your landscape to put the gardenia and knowing how to care for it.

Choosing The Right Gardenia

The gardenia can play different roles in your garden and landscape. They grow to different widths and heights, so considering what role your want it to play will help you with choosing the right gardenia for your yard. All gardenias feature the wonderful fragrant flowers, however there can be differences between when they will bloom and how big their mature size will be.

If you want the gardenia to be the crowning jewel of your flora you will need to plan plenty of room for a larger variant to stretch out and grow. Some varieties of gardenia only mature to be a low, tidy plant that is well used to edge a flower bed or walkway. The Everblooming Gardenia only matures to 4 feet high and can be a wonderful boarder or walkway plant. In contrast the Cape Jasimine Gardenia can grow to a massive 8 feet wide, and just as tall.

The Right Shrub In the Right Zone

Plants are divided into the geographical zones that they grow best in. This is usually printed on the plant label or container. If you are unsure of either the zone you live in, or what zone a particular plant grows in, as your nursery professional.

Arizona is a large state that covers a few different zones based on geography and topography. Knowing your zone will help you choose the right types for your garden. Most gardenias grow well in zone 9, which covers a large portion of Southern Arizona. Northern Arizona includes zones 8, 7, 6, and in very small areas zone 5. Choose plants that are rated for your area and you will see greater success.

Some professional landscapers or passionate gardeners choose a variety of gardenias that have different bloom times. This means that there are more days per year where the landscape will have that wonderful aroma. When done properly, you can have blooming gardenia all the way from May through August.

Choosing The Right Place To Plant

Even when you have chosen the right shrub for your zone, where your plant it in your landscape can affect how it will grow. There are three main considerations for choosing the right place to plant your gardenia. These are which zone you are in, the soil quality, controlling moisture content, and how much light the plant will receive.

Knowing The Soil

The pH balance of the soil is particularly important for the successful growing of the gardenia. You will want the pH to be between 5.0 and 6.5. This is considered a slight acidic soil which might not be compatible with other plants in your landscape, or be naturally present in your native soil. Soil testing kits should be used in preparation for the planting of gardenias to measure the pH of the soil and to know if or how much adjustment needs to be done. If your pH is too high you can add sulfur to your soil. There are different types of sulfur available at local nurseries. Soil pH should be done months in advance if possible. If the soil is excessively sandy or filled with clay deposits you will want to amend the soil with plenty of organic compost. Be sure to test the soil where you going to plant your gardenia, since the quality of soil varies throughout your yard, especially near the foundation of homes.

Knowing The Moisture

Well draining soil and consistent watering is absolutely necessary for the gardenia. These are not drought tolerant shrubs and will not happily wait for the next monsoon season for their water. Soaking the soil isn’t an option either; soggy roots can cause serious problems with gardenias. The compost you add to the soil will help retain the water needed while allowing the rest of the water to drain away.

Setting up soaking hoses around the gardenias that are on timers will help take the guess work out of keeping track of watering the gardenia. This means one inch of water per week.  Clearly Arizona doesn’t always get that from rain, so be prepared to make sure they get just what they need, and don’t overwater.

Knowing The Daily Light

While the gardenia thrives in heat and light in Arizona full sun all day isn’t a good idea. It is best to protect the gardenia from the intense heat and afternoon direct sunlight. This means choosing sites that are on the north or east facing exposures. That will help get the morning light while only allowing some midday sunlight and be protected for the afternoon.

When To Plant The Gardenia

The best time to plant the gardenia is when temperatures are moderate. This means in the fall or spring. When planting in higher elevations or Northern Arizona it is best to plant the gardenia in the spring so the root system will be developed before the fall and colder days.

Gardenias like to be planted a little high compared to the surface of your soil. This means digging a hole as wide and deep as the root ball. However make sure you firmly pack in around 4 inches of soil at the bottom of the hole before you place the plant in the ground. Place the soil from the hole you dug back in around the root ball and cover the section that stands above the soil. Complete the planting by adding a layer of mulch compost. Make sure that it isn’t placed touching the stem of your gardenia. Apply the mulch every year to help prevent harsh temperatures or weeds from affecting your gardenia.

Gardenia Nurseries In The East Phoenix Valley

A&P Nursery has 4 locations that can help you with all of your gardening needs. From the large yard to small urban farming type set ups we have the plants, the tools, the knowledge to help get you going and keep your gardening thriving!

Tips for Fertilizing Arizona Plants

Tips for Fertilizing Arizona Plants


If you’re searching for tips for fertilizing Arizona plants, this is the article for you.  The fertilizing process is an important part of gardening as it keeps trees and plants healthier and ensures they are getting all of the nutrients required for a stimulated growth.

Fertilizers on this Page:

Primary Fertilizer Nutrients

Fertilizer mixes are created with three main nutrients or ingredients which act as a plant based multi-vitamin.  These are nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous:

N = Nitrogen Photosynthesis, which is the process that plants use for converting sunshine into food. Nitrogen is used by plants to assist them in producing chlorophyll, which is the main chemical in the process of photosynthesis.

K = Potassium, which assists the plant in manufacturing and digesting food.

P = Phosphorous, which assists in supporting and stimulating stronger development of blossoms, fruits, stems and roots.

Various types of fertilizers are available. Prior to making a decision on the fertilizer, you should determine the type of plants, soil, trees or shrubs that will need to be fertilized. Keep in mind that with fertilizing, more is not always better, as fertilizing too much can lead to plants being damaged.

Fertilizer Varieties Available

When you need help with answering any fertilizing questions or advice on products, your AP Nursery specialists are ready and willing to help. Below are some of the fertilizing products offered:

Planting Mix & MulchA&P Moisture Mulch

This is a 2 cubic foot bag of composted mulch and nutrients. When purchased with plants it provides a 6 month warranty for plants.

Fruit Tree Citrus Tree Pecan Tree FoodBedding Plant Food

This is a great option when you’re preparing a new flower bed or even after you’ve planted your bedding plants.  Good for year round use you can get either a 4 lbs or 15 lbs bag.  This product has a 7-22-8 analysis.

Fruit Tree Citrus Tree Pecan Tree FoodFruit, Citrus and Pecan Tree Food

This fertilizer is great for used in spring, summer, and fall and helps your nut and fruit trees grow.  Available in either 4 lbs or 20 lbs bags this product has a 19-10-5 analysis.

Plant Food FertilizerGardener’s Special

A favorite with gardeners who grow vegetable gardens, flower beds, and roses it can be used all year long or after planting. Available in either 4 lbs or 15 lbs bags this product has a 11-5-11 analysis.

Green Maker Lawn FertilizerGreen Maker

If you want to get the green lush lawn that makes a house feel like a home this product is perfect. It is specifically formulated for alkaline soils that features slow release nitrogen and is high in iron which grows the lushest green lawns. It is available in 30 lbs bags and consists for 18-06 + 10% sulfur.

New Lawn StarterNew Lawn Starter

Starting your lawn in the heat takes the right planning and products.  This product is formulated to help your new lawn grow faster, stronger, and be greener.  It promotes better root systems and is designed for use when prepping soil, seeding, sodding, or sprigging. Available in a variety of sizes this product has a 9-13-7 analysis.

Palm Tree FoodPalm Tree Food

Palm trees might not be native to Arizona but they have become one of the icons for many homes and business parks.  This palm food is designed to keep your palm trees looking great during hot summer months.  Available in 20 lbs bags it has a 12-8-4 analysis.

Root Stimulator & Plant Starter SolutionRoot Stimulator

When transplanting trees or shrubs it can shock the plant.  Root stimulator helps ease relocation or even established plants which are stressed.  Available in 1 pint, 1 quart, and 1 gallon sizes this product has a 4-10-3 analysis.

Tree & Shrub FoodTree & Shrub Food

If you want to have the best looking oak tree, evergreens, or palm trees in the valley this is the product to use.  Good for use in spring, summer, and fall this product is designed to give your majestic trees everything they need to stay looking regal. Available in 4 lbs or 20 lbs bags it has a 19-8-10 analysis.

Lawn FertilizerWeed-Out Lawn Fertilizer

If your lawn has weeds and could use a boost for growing more lush and green Weed-Out Fertilizer is a great option. Not only does it help your lawn grow greener and more thick but it helps kill the weeds growing along side the blades. Available in either 20 lbs or 40 lbs bags this product is best used when it is under 95°F on weeds that have broad leaves.


Fall fertilizer for your lawn

Keep your lawn cut to about two or three inches to produce healthy grass roots. By cutting the grass too low, you will cause them to die quicker and it can result in patches being left.

  • During fertilizing, ensure you should use the 3-1-2 ratio (law to food).
  • Spread annual rye grass seeds on your lawn in the warmer season for adding color throughout winter, while reseeding the lawn on thinner areas.
  • Apply ½ inch of compost for the top-dressing to help build the root system for your grass.
  • In areas that are compacted, ensure you aerate the lawn using an aerator machine.
  • Ensure your lawn is watered during the fall, especially in the event a dry month occurs.


Pomegranate Tree Fertilizing: When it comes to fertilizing pomegranate, using a fertilizer that contains ammonium sulfate is a good choice. Use roughly 1/3 cup and sprinkle it on the ground near the roots to help add nutrients to the soil which the tree will require for healthy growth. During the first year of growth, you should do this about three times. The best months for fertilizing are Feb. May, and Sept.

Cherry Tree Fertilizing: If your cherry tree has consistently grown more than eight inches, fertilizing is not required. However, if the growth rate is under eight inches, you should use some fertilizer rich in nitrogen. Start by measuring the tree 12 inches from the ground and apply 1/8thlb. of nitrogen per inch of the trunk’s diameter.

Fig Tree Fertilizing: There are many times when a fig tree is planted directly into the ground, there’s no need for fertilizing. However, there is an exception if the soil is sandy. If you are not sure if the soil you tree is planted in contains the nutrients needed, you can take a sample and have it tested. If it is determined the soil is low in nutrients, you should get ½ lb. of nitrogen and split it equally over three treatments. You should apply nitrogen in the growing months of May, June, July.

Indoor Succulents Fertilizing: Similar to other type of plants, succulents experience the most growth during spring and summer months. You should ensure that your succulents are fertilized three to four times between spring and summer. Using the standard houseplant type fertilizer will work, but ensure that you use half the recommended amount when being used on succulent plants. You do not need to fertilizer the indoor succulent during the fall and winter months, because the growth either slows or fully stops.

Fertilizer For Sale In East Valley

Your landscape needs a helping hand in Arizona and if you live in the East Valley of Phoenix A&P Nursery has all of the fertilizers you will need to take your yard from average to all the rage. Stop by and see one of our garden experts to help choose the right fertilizers for your needs.

Growing Peaches In Arizona

Growing Peaches In Arizona

Having fresh peaches from your own backyard is a delicious way to save on your yearly grocery bill. They are great fresh and can be dried and canned. Even jams made with peaches can be a great way to make the most of growing peaches in Arizona.

When to fertilize peach trees

You should never plant your peach trees in low areas that are known to be frost pockets. If you are wanting to delay your blooms in areas that have frequent spring frosts, then you should plant on the north side of a building. The building will be able to shade the tree in late winter, which delays the bloom, but allows the tree to get the needed sunlight of summer. Peaches tend to do quite well in sandy, well-drained soils. You should plant the trees in the spring so that it will be well established by winter. Be sure that you are spacing your trees 15-20 feet apart.

Fertilizing Peach Trees Arizona

Fertilizing the peach tree

You should fertilize your young trees with a fertilizer that contains nitrogen like a pound of 10-10-10 or an equivalent after it has been planted for 6 weeks. During the second year, you should add three-quarters of a pound of fertilizer in spring and then the same amount during summer. Seeding your lawn around the tree with grass and white clover or with crimson clover or bird’s foot trefoil will give your tree extra nitrogen. Trefoil and clover are nitrogen fixing legumes. Once your tree begins to bear fruit, it won’t grow as fast and won’t need a lot of nitrogen. During the third year and up, you will need only a pound of nitrogen yearly, and it should be applied during spring when the growth is starting. Slowing the growth of a tree is a great way to ensure that it will be stronger, hardier in the winter, and live longer. Don’t apply any fertilizer within 2 months of the first fall frost and let your lawn grow up around the tree in late summer/early fall. Be sure that you don’t apply a lot of water during this time and don’t prune your tree in the fall.

Caring for your peach tree
Caring For Peach Trees

In order to keep your tree from getting winter sun-scald, you may paint the tree trunk white. Be sure to remove the old mulch from the base in order to avoid it attracting any type of rodents and then be sure to place mouse guards around the trunk as needed. During late winter and early spring, once the ground finally has been thawed, you should place heavy layers of mulch around your tree to ensure that the soil remains cool which in turn delays blooming.

Pruning Peach Trees
Pruning Peach Trees

You can train peaches to open in the center and then prune them annually. Be sure that you remove the diseased or dead wood first, then prune the branches that are drooping down or growing straight up. Nectarines and peaches will only bear fruit from lateral buds on year old branches. They will need to be pruned yearly during dormant season to stimulate fruit wood growth and to keep the fruit bearing branches closer to the trunk. Whenever the bloom is heavy, you should lightly head back the longer fruit bearing branches in order to reduce fruit load and prevent breaking branches. The summer pinching will help to control your tree size, which encourages the formation of the next year buds and will improve the quality of fruit. Whenever the tree is around 5-6 years old, remove the wood that has been produced in the last 2 years. This will keep your tree from getting too tall and will restore growth to older wood.

IN about 4-6 weeks after the bloom, you should thin out some of the excess fruit if you have a lot of peaches. Remove and then destroy the fruit that has signs of insect punctures. Thin the fruit so that they are spaced between 6-8 inches apart on the branch. The left over fruit will be sweeter and larger than they would have been without thinning the fruit.

Harvesting and then storing peaches
Harvesting & Storing Peaches

You should never shortchange yourself by picking the peaches way too early. The reward for all your hard work is special, home grown flavors of a tree ripened fruit and not one that has to sit on your kitchen windowsill. If there is a bit of green on your peach, then it isn’t ready to be picked. A peach should easily come off the branch with just a slight twist and nothing harder than that. Be careful while you are harvesting because many types of varieties such as the Champion and Reliance are soft fleshed and will bruise quite easily when they are ripe. In order to store your peaches, be sure that they are in a cool, dry place to prevent them from ripening further.

Peach Trees For Sale in East Phoenix Valley

If you want to get the most out of your peach tree, or are thinking about planting your own peach tree A&P Nursery has you covered from start, to fertilizer, and to harvest. We can help you choose the right tree for your landscape, get you the tools you need, and help you with tips on how to get the most out of your gardening. Call or come by one of our nurseries today.

Growing Apricot Trees In Arizona

Growing Apricot Trees In Arizona

If you love apricots and gardening then you should have an apricot tree in your garden. Growing Apricot trees in Arizona differs from other places in the country. It is hotter and more dry in Arizona, especially in the South. While Apricot trees do prefer the cooler temperatures of the north, we can still get them to grow well in the south.

Topics Covered In On This Page:

Apricot Tree Propagation
Apricot Tree Propagation Arizona

All Apricot trees are grown from the stone in the fruit, which is the seed. It takes 3 or 4 years for the stone to develop into a fruit bearing tree. This is why most gardeners choose to buy their apricot trees from a local nursery. These trees can be transplanted into your backyard and start producing fruit a whole lot faster than starting with a seed. The trees nurseries stock are usually already a couple of years old. This cuts out a lot of the wait time for you’re to get fruit from your new tree. That being said it will still be a couple years before you can expect fruit from your apricot tree.

Planting Apricot Trees
Planting Apricot Trees

While most places in the country recommend full sun for the apricot tree, Arizona gets more sun than most. This means that partial shade is not a bad idea for your tree. Choose a location that isn’t too close to the house or power lines that gets good sun.

Get your shovel and dig a deep hole in your chosen location. Make it deep enough to place some decomposed compost, if you have some. Blend the compost with your regular garden soil. If you bought a tree in a peat pot you don’t have to take it out, but you can slit the sides. This will make it easier for the roots to get out and for the tree to get established. If your apricot tree came in a burlap bag take the bag off and gently spread the roots in the hole you dug.

Replace the dirt that you dug out so that the tree is covered to the same depth it was when it was sold. You want to test how deep the hole you dug will be with the compost so when you place your tree in the hole that you have the mark where the bag or soil was in the peat pot is at the same level with the garden soil. Once the tree is at the right level and the soil is back make sure to give the soil a good soak with your hose.

Growing Apricot Trees
Growing Apricot Trees Arizona

Vigorous growth is common after planting the apricot tree in the first year. It is recommended to stake the tree for support in the first year of growth. Without the support strong winds can push and warp your tree. This can make your apricot tree grow at an angle instead of straight up. Excessive winds and not stakes can even mean that your tree is uprooted and damaged.

Fertilizing the apricot tree should happen during late winter and early spring. Another round of fertilizer when the tree is producing fruit will help produce more and better fruit. Many gardeners choose fruit tree fertilizer spikes as a way to encourage good growth. These spikes are driven into the soil and slowly release the fertilizer that is specifically engineered to fruit trees.

Pest & Insect Control
Pest & Insect Control Apricot Trees Arizona

Like most fruit trees insects and pests can be a nuisance. Every spring before the buds open up it is a good idea to apply a dormant oil fruit tree spray. To protect your fruit it is very important to use both a spray against plant disease and insecticides. Safety comes first when using these products and proper clothing, eye protection, and face masks should be used. Follow manufacturer’s recommendations for using these products for correct mixing. If your apricot tree is suffering from birds pecking your fruit you can get netting that will keep the birds away from the fruit.

Apricot Tree Pruning
Apricot Tree Pruning Arizona

If your goal is to produce fruit from your tree, which would be the point, make sure you don’t over prune. Apricots grow from 2nd year growth and you need to make sure you leave it in the right places. Lightly pruning in the early years will help you get more fruit out of your apricot tree earlier.

Effective pruning helps all plants grow better and produce more fruit. The best time to prune your apricot tree is when it is coldest, during the winter time. You want to make sure you get it done before the new year’s growth starts to pop out.

Apricot Trees For Sale
Apricot Trees For Sale Mesa Gilbert Queen Creek

If you are ready to plant an apricot tree in Arizona A&P Nursery has 4 locations in the East Phoenix Valley to help you get your project started. We have the tools, fertilizers, trees, and even have services to get the tree planted for you. No matter how you want to get started we have the advice and services to fit your needs. Call or stop by one of our 4 locations.

Growing Avocado In Arizona

Growing Avocado In Arizona

With the rising costs of produce at the local grocery stores many Arizona residents are starting to grow more and more of their produce themselves. Avocado is a favorite for many recipes and meals. Being able to grow it in your yard saves money and gives you the knowledge that they were grown organically and in the best methods possible.

Page Contents:

Best Type Of Avocado Tree For Phoenix
Best Type Of Avocado Tree For Phoenix

There is a wide variety of avocado trees. Some do better in different climates than others. With the heat in Arizona the type of avocado tree you choose can mean the difference between success and failure. For the heat in our area it is best to choose either the Guatemalan or Mexican Avocado trees.

Avocado Tree Site Selection
Avocado Tree Site Selection

The site you choose for your avocado tree should be protected from the wind and have fast draining soil. This means that you will want a more sandy type soil as opposed to the clay that can be common in Arizona. It is best to prep the soil in the area you want to plant the avocado tree. Include some compost in the mix so nutrients will be abundant. The soil should end up being equal parts of sand and compost.

It is best to plan a spot that gets sun in the morning, and shade in the afternoon. The afternoon is the hottest part of the day and the avocado tree does not enjoy the harsh light and temperatures.  This means planting the tree on the east side of your yard. It is also best if there is a large tree to plant it near or under.  If you don’t have a tree that will provide shade for the afternoon you will need to provide shade for the tree so it does not burn. Shade structures are pretty easy to set up, as your local nursery

Planting Avocado Trees
Planting Avocado Trees

A hole should be dug that is 2 to 3 times the width of the container and the same depth. Before putting the tree in the hole saturate the hole with water and wait for the water to drain. Once the water has drained from the hole you can place your avocado tree in. Gently pack the mixed soil, compost and sand around the root ball.

Create a little berm, or moat of raised soil around the base of the plant with the soil you have and fill it with water. It should be about 4 inches high and help contain the water so it is delivered well to the root ball.

Watering Avocado Trees
Watering Avocado Trees

During the summer and growing months you will need to give the tree a good soak at least once a month. For the hotter months you should give your avocado tree a deep soak every 2 weeks. You need to irrigate the avocado tree for several hours to push the salt away from the root ball.

Avocado Trees Fertilization
Avocado Trees Fertilization

Stay away from standard fertilizers that may contain salt or sodium. It is harmful for the avocado tree and will stunt its growth. Many avid gardeners choose to use fish emulsion at least once during the growing season. Fish fertilizers are safer for your avocado trees and are available at your location nursery.

Avocado Trees Pest Control
Avocado Trees Pest Control

With the avocado tree not being native to Arizona they have no natural pests. If you find that your garden ends up with one or another type of insect that is attacking your avocados make sure to check with your local nursery for which type of pesticides or covers you can use to help protect your investment.

East Phoenix Valley Nurseries

A&P Nursery has 4 locations that can help you with all of your gardening needs. From the large yard to small urban farming type set ups we have the plants, the tools, the knowledge to help get you going and keep your gardening thriving!


Growing a Vegetable Garden in Arizona

Growing a Vegetable Garden in Arizona

If you are searching for “Growing a Vegetable Garden in Arizona” you’ve probably just bought your first home in the state and want to kick off your gardening right. A&P Nursery is Phoenix’ East Valley Nursery and gardening headquarters for the right tools, right plants, and the knowledge to do it right. This article is designed to help you understand the basics of gardening in the state.

Questions answered in this post:

What it takes to grow a vegetable garden in AZWhat does it take to vegetable garden in Arizona? – Gardening in Arizona can present unique challenges whether you are growing a garden for aesthetic purposes or one that produces vegetables and fruits. The intense desert climate in Arizona only lends itself to certain plant species that can flourish in the unique and dry climate. This article is going to focus on vegetable bearing gardens and how to maximize their potential if you happen to live in the desert Southwest.

The best location to grow your vegetable garden in AZWhat’s the best location for my vegetable garden in Arizona? – The first factors you need to consider are going to be the basics that will apply to gardening no matter where you are located on the planet; soil quality, water, sun exposure, timing. Making sure you have an adequate plan and location that will fully facilitate your garden’s anticipated needs is going to have the most influence on the potential success of your garden and the extent that the success can be maximized. Scout your property and pay close attention to the lay of the land and its surroundings. If you can’t find a plot with enough sun exposure, you may need to plant or remove a tree or two and also place or remove any objects you may want that can assist in the proper amount of sunlight reaching the hungry plants in your garden.  Vegetables need at least 6 hours of sunlight; they also need adequate time in the shade as the AZ sun can be quite harsh on overexposed plants.

The best soil type for vegetable growing in AZWhich soil type is best for growing vegetables in Arizona?  The vast majority of Mesa plants absolutely love gardening loam.  Loam is a soil classification that means that the soil is a balance clay and sandy soil.  This gives you the benefits of both and alleviates the drawbacks.

The best size of garden to start with in MesaWhat’s the best size of vegetable garden to start with? – The size of your garden is a factor that you need to decide early on as well. Starting small is best for most people because a smaller garden is much easier to manage. Starting smaller affords you the opportunity to know how much time and effort goes into even a small amount of plants, which will let you know how big of a garden you can actually attend to adequately.

Preparing the ground for a vegetable gardenHow do I prepare the ground for my Mesa vegetable garden? – Once you find the right plot for your garden you may have some work to do to properly prep it for planting. Sod may be on the plot you select and will need to be removed in order to be able to till the soil. Once you have removed the sod and tilled the soil, you can add organic compost, manure and planting soil before tilling a final time before starting the planting process.

Raised Garden Beds in MesaHow do I control soil quality and watering better? – Another way to get started with your garden is to use raised garden beds.  Using a raised garden system is highly recommended for gardening in Arizona. This will give you valuable added control over the overall conditions and soil quality of your garden.  If you aren’t Bob Villa you can always get yourself a pre-fabricated raised garden bed kit.

The vegtables that grow best in Mesa AZWhat vegetables grow best in Arizona? – The next factor to consider is which vegetable bearing plants can thrive in Arizona. The crops that are easiest to grow in AZ are green beans, herbs, peppers, sugar, snap peas, tomatoes, radishes, and carrots. Sticking to these varieties initially will not only set you up for success, it will give you valuable experience that will be much needed if you plan on branching out and growing varieties that are harder to foster in AZ. The best times of year to plant the seeds for the plants species listed above is between the months of November and March. Understand that around January frost becomes more likely and you should make sure your crops are covered so they do not become damaged or even die, due to frost exposure.

Growing a double crop of vegtables in Mesa AZCan I grow two crops of vegetables in Mesa?  There is a unique advantage to growing vegetables in Arizona and that is the fact that many vegetables can have double growing seasons. The fact that you can double your yearly harvests in AZ means that you potentially grow twice as much produce and that can save you money on groceries while eating fresh produce almost year round. As your green thumb becomes established, your harvests will increase and become exponentially more plentiful. This article is about vegetables, but is should be noted that the same goes for fruit and having citrus growing year round will provide a great aroma to your property as the trees bud and bear fruit.

Vegtables that love growing in Arizona SoilWhat’s the best vegetable to grow in Arizona?  Green Beans are one of the best vegetables to grow in AZ. The soil in Phoenix is especially well suited to the growing of green beans.  November is the recommended time of year to plant Green Bean seeds, just remember to cover the plants once frost becomes a threat. One option to avoid frost is to start the plants life indoors, moving them outside once the frost season has passed. You can also place tomato cages around your Green Bean plants in order to consolidate space in your garden. Sugar Snap peas are another vegetable that grows well in the same window. You can follow the same steps to avoid frost with Sugar Snap Peas that we mentioned using with Green Beans.

Vegtables that love growing in Arizona SoilAnother vegetable that loves the long growing year in Arizona is Parsley.  Parsley absolutely loves the Arizona climate and can thrive as much as you want it too. You may actually have to eventually limit the parsley as it can start to take over your garden. Planting in the springtime is recommended and once your plants begin to mature, you can have fresh parsley at the ready year round.

Best seeds for beginner vegetable gardener in Mesa AZWhat types of seeds are best for beginners in Phoenix? For the beginner gardener it helps to have a type of seed that germinates quickly and is heartier.  In Arizona, it is best to select seeds that have gestation periods of 60 days or less as they are the easiest to foster in the desert climate.

Gardening Tools for Growing vegtables in Mesa AZWhat tools do I need to garden in Arizona? – Like most things in life the right tools for the job makes the job that much easier, and more fun.  A good pair of gloves for the handling of prickly items, and also to offer a little protection from insects goes a long way. You’ll want a sturdy shovel for those pesky rocks and tougher soil that you might need to dig in to plant items with deeper root system, such as trees.  Having a garden spade makes maintaining edges around flower beds and the preparation for installing raised garden beds much easier than using a rounded shovel edge.

Watering system for vegetable gardens in Mesa AZHow do I water my vegetable Garden in Arizona? – Depending on the type of garden you plant and which vegetables you choose you will need different watering systems.  But having an automated system makes it that much easier for the passionate gardener.  You can get drip lines that put the water directly on the ground next to your vegetables instead of sprinklers, which are best suited for water lawns.

Keeping pests out of your garden in Mesa AZHow do I keep pests away from your vegetable garden? – There are various kinds of pests you can encounter here in Arizona.  Some will need professional removal, such as venomous snakes or scorpions.  Contact a licensed professional that has the training and right equipment to remove such pests.  For the rest of the insects and foraging animals you can use chicken wire or other types of fencing to keep them out.  As for insects there are different kinds of sprays available at your local gardening shop.

East Phoenix Valley Gardening Supply

A&P Nursery is your local expert in Mesa, Arizona.  We have the knowledge, we have the tools, and we are here to help you start, maintain, and push your garden up to a new level.  Contact our experts for the help that will get results and make your hard work come to bear great results.

“I was in a bind, I needed to fix up the garden of a rental house that my lease was coming to an end. The owners had planted geraniums and some had died during the summer heat. I had gone to Lowes/Home Depot in hopes to pick up a few and none had any (a little too early in the season for them). I looked online for local nursery’s and this was the closest one too me. I called ahead and the person on the phone was incredibly helpful and friendly. Made my way over and was instantly greeted the second I walked in. They walked me to the geraniums and helped me pick out the best one. They picked it up, rung it up, and brought it out to the car for me. They were knowledgeable, friendly, and even funny. This will be my official nursery for all of my planting needs.”
Kelly J. – 10/1/2016

Mesa Vegetable Gardening Specialists Nursery AZ


Planting Roses in Arizona

Planting Roses in Arizona

It is prime time for planting roses in the Phoenix area, in fact it will soon be too late. Roses are best planted during the latter half of December and January in the Phoenix area. For northern Arizona it is best to wait until March and April. Growing Roses in the desert southwest is a great addition of the traditional gardening centerpiece. While a lot of xeriscapes focus on primarily desert plants like succulents and trees that are adapted to the desert heat, roses are the crowning jewel that can set your yard apart.

Rose Selection

Selecting the roses you want to incorporate into your landscape is a straightforward process with just a few things to keep in mind. The size of the full grown

Size – Different types of rose variants grow to be different sizes. The type of roses you choose for your landscape should take into consideration how large the fully grown plant will be. Savvy gardeners plan for the full size of their plants so they do not have to over prune, or remove plants that rub against houses or fight for space and sunlight in their landscape. Some types of roses like to grow and climb. This means they should be planted in areas that include support for the climbing types of roses.

Climate – Every plant has a rating for which zone it grows best in. The Phoenix valley varies between zone 8 and zone 9. Choose roses that will do well in this environment. They should be more heat resistant than geared to resist the cold like you would need in northern Arizona.

Grades Of Roses – When you are looking at roses to plant in your landscape you want to make sure that you select nothing less than the best. Roses are graded as 1,1 ½, and 2, with number 1 being the best grade. You will be able to recognize a number one grade rose when there are three or more “canes” that are as thick as a pencil. Number 1 ½ will only have 2 canes that are pencil thick, and number 2 roses will be only a foot from where the canes come together.

How To Plant Roses

The way you buy your roses will affect how and when you should plant them. Nurseries in the Phoenix valley during the cold months should offer bare root, packaged, and container roses. If you are buying either bare root or packaged you should make sure to have them in the ground by the end of January.

Bare Root & Packaged

If the roses you buy are either packaged or sold to you with bare roots you will need to get them in the ground in late December or January. Before planting you should soak the roots in water for a few hours.


Roses that are left over from the dormant period of the year are sold in containers. These roses can be planted at any time during the year.

Rose Spacing

The various types of roses grow to different diameters. You should plan your landscape to not be overcrowded and give each rose plant its own space. For polyanthas and miniatures you should plan between a 1 and 2 feet. Rose shrubs need twice that space and should be given 2 to 4 feet. Tree roses grow to a greater diameter and should be allowed between 3 and 5 feet. Climbing roses should have even more space, between 6 and 10 feet of space. Climbing roses also grow better when eastern exposure.

Planting Your Bare Root Roses

  1. The first step in planting your roses is to soak it in water for at least 8 hours. They can do well with up to 24 hours of soaking if you are not going to be home, or want to give it the maximum saturation.
  2. Digging your hole is the next project. It should be between 18 to 30 inches wide to accommodate the root system and the root ball.
  3. Mix soil with a cup of triple superphosphate and a cup of sulfur
  4. Create a cone shape mound in the center of the hole with your mix and native soil.
  5. Spread out the roots of your roses to fit over the cone. The union between the canes and root should be about 2 inches above the soil line.
  6. Trim the canes to about 8 to 10 inches. You want to make sure the top buds are facing out from the center of the plant.
  7. To help retain the water you provide you will want to have about a 4 inch layer of mulch around the surface of the plant.
  8. Ensure that you water well every day for the first week.

Roses For Sale In The East Phoenix Valley

If you live in the Phoenix valley and want the best selection and most knowledgeable customer service A&P nursery has 4 locations to serve you. With the best stock of plants in the East Valley we can get you everything you need to get started with growing your own roses. We also have a list of great landscaping companies that we can recommend to plant the specific roses you choose. Call or visit one of our locations to ask any questions you have or to get started with planting your own roses in the Phoenix area.

Straw Bale Gardening In Arizona

Straw Bale Gardening In Arizona
Photo by – knitsteel on Flickr

Benefits Of Straw Bale Gardening

Using straw bales to garden in is a way that Arizona gardeners can compensate for a few different problems. When you use straw bales you will be able to have better soil conditions that those found in some areas of the state. Straw beats Bermuda grass (hay) for insect infestation. And best of all you will have higher gardening beds to work in. This means that those sore backs and creaky joints will undergo less strain while gardening. The benefits are clear:

Better Soil Conditions

Superior Growing Matrix

Higher Gardening Beds

Easier On The Body 

How To Get Started

Choosing The Location

The first step in starting a straw bale garden is choosing the right place in your landscape. It needs to be a spot that is easily accessible. This makes getting all of your straw bales, soil, and plants to the location easier. The spot should be sitting on an East to West axis, meaning that it gets at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. The shape, size, and construction should be planned so it adds visual interest to your landscape. The location should also be one where the garden can benefit from rainwater. You don’t want to set it up under a giant shade tree which will limit sun and rainfall.

Buying The Supplies

You will need 3 main products to get started. Those are the bales of straw, edging material to help the straw maintain its shape, and posts. The posts are driven into the ground to help the edging material hold the garden up. The bales might seem sturdy when first set in place, but once soil, plants, and water are added they can, and should degrade. The edging helps the garden maintain its shape. Here is a short list of things you will need:

  • Straw bales – Make sure you purchase straw, not hay. Straw bales are yellow, hay is generally green. Ask specifically about what kind of straw it is, you want oat or wheat straw. You do NOT want barley straw.
  • Posts – The posts you buy will be part of the structural integrity of the straw bale garden. They will be driven into the ground to provide rigidity to the edging material. Simple metal T posts used in other agricultural applications can be used for the posts. Larger wooden posts may be used, but will require more work to anchor correctly. Either way be aware of if there are pipes or sprinkler systems under the soil.
  • Edging Material – Depending on the look you want for your straw bale garden you will chose from a variety of edging materials. Some people choose wood, some have gardening products that edge the bales and help them keep their shape as they decompose and help plants grow. Some people even choose to use coffee sacks around the bales for a earthy rustic look. Recycled metal roofing is another option

Building The Straw Bale Garden

Getting your straw bale garden built is pretty simple, but it does require a little muscle to set the bales in position. All you need to do is decide where, position the bales, condition them, add some soil and nitrogen, and set your plants in to grow.

Location Prep

Prepping the ground for your bale garden is fairly straight forward. Plan the overall size of area by how much you are wanting to plant, and how much space each plant will take. Make sure you like the spot because it won’t be easy to move them once they are wet, have soil, and already have plants growing in them. Make sure the spot you choose gets about 6 hours of sun a day.

Bale Positioning

For the best results you will want to take care in which end of the bale faces up. Bales are folded and then cut on the 2 edges. Make sure you point the edge that has cut ends of straw facing up. When the cut ends are facing up they allow better water penetration from rainfall or watering.

Bale Conditioning

It’s important to get the bales ready to be used for growing plants. When moisture is introduced your bales will start decomposing immediately. This is a natural process that makes straw bale gardening so successful. Bales must be conditioned before plants are added as the decomposition process produces heat.  Keep track of the internal heat of your bale with a compost or meat thermometer. Once the internal temperature is the same as the exterior or less, you are ready to add plants.

Water & Nitrogen Conditioning

To condition your bale you will want to take about 2 weeks before planting your plants. The first 3 days require through watering of the bales, so they stay damp. Next you will want to add nitrogen in addition to your daily bale watering. Use a liquid fertilizer that is high in nitrogen. This will help speed decomposition in your bales. All you need to do is add a capful to a gallon of water and pour it out on your bale.

Planting In Your Straw Bale

Straw bale gardens are good foundations for growing just about any type of plant. There are a couple exceptions, things like corn or tomatoes can become too tall and heavy for the bale to support. There can be other limitations for veggies that love growing in just soil, things like sweet potatoes.

Otherwise you can just pick the types of plants you love gardening and plant them like you would in a regular garden. Keep the spacing the same as you would anywhere else.

Straw Bale Garden Supplies

A&P Nursery has 4 locations in the East Phoenix Valley to meet all of your gardening needs. We can get you started from the ground up with tools, gloves, and everything a gardener needs. If gardening is already one of your passions we can help you start your straw bale garden with the best plants in the valley and expert knowledge to help you make the most of your efforts. Stop by or call one of our locations to get started.

Fall Vegetable Gardening In Arizona


Vegetable gardening is a great hobby, a way to save money on groceries, and the best way to get fresh produce into your home. Good advice on how to garden and when to plant your fruits and vegetables depends on regionally specific information, as you wouldn’t want to use tips that only work in Maine in your Arizona garden. Each region has different types of soil and different months that are best for planting certain types of vegetables. So this is our fall vegetable Gardening In Arizona guide.

Vegetables To Plant In Fall

These are the best vegetables that you can plant in your garden in the fall and some of their main benefits and uses. Make sure to mark in your calendar when you plant and when the harvest should be to keep track of your vegetable garden.

Planting Bok Choy – This vegetable has about a 45 day to harvest time.  Originally from China it has been used extensively in culinary purposes, and even has medicinal value. It is used widely in soups and salads to add a nice crunch and flavor. It is also one of the main ingredients in Kimchee, a Korean favorite.

Planting Broccoli – Broccoli seeds take about 125 days to be ready for harvest. Broccoli is native and used to grow wild along the Mediterranean. Commercial cultivation started in the United States in the 1920’s. Broccoli is a staple of so many Arizona dinner tables because of it’s amazing nutritional value. It has nearly the same calcium content as whole milk and double the vitamin C as an orange.

Brussels Sprouts – Brussles Sprouts take about 140 days to be ready for you to harvest. Not surprisingly this vegetable was named after the city Brussels. It is a miniature cabbage and it is thought that cultivation started in Italy during the rule of the Roman Empire. Brussles sprouts are jam packed with a variety of vitamins. Vitamin K is one of the most abundant vitamins in Brussels sprouts. It is also a great source for Vitamin C, A and B6. It also contains potassium, thiamin, foliate, and more. It is great for helping to control blood pressure and heart rate.

Cabbage – Another vegetable that has its roots near the Mediterranean cabbage is a favorite for lots of Phoenix dining tables. Eating cabbage raw, or just cooked shortly helps preserve the many nutrients. The wide variety and concentration of nutrients in cabbage has been found to protect against several types of cancer. It also helps fight bad cholesterol levels which can help prevent heart disease.

Carrots – Everyone knows that carrots are good for you and are just about the greatest thing in the world with some ranch dip. They have been grown in just about every area of the world, so your garden should be the perfect spot. Everyone knows that carrots are good for your eyes, but it can also help in stroke prevention.

More Great Fall Vegetables For Your Arizona Garden

There are a lot of vegetables that need to go in the ground in the fall in Arizona. They all have different times that are approximate for harvest. Information is available on each of the seed packets or transplant tags.

  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chard
  • Garlic
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Radish
  • Rutabaga
  • Spinach
  • Turnips


Phoenix Valley Gardening Nursery

If you live in the East Valley of Phoenix or simply want to talk to the experts and get the best seeds and plants for your Arizona garden A&P Nursery has you covered with 4 locations in Mesa, Gilbert, and Queen Creek, Arizona. We have the tools, knowledge, and even ties to professional landscaping companies that will make starting and maintaining your garden easy.  Call or visit one of our 4 locations today.


Growing A Magnolia Tree in Arizona


Magnolia Trees are the pride of the south and have a wonderfully sweet smell that can add character to any landscape. Growing a Magnolia tree in Arizona does take a little extra care, but the best things in life usually do. The sweet smell and beautiful flowers and evergreen like leaves will add beauty and visual appeal to your landscape.

How To Plant Your Magnolia Tree In Arizona

There are a few steps that are a bit different for best practices when planting the Magnolia tree. It takes a little more prep and knowledge than simply digging a hole and dumping the tree in. The tree does require a little more water because of our hot and arid environment, but it rewards owners and gardeners with a sweet aromatic smell and beautiful displays of flowers and foliage.

Choosing A Site

In Arizona it is best to choose an area in your yard that will receive afternoon shade, when the sun is at its hottest. This will help eliminate potential sun damage to the trunk, as the tree is not native to Arizona.

Prepping The Soil

These trees are fairly tolerant of any soil type. So there is little effort that needs to be taken to prep the soil. They tolerate clay soils and water logging well. So adding sandy soil types to promote drainage isn’t critical like in trees that are native to more arid environments. Some mulch or compost can increase the nutrient content and help the tree grow.


With just a little prep work you will be ready to plant and start growing your Magnolia tree in Arizona.

Expose The Root – Gently move the soil away from the top until you expose the top of the root system. Generally you’ll find it after removing about 2 inches of soil.

Unwrap And Score It – These trees are sold with burlap covers many times, these need to be removed before the tree is planted. In addition you can help the root system grow right, without circling roots. You do this by making 4 evenly spaced slices down the sides of the root ball.

Dig It – Start out by digging a hole for the tree to be planted in your yard that is about 1.5 times the width of the ball or container. The hole should be just slightly less deep than the root ball.

Plant It  – Place the tree into the hold you have dug and make sure that the top most root section is either even with or slightly above the level of the surrounding soil in your landscape. After you have put the soil back, gently compact it in around the roots to get rid of air pockets. Fully saturate the soil around the tree. Take care to leave the top most section of the root ball out of the soil slightly. You can cover this area with some mulch to protect it, but it needs to have exposure to the air.


Magnolias are native to the southeastern United States. Arizona is a lot hotter and drier than that region of the country so it is important to water the Magnolia tree regularly. You can test the soil with your finger to see if it is dried out and create a watering schedule that fits your soil and region. During the hotter parts of summer it is critical that you keep up with watering to help the tree cope with the hot Arizona summers.


The Magnolia tree needs less pruning that other trees. It is best to allow the canopy base to extend all the way to the ground if your landscaping will allow it. This helps protect the trunk bark from direct sunlight and potential sunscald.

Types Of Magnolia Trees

There are quite a few varieties of Magnolia tree, some do better in the intense heat of Arizona. These are a few of the favorite variants. For more specific information on which Magnolia trees will grow best in your particular zone talk to your local nursery.

Southern Magnolia Tree

The Southern Magnolia is also known as the Grandiflora Magnolia. It is native to the southeast but has spread naturally as far as Texas and Oklahoma. The tree is heat tolerant to about 107°, after that point there can be some yellowing and potential trunk sunscaling. However even the mild growing magnolia in Phoenix can reach heights of 25 to 50 feet.

Star Magnolia Tree

These beautiful trees have star-shaped flowers. They, like all Magnolias are deciduous trees. There are a few different sub variants of the Kobus, but they all share a tulip like shape. The flowers of the Kobus variant don’t tolerate frost, but the tree is otherwise hardy and can weather cold and extreme heat well, making it great for Arizona.

Sweet Bay Magnolia Tree

This type of tree is grown as a showpiece or ornamental tree. The flowers of the Sweet Bay burst out in spring and summer. If pests are a problem in your landscape the Sweet Bay is one of the best types of Magnolia as it is a hardy, pest resistant tree. The Sweet Bay is also tolerant of heavy water conditions and can even survive standing water.

Magnolia Trees For Sale In Mesa, Queen Creek, Gilbert AZ

If you are looking to add a Magnolia tree to your landscape A&P Nursery can help. We have a large selection of trees at our 4 locations in the Phoenix East Valley. We also offer delivery and planting services to make the addition of this sweet smelling tree even sweeter.