Tropical Tucson Gardening

If you are one of the lucky owners of a new construction home in Tucson, Arizona then you are poised to turn your yard into a tropical paradise. Tucson is one of the rare locations in the United States that is rated as a USDA zone 9a. This means that an avid gardener can grow beautiful plants all year-round without fear of winter freezing damaging their plants. It also means long, hot summers which are perfect for the production of some of the most desirable fruits and vegetables around.

Although you won’t have to worry about snow in the desert, you will need to think about shade and water concerns. You’ll need to offer some of your plants shade, with shade cloths, and utilize drip irrigation systems to avoid losing all of your water to evaporation.

Here are a few tropical specialty plants that could make you the envy of every other gardener in America:



Almost every variety of citrus you could ever want can be grown under the Tucson sun. Oranges, lemons, kumquats, grapefruit, tangerines and limes have all been raised there. Some varieties, such as lime and lemon, are more sensitive to slight frost than others. This means you’ll need to offer them some protection during the coldest nights of the year.

With citrus trees in your own backyard you’ll be enjoying fresh squeezed orange juice and lemonade from your very own orchard.

Succulents and Cacti


In order to avoid confusion, it is important to explain that all cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti. A succulent is defined as a plant that can store its own supply of moisture. A cactus is a specific kind of succulent with round, cushion-like aureoles from which spines, flowers, leaves, hair, or branches grow. Cacti are also unique to the Western edge of the Western Hemisphere, whereas succulents are found on all other continents around the world.

Tucson is the natural habitat for many of these unusual and lovely plants; including saguaro, agave, and aloe and many countless other varieties. There are gardeners who have made it their hobby to find and protect some of these beautiful plants and there are many resources for those interested in adding the texture and color of succulents to their yards. The Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society is a great place to start.



The desert has, sadly, been characterized as a lifeless expanse of rock and sand, but nothing could be further from the truth. One of the most commonly seen types of plants in the desert are wildflowers. Bright colors, thin stems, and petite leaves tend to define the kinds of flowers you will see in Tucson gardens that sport native plants. You might see penstemons, desert peony, Indian paintbrush, and tuber Anemone’s growing in yards and along roadways. These desert wildflowers are typically used to lots of sun, heat, and drought conditions. They make xeriscaping, gardening with little to no water, not only possible, but beautiful.

No matter what you choose to landscape your yard with the fact remains, Tucson is a gardener’s paradise.

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