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How to Grow Plants When it Feels Like You Live on the Sun

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We asked Farmington, New Mexico-based lifestyle blogger Lauren Seip of Rural + Mine to share what she’s learned about developing her green thumb in the desert
Photo by Lauren Seip
Photo by Lauren Seip

I grew up with colorful flowers lining the walls of our backyard and endless compliments on our own secret garden. My mom always loved gardening — and she is fantastic at it.

When I moved to Northwestern New Mexico three years ago, I was shocked by the change of scenery. From Dallas, where grassy plains and flat expanses of land are the norm, to New Mexico, where sand and rocky cliffs cover the rural area, I felt like I was on a new, exotic planet.

I’ve always wanted a green thumb like Mom, so last year I decided to take up gardening as a hobby — with little success. Without considering the major change in climate from Texas to New Mexico, I planted peonies, tulips and other luscious flowers, just to watch them wilt and die.

Determined to grow at least one thing this year, I did some research on the best plants for this type of region. Desert gardening is perfect because the plants don’t need much water, which is essential when we go through a prolonged drought.

Photo by Lauren Seip
Photo by Lauren Seip
Photo by Lauren Seip
Photo by Lauren Seip

Drought tolerant plants, like cacti and succulents, have water-storing features that make them perfect for the arid garden.

Some adaptions of drought tolerant plans are deep taproots, minimal foliage or waxy coatings on the leaves that help hold in the moisture. Be sure to educate yourself on the plants you buy and always check the zone requirements. Some drought tolerant plants in the desert can live specifically in hot zones, while other plants need cold periods.

Here is a short list of plants that can beat the heat:

  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Mealycup Sage
  • Flame Flower (Talinum)
  • Butterfly Weed
  • Chrysanthemum
Photo by Lauren Seip
Photo by Lauren Seip

For more from Lauren, visit ruralandmine.com.

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