Before you start growing a garden at your Henderson home, there are a few things you should know. From temperature to soil selection and plant type, there are many things to consider and your initial research will be vital in the long-term success of your garden. We have 7 gardening tips every Vegas homeowner should know.
We Have Two Different Zones
With temperatures ranging from our high-heat summers to the cooler night temperatures during the winter, Vegas is a unique location. So unique, that we have two different ways to define the area. Under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), we are zone 9 — technically, 9a. Under the Sunset climate zones, we are in zone 11. You can find out more about these zones here.
Use a Water-Absorbent Soil
For many gardeners across the nation, soil that aids in water drainage is preferred. However, we have the opposite need in Vegas. When searching for a soil to use in your Henderson home garden, you should search for a water-absorbent variety, like this one.
Consider Reflective Heat
On top of the regular ole heat, Vegas homeowners need to worry about their plants being exposed to reflective heat. Reflective heat is the heat that bounces off surfaces. You know how you notice a difference when you walk from the concrete to the grass? You were experiencing reflective heat from the concrete surface. Your patio, walls, deck, and sidewalks are typical culprits. If you have an area with reflective heat, many plants will not be hearty enough to withstand come summertime. These 10 desert-dweller shrubs may be up for the challenge.
Let’s Talk “Full Sun”
Just because it says “full sun” on a plant tag doesn’t mean that you should place the plant in our full sun. Unfortunately, the tags on plants can’t consider every zone across the country. During a Vegas summer, full sun will burn most plants.
Potting plants gives you the advantage of moving your plant babies depending on the season. Before you plant in the ground, keep the plant in a pot first and try a few different spots on a trial basis. Once you find the best spot for the plant, go ahead and grab the shovel.
Summer Cool Down
There are a few ways to help protect your plants from the high heat and long days of sunlight during the summer.
- Double Potting: Place potted plants into a larger plastic pots — plastic stays cooler than terracotta — and place dried moss or coarse, organic mulch between the pots.
- Shade: Make temporary shade for your plants to shield it from the sun, or move the plant during the intense afternoon sun.
- Keep Watered: You should be monitoring the water levels in the soil. For vegetable gardens, you should aim to feel soil akin to a wrung-out sponge.
- Mulch: Place around three inches of a mulch of your choice on top of your soil, at least one inch away from the plant’s stem. Popular mulches include straw, shredded leaves, wood chips, and alfalfa.
Succulents and Cacti
Many people think the care of succulents and cacti are one and the same. However, when it comes to sunlight, cacti can handle much more than succulents. Many succulents grow in tropical climates and their skin is more prone to burn.
When it comes to watering, however, you should avoid watering both succulents and cacti November through March. There are multiple reasons for this. During the winter, the plant may go into a “hibernation mode” of sorts. When you’re watering during this time, you could be contributing to the possibility of root rot.
Conversely, if the plant hasn’t hibernated, the water you’re giving them — after absorbed by the plant — could expand and therefore crack the plant should a freeze come to the Las Vegas Valley.
Shopping at local nurseries not only gives you the chance to talk to experienced Vegas gardeners, you can also shop selections that fare well in our area. To get the best advice, come prepared with photos of your desired planting location as well as the average amount of hours the spot gets sunlight in a day.
We hope these ideas motivate you to get outside and grow something at your Henderson home. If you’re tackling a landscape project, a great way to get inspired is visiting the Inspirada parks.