Okay, correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t it just October 1st a few days ago?  It’s hard to believe that November is already here.  You know what that means….Christmas is on its way 🙂


Last month was a busy one in the garden.  While there are not as many tasks to be done in November, there are still a few things to do.

Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua)


Continue planting cold-tolerant trees, shrubs and perennials.  Avoid planting frost-tender plants such as Lantana, Bougainvillea and Yellow Bells right now, since young plants are more likely to be damaged or even killed by a frost.

Chaparral Sage (Salvia clevelandii)

Shrubs like Globe Mallow, Chaparral Sage and Mexican Honeysuckle are great choices for the garden.

Mexican Honeysuckle (Justicia mexicana)

Mexican Honeysuckle is one of my favorites because it thrives in light shade, is frost-tolerant AND flowers all year.

Snapdragon Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri)

Perennials are a great way to add color to the landscape and Penstemons are some of my favorites.  Parry’s and Firecracker Penstemons are seen in many beautiful landscapes, but there is another that I love.  Snapdragon Penstemon is not often seen, but is truly stunning.  It grows up to 4 ft. tall, blooms in spring and its flowers are fragrant.

It’s not always easy to find, but is well worth the effort.

‘Regal Mist’ (Muhlenbergia capillaris ‘Regal Mist’)
You may have seen this colorful ornamental grass blooming this fall.  ‘Regal Mist’ is a lovely green, ornamental grass in spring and summer.  However, once the cooler temperatures of fall arrive, it undergoes a magical transformation.  Burgundy plumes begin to appear, turning this grass into a show-stopper.

‘Regal Mist’ in winter.
Once winter arrives, the burgundy plumes fade to an attractive wheat color.

There is not much pruning to be done right now.  You can prune Mesquite trees, but stay away from pruning Palo Verde trees, which are best pruned after flowering in the summer.

Avoid pruning frost-tender plants and summer-flowering shrubs this month.  


There is still time to sow wildflower seed for a beautiful spring display.

Herbs are easy to grow and most will thrive throughout the winter.  The one exception is basil, which will die once temperatures dip below freezing.

So harvest your basil now, before the first frost arrives.  You can dry it and put it into spice jars or freeze it into ice cubes.


Thin vegetable seedlings.  This is easiest to do using scissors and snipping them off at the soil line  so that you don’t disturb the roots of the seedlings remaining behind to grow.

Check your seed packet to determine how far apart the seedlings should be.


There are still many vegetables that can be planted in November.  Leafy greens like bok choy, lettuce, kale, mustard greens and Swiss chard can still be planted throughout November.  Carrots and radishes can also be added to the garden.  I have been harvesting radishes and leafy greens, one month after planting.


I am so happy to be able to make salads from my own garden again instead of relying on bagged leaf lettuce.


If you haven’t done so yet, this is the last month to plant garlic in your garden.  It is so easy to grow and I simply grab a few heads of garlic from grocery store to plant.

Broccoli and cauliflower transplants can still be added to the garden this month.  Onions, peas and turnips can also be planted in November.  

If you haven’t already done so, go ahead and adjust your irrigation schedule so that you are watering less frequently then you did in the summer months.  More plants die from over-watering then under-watering, even in the desert Southwest.

Well, I think that I have given you enough to keep busy this month in your garden.  Next month, there will be a much shorter list, leaving you much more time for Christmas shopping 🙂

**What is on your garden ‘to-do list’ this month?
Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a horticulturist, certified arborist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."

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