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Welcome to the second edition of “AZ Plant Lady  House Calls.  


Earlier this month, I shared with you a landscape dilemma that a homeowner needed help with.  I was able to help her find a solution that would introduce color and herbs to a sunny corner of her garden. 


Well, this same homeowner had another problem area.



This shady area lies next to her sliding glass door and she has had a tough time getting anything to grow in this area.  

You can see some straggly Vinca minor and a raised container growing a few weeds. 
I have rarely seen nice-looking Vinca minor growing in our area – so it is not a plant I recommend.

The homeowner wanted a plant for her container that would flourish along with a flowering groundcover.

What would you do in this area?

Believe it or not, it can be hard to find a plant that can handle our hot, dry temperatures that can also do well in shady areas.  But, there are a few.


Recommendation: Purchase an orange-colored container to add some color to this area and plant a Mother-in-law’s Tongue (Sanseveria trifasciata) in the container.  

For an extra decorative touch, you can add black pebbles on the top of the planting soil.

This tropical plant will add height and texture and is very easy to grow.  *Protect from freezing temperatures by bringing them indoors.

Years ago, I worked for a golf course community that had large containers in full shade by the front doors of the clubhouse.  After trying many different kinds of plants – this was the one that did the best.


Around the base of the raised container, I recommended planting 5 Mexican Heather (Cuphea hyssopifolia).

These do great in light shade and bloom off and on all year.  They grow well in zones 9 – 11.


The leaves are small and so are the flowers on this groundcover that grows approximately 1 foot tall and 2 feet wide.

The purple flowers will provide great contrast to the new orange container.

Both the Mother-in-law’s Tongue and Mexican Heather are low-maintenance and will flourish in this shady spot.

So, what do you think of this solution? Do you have a shady area where you have a hard time growing anything?

I hope you enjoyed the latest edition of “AZ Plant Lady Virtual House Call”.  I will be posting more in the future in the hopes that I can help you with an issue you may be facing in your own garden.

Do you suffer from temptation when you visit your local plant nursery?

I certainly did during my last visit.  I had such a great time and took quite a few photos, so I had to split them up into two separate posts.
(You can read the first post here if you like).

I have saved my two most tempting moments for this post, so I guess we should get on with it…

Sage shrubs (Leucophyllum species) are available in many different species.  ‘Green Cloud’ Texas Sage (Leucophyllum frutescens ‘Green Cloud’) is perhaps the most popular and I have two growing in my front garden.

However, I must admit that my favorites are ‘Rio Bravo’ Sage (Leucophyllum langmaniae ‘Rio Bravo’), which grows in my back garden and the other is called ‘Thunder Cloud’ Sage (Leucophyllum candidum ‘Thunder Cloud’).
This shrub has silver gray leaves and blooms off and on spring through fall.
The flowers contrast so beautifully with the silvery foliage.
I must confess, that I don’t have any in my garden – but I may need to find a space for these beautiful shrubs.


On nursery visits, I frequently take the opportunity to take pictures of plants such as this Arborvitae.  They aren’t favorite plants of mine, but that really doesn’t mean anything – it is just a matter of personal preference.
Many nurseries showcase ways to combine plants.

I am frequently inspired during my nursery visits by some of their ideas like this Sweet Potato Vine among Sago Palms and Umbrella Plant.


Can you guess what plant was used to create this dense shrub?

Believe it or not, it is Pyracantha.
Usually, you find it growing along the walls….
You can frequently find new uses for plants at your local nursery.


I found a bunch of Mexican Heather (Cuphea hyssopifolia) in full bloom.  I like to use these as groundcovers in areas with light shade.


There were many different types of succulents available like this Lophocereus schottii ‘Monstrosus’.
If you tend to accidentally kill your plants, you can always buy this reproduction of an agave…
I guarantee, you won’t kill this one.  I have seen these beautiful plant sculptures ‘planted’ in pots with gravel or small pebbles instead of potting soil.
Well, my visit was drawing to an end, when I saw two plants that I was sorely tempted to buy….
I love Autumn Sage.  Usually you see them in red, hot pink, peach and even white.  But I saw these Autumn Sage with light pink flowers called (Salvia greggii ‘Heatwave Glitter’).
In my garden, I love to use cool colors like pink.  I wanted to buy one of these plants so badly, but I couldn’t think of where I would put it.

My last temptation of the day was a plant that I have seen occasionally in landscapes, but rarely in the nursery.


At first glance, this may look like Purple Trailing Lantana (Lantana montevidensis), but look closer.

Can you see white flowers mixed in with the purple?

Believe it or not, this Lantana has both purple and white flowers.  It is called ‘Lavender Swirl’.

I love this look of both flowers together.  

Now, if you cannot find this type of Lantana, there is a solution….

Simply plant a White Trailing and Purple Trailing Lantana in the same hole.  As they grow, their stems and flowers will intermingle together.

I really could have bought this plant, but I already duplicated their appearance already by planting White and Purple Lantana together in my front garden.

And so, I left the nursery, only purchasing the plants that my mother-in-law needed.

When I got home, my husband couldn’t believe that I hadn’t bought any plants for myself.  Normally, he has the shovel ready before I even get home from the nursery because he knows me so well 😉