Planning a colorful garden in the summer desert can be challenging—especially if you prefer not being wedded to your pots and the garden hose.

Choosing low-water bloomers will not only provide you with an easier time; they will give you a living-color focal point in your desert landscape all summer long.

• When placing in the same pot, choose low-water plants that require similar light and water.

• Use quality potting soil that retains moisture and drains well. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but it is true!

• Get plants that grow into three different heights: tall, mid-range and trailing.

• Plant early in the day, and water your pot thoroughly after planting.

• Keep the pot moist until you see new growth. Then, water the pot every two to three days, until you see water coming out the bottom of the pot. Be mindful of the moisture in the pot throughout the summer as the heat escalates.

The plants used in the photo above, clockwise from back left:

• Gopher plant (Euphorbia rigida).

• Bloodflower (Asclepiascurrasavica). This is a member of the milkweed family, and monarch butterflies need to feed on milkweed plants as caterpillars—so do not be surprised if you find a monarch chrysalis on this plant.

• Parrot’s peak (Lotus berthelotii).

• Lantana (Lantana camara).

Except for the parrot’s beak, the plants in this pot are critter-resistant!

Marylee is the Desert’s Potted Garden Expert. Email her with comments or questions at