Doesn't this plant make the house look nice and inviting?

Many of us justifiably take great pride in our desert homes. We have invested a lot of time and money to get that perfect look.

I am often asked about styles of containers and materials that are appropriate for planting in the desert. I never recommend plastic pots, as they do not have a suitably thick wall to help insulate the soil in the desert’s intense sun.

But just as important: Plastic pots do not represent our homes with the richness that we deserve!

At any given moment, how do your potted plants look? Are they healthy and inviting to both you and your guests? I have always had a rule: Better dirt than dead. I would rather take the dead or almost-dead plants out of pots and groom the soil until I can pick up some new plants; it’s much better than leaving sad plants in place until you “get around to it.”

Anything we do around our homes is a reflection on us. This applies to businesses, too. How many times have you gone into a restaurant or office and seen sickly or dead plants at the entrance. Even if we don’t have a conscious thought about it, our subconscious mind says: If they cannot take care of a couple pots, how are they going to take care of me?

Don’t wait until you “get around to it!” Go out and get some plants to replace those dead ones, like that poor tree below. Do it today!

Marylee Pangman is the founder and former owner of The Contained Gardener in Tucson, Ariz. She has become known as the Desert’s Potted Garden Expert. Marylee is available for digital consultations, and you can email her with comments and questions at; and follow the Potted Desert on Facebook.