Rooting A Cacti Cutting

Growing a cactus from a cutting is not as hard as you might think! One of the most common mistakes people make is planting the cutting before it has callused. Follow these instructions for rooting a cactus cutting and you will surely be successful.

CUT: Make a straight, clean cut with a sharp knife. Use a saw for larger plants with woody skeletons. The application of powdered sulfur on the cut surfaces helps prevent infection. Cactus cuttings root most easily when taken during their natural growth season (usually in warm weather).

DRY: Place the cutting in a cool, dry area out of direct sunlight until the wound is fully callused over. This will take a few days for a small cut surface, or a week for a large cut surface. Erect stems should be kept erect during this period, or else turned frequently, to prevent the formation of roots along the side that is on the bottom, and to prevent possible curvature of the stem.

PLANT: Plant the cutting in pure sand or a well-drained soil mixture just deep enough to hold it upright. The soil mixture should contain enough gravel, coarse sand, perlite, or pumice to ensure good drainage. Test the drainage by running water through the pot or rooting bed to be sure it drains quickly. During cool or humid weather, cactus cuttings should be rooted in an especially well-drained mixture of half coarse sand and half soil or pure sand if you have it. Rooting is best accomplished with some shade to prevent sunburn of the plant. Cuttings in full sun will require more water and sunburn very easily. For cacti which crawl along the ground or that have long thin stems, place the cutting on top of the soil mix, sand or directly on top of the loose soil. For prickly pears or chollas, or any other cactus that branches freely, place the pad or stem in the soil or on its side, so that new growth will be clean and upright.

WATER: Water immediately after planting and thereafter every time the planting mix becomes totally dry. Never allow the planting mix to remain totally dry for more than a few days. Depending on pot size, soil texture, and weather, drying may take as short a time as 24 hours or as long as three to four months. The main reason for rooting failure is rot. This is caused by too much water, especially in cool or humid months when soil does not dry out quickly. In cool weather, it may not be necessary to water the plant after the initial watering until the weather begins to turn warm.

CHECK: Check for roots every two weeks by gently moving the plant in the soil, using tongs or wearing gloves. If there is strong resistance, the cutting is rooted. New growth is evidence that rooting has occurred, but sudden swelling (turgor) of the stem is better proof that water-absorbing roots are present. As long as the cutting still contains moisture, and is not diseased, it still has the potential to eventually make roots, even if it is somewhat shriveled.


Growing A Cacti From Seed

Growing plants from seed are not as hard as you might think – even though many of us have tried and failed! One of the most common mistakes people make is planting the seeds too deeply. You should only plant a seed as deep in the soil as the seed is wide. When seeds are planted too deeply the tiny plants emerge and begin to grow but do not reach the surface before they run out of stored food. Follow these instructions for growing cacti from seed and you will surely be successful.

SEED: It is best to use fresh seed when growing most cacti. Seed can be obtained from a commercial source or collected from a plant in your collection. Take care when collecting seed from a cactus collection. Some cactus species hybridize freely and true seed cannot be assured unless pollination has been monitored carefully.

SOIL: A good potting mix, amended with ½ its volume of granite, perlite or pumice for drainage, makes a good mix for growing cacti from seed. It is important that the soil is as pest-free as possible. To pasteurize soil, put it in a shallow heatproof pan, place it in the oven at 300 degrees F for 30 minutes. Most commercial soils are at least pasteurized, if not sterilized. Check the label.

PLANTING: Be sure that all containers to be used are clean. The type of container is not important, but shallow ones are preferred. Water the soil thoroughly and let it drain completely before planting. Spread the seed evenly over the top of the soil. Cover the seed lightly with the mix or very fine sand. When planted, cover the container with any transparent lid. This will retain moisture and allow light to reach the seedlings.

GERMINATION: Cactus seeds need both light and warmth to germinate. A sunny window is a good location, but be careful the light is not too strong and therefore too hot. The moisture retained by the cover should be sufficient to germinate the seed. Most cactus seeds germinate within 3 weeks, but some take much longer – be patient. Once the spines are showing, raise the cover for ventilation during the day. Do not allow the soil to dry out. The amount of water will depend on how much light and heat the seedlings receive. Watch the seedlings carefully. Do not swamp them in puddled water but do not let them dry out completely.

REPOTTING: Seedlings are ready to transplant into larger containers when they are the size of marbles between 6 months to a year after germination. Be sure the soil mix is very well drained, and the container is no larger than twice the diameter of the plant. At this size, plants can be grown in clumps or groups of 6-8 per pot until they are about 1 inch across, then separated and individually re-potted. Lift the small plants carefully from the growing mix, place in the new container, firm the soil around the roots, and water in.
 It is usually best to let the young plants recover from transplanting in a shaded area. Even in cacti that naturally grow with full sun, seedlings will be tender to the full sun until they are older. Acclimate a young plant to the sun gradually beginning when it is about 1 inch across. It is often easier to acclimate young plants to the sun in the winter, and provide some shade in the summer until they are about 3 inches across.

FERTILIZATION: Fertilize young seedlings monthly in the growing season, usually the warm season. Use a formulation specifically for cactus, or an all purpose soluble houseplant formula at ½ the recommended strength.

Care Of Cacti In Containers

Cacti are a group of succulent plants that do well in containers under the right conditions. They are native to the New World. These plants are diverse both in form and color, clumping or solitary. They can range in size from very small to more than 40 feet tall. Most cacti are best grown outdoors in filtered sun or on a bright patio. Some can tolerate full sun. Smaller species may be kept in a container. The larger varieties can start out containerized but will outgrow their pots and can be moved to the landscape, depending on the species, where they can enjoy more growing space.

SOIL: Most cacti should be grown in mineral-based soils consisting of a mixture of sands, silts, and gravel (good drainage) and which does not harden when dry. Cacti from tropical dry forests and high altitude regions benefit from a mix containing 25-50% decomposed organic matter. Epiphytic cacti such as Christmas cacti like a 1/3 – 1/3 – 1/3 mix of bark, pumice and decomposed organic matter. No peat should be used in any of these mixes. Organic matter consisting of well-decomposed plant material or worm castings is acceptable. If you wish to use peat-based soil mixes, you can, provided that you re-pot every 2-3 years. No commercial mixes come up to these standards as of this time, so you will need to formulate your own.

WATER: It is completely false that cacti need no water; after all, they are composed principally of water. What is true is that they require less water than violets, but more than a rock. Water cacti when they are actively growing or are wilting. Wilting appears as shrinkage of the plant or wrinkling of the surface. Most cacti grow actively in the spring and summer, but some grow in the other seasons as well so you will need to watch them carefully. Water only when the soil is nearly dry. You can test for dry sub-surface soil with your finger, a wooden pencil or popsicle stick (damp soil will cling to the wood), or (best) with a moisture meter. Water all of the soil thoroughly until the water runs out of the drain holes. Use only pots with drain holes, and if you use pots with saucers, be sure to empty the saucer after watering. The rule is ―no swamps.‖ The warmer the weather, the more frequently water is needed, unless the plant is dormant. In winter, little or no water is needed, even for cacti in active growth, because it is cool. Natural rain is very beneficial, and water may be applied from overhead (which helps clean the plant), at the soil line, or from below. Remember not to let the plant stand in a saucer of water.

LIGHT: Cacti, excepting epiphytes, are best grown outdoors. Interiors are usually too dark for good growth unless assisted by high-intensity lights. Cacti grown indoors very frequently develop pointy heads or other forms of stem stretching. Cacti should be grown outdoors in conditions ranging from full sun to 50% shade, depending on the species and on the size of the plant. If the cactus gets too much sun it will sunburn, which results in a yellowing of the skin, progressing to a browning (killing) of the skin on the sunniest side. If this occurs, provide shade immediately. Eastern exposures are gentlest, western sunlight is fiercest.

FERTILIZATION: Container grown plants need fertilizer because the soil will be exhausted of nutrients over time. The frequency of fertilization depends on how fast you want the plant to grow and the strength, or  concentration, of the fertilizer that you use. Remember that fast growth may produce weak cells, leading to over-tenderness. Fertilize at least once every four weeks during the plant’s growing season. Use the concentration recommended for ornamental plants on the fertilizer package. If you fertilize with each watering cut the strength of the solution accordingly. Use a low nitrogen fertilizer, such as 10-30-20. As a slow-acting organic fertilizer, fish emulsion is effective.

TRANSPLANTING/REPOTTING: Transplanting should be done when the plant has filled the pot, or, in the case of tall species, when the pot becomes top-heavy. If the soil in the new destination is the same or similar to that in which the plant is growing, simply shake the plant free of its container, keeping the soil ball intact if possible. Rough up the edges of the soil ball and then replant, keeping the soil level the same as the former location. If the soil/root ball collapses, wait a week to let the roots callus, then plant, using dry soil. If you are changing soil types from organic to mineral, first remove all old soil from the roots using an old toothbrush to get at the most stubborn bits. Cut off any broken roots and let dry until all wounds have callused over, then re-pot or plant using dry soil to fill in so that the soil will flow and fill in all air pockets. Wait a few days, then water in to settle the soil. It is best to transplant when the plant is actively growing, but if you must, you can do it anytime.

PESTS AND DISEASES: Cacti have few diseases and pests. Most problems are environmental. Pointy heads in globular cacti or stringy narrow stems in others–Etiolation caused by too little light–give more light. Yellowing or browning of the skin: especially on the sunny side—Sunburn—give more shade immediately. Wilting, wrinkling, shrinkage: dry soil, needs water. If the soil is wet, then roots have died due to swamping—remove from damp soil, re-root, and transplant. White cottony masses or white rice-like objects on plants: Cochineal scale or mealy bug—wash off with a hard jet of water, or apply alcohol or a pesticide for scale insects. Inspect plant often to check for recurrence. Very fine spider webbing in the spines: sometimes with red bead-size mites, and graying of the skin—Red spider mite. Wash off the water and use overhead watering to prevent reoccurrence. In severe cases use miticide treatment. Large larvae (grubs) tunneling inside stems, large black adults feeding on tips of plant: Longhorn beetle—remove adults at dawn and kill, or place them in a large prickly pear cactus clump some distance away.

Plant being eaten: Rabbit, rodent or javelina damage—Protect plant with a wire cage or move out of reach. Wet rot anywhere on the stem: Bacterial rot (Erwinia carnegieana)—Cut away all rotted tissue down to fresh, discolored tissue. Air dry. Do not fill in holes. Dry rot on tips or in the whole plant: Fungal dry rot (Helminthosporum cactivorum)—Cut away all dried and discolored tissue. Air dry.

Desert Composting

Composting is the managed decomposition of organic matter through biological processes resulting in humus material that can be used to improve soil structure. As a soil amendment, compost loosens heavy clay soils and enhances aeration. It allows sandy soils to hold moisture and nutrients for root absorption. Many home gardeners create compost piles in their backyards. Cities and towns encourage this to alleviate the unnecessary quantities of organic material going to landfills. Process: A compost pile is essentially an active microbial community. In the process of decaying organic matter, bacteria are the initial, most numerous and effective decomposers. Fungi and protozoa also break down plant tissue and somewhat later in the cycle centipedes, millipedes, beetles, earthworms and other organisms do their part. As microorganisms work to digest the material in a compost pile, they produce heat and carbon dioxide. This is why an active compost system will heat up. The result of this high temperature is that very few, if any, pathogens and weed seeds survive the aerobic composting process. 

Composting structures: The type of structure or method chosen to make compost is really a matter of personal preference. Materials can be composted in a heap or a bin can be used to contain materials neatly. If the compost system is going to be visible it should be tidy and somewhat attractive. Some people don’t mind seeing a pile of leaves in the back yard but a well built composting unit or a manufactured recycled plastic bin may be more desirable where aesthetics are a consideration. There are three basic types of composting structures: holding units, multi-stage units, and enclosed bins. Holding bins are the simplest type and are constructed of recycled wood, block, hardware cloth or any material that will hold the organic matter together. Multi-stage units are a series of two or more bins. They are appropriate for homes, community areas, or institutions with large gardens and high volumes of organic waste. 

Material in one bin can decompose while new materials can be placed into a second bin. A third bin can be used for final curing. Enclosed bins are the most appropriate for small yards. Construct an enclosed bin at home using a barrel or garbage can. A variety of bins including models that rotate or roll is available through garden centers and mail order catalogs. Many cities offer compost bins to homeowners at little or no cost. Any structure used should be at least three feet tall and wide to hold an adequate amount of material. 

Materials: All organic materials contain carbon and nitrogen in varying proportions. In general, moist green materials such as plant trimmings, fresh grass clippings, and kitchen vegetable scraps contain a higher proportion of nitrogen while dry brown materials such as dead leaves, brush, straw, and paper contain a higher proportion of carbon. To create ideal conditions for decomposition mix materials in the compost pile so that there is an approximate ratio of 3:1 brown carbon to green nitrogen. A pile with more brown material will still decompose but it will take longer. If too much green material is added the pile may develop an odor. 

Do not add any meat, dairy products, fats, oils or pet feces as these may cause odors or contain pathogens. Surface Area: The more surface area the microorganisms have to work on the faster the materials are decomposed. Chopping garden wastes or running them through a shredding machine or lawnmower will speed the composting process. 

Moisture and Aeration: The microorganisms in compost need oxygen and moisture to survive. They function best when the compost materials are kept about as moist as a wrung-out sponge. It is easy to moisten the pile as it is built and when turned. Turning or mixing the pile every one to two weeks provides the necessary oxygen for the microorganisms and significantly expedites the composting process. A pile that is not turned may take three to four times longer to decompose. Time: The composting process can take approximately two months to a year. The following practices will speed the decomposition of materials: – Keeping the proper proportion of carbon and nitrogen materials in the pile; – Turning the pile and keeping it moist; – Cutting large items into smaller pieces before adding them to the pile. 

Using Compost: Mix compost into vegetable and flower beds, blend it with potting soil to revitalize container plants, or spread it on lawns as a fertilizer. Use compost as a mulch around less desert-adapted trees and shrubs to cool the root zone and increase soil moisture retention during summer months. Most desert natives do not need compost as a soil amendment since they have evolved to thrive in soils with low organic content.

Fertilizing A Southwest Garden

Most native and desert-adapted plants in the landscape do not generally require fertilizer as they are adapted to our soil conditions. In most cases, fertilizers are generally applied to prevent deficiencies. If fertilizers are needed, one application for the year is usually sufficient. If you did not fertilize in March or in April, go ahead and fertilize your landscape plants if necessary.  However, it is recommended to fertilize your landscape plants the early part of May. For more information on fertilizing and plant deficiencies go to the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Publications: and /sites/dbg.dd/files/nutrient_deficiencies.az1106.pdf0_s.pdf
Periodically fertilizing may be needed for plants in containers as nutrients in the soil will have diminished over time. Always follow directions on the label.
Continue to fertilize your warm-season annuals and herbaceous and woody perennials in containers if necessary. 
Cacti and warm-season succulents in containers should be fertilized at least once during the month. Do not fertilize any winter-growing succulents such as Live Forever (Dudleya saxosa ssp. collomiae), Succulent Geraniums (Pelargonium spp.), Iceplants (Malephora spp.,Drosanthemum spp., Cephalophyllum spp.), Living Stones (Lithops spp.) and crassulaceous plants (Kalanchoe spp., Cotyledon spp., Echeveriaspp.) as they are now undergoing their summer dormant period.
Continue to fertilize your vegetable and herb garden as needed.

Pruning Your Southwest Garden

Pruning should be done to maintain plant health (remove dead, damaged or diseased portions, cross branching, etc.), to highlight the “natural” shape of the plant, to train a young plant, and to eliminate hazards. Excessive or heavy pruning causes significant stress to trees and shrubs. The best practices are to prune the least amount necessary and prune for legitimate reasons. How much to prune depends on the size, species, age, as well as your intentions. Two good principles to remember–a tree or shrub can recover from several small pruning wounds faster than from a single large wound and never remove more than 25% of the canopy in a year. For more information register for a Garden class offered on pruning that will teach you the proper pruning techniques for trees and shrubs or visit for information on proper pruning of young and mature trees.
If necessary, native and desert-adapted spring-flowering shrubs can be pruned after flowering has diminished. However, prune before the upcoming hot, summer months. For more information on pruning shrubs go to the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension at:
Lightly prune your Mesquites (Prosopis spp.) and Palo Verdes (Parkinsonia spp.) to remove dead and crossing branches.
Pruning newly planted trees and shrubs is not recommended and in fact, can be detrimental.  However, at planting time prune broken or torn and diseased branches. Save other pruning activities for the second or third year. For more information on developing a healthy tree visit
Prune Prickly-pears (Opuntia spp.) or Chollas (Cylindropuntia) after flowering.   If pruning your prickly-pears or chollas to maintain size, for propagation or to remove a damaged or diseased stem, prune at the joint or segment.  Use a sharp, clean pruning tool and spray tool periodically with a 70% alcohol solution to prevent infection. If the pruned stem is to be used for propagation, allow the cutting to dry out for a week before planting.
Continue to remove spent stalks of aloes, agaves, and other succulents.
Spring-blooming perennials such as Penstemons (Penstemon spp.), Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa), Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua), Fleabane (Erigeron divergens), and Golden Columbine (Aquilegia chrysantha) should be producing seed. Allow them to produce seed before pruning spent flowering stems. The seed is a valuable food source for many animals.
Deadhead herbaceous perennials to encourage continued flowering including Desert Marigold (Baileya multiradiata), Chocolate Flower (Berlandiera lyrata), Red Sage (Salvia coccinea), Mealy-cup Sage (Salvia farinacea), Gaura (Gaura lindheimeri), Tickseeds (Coreopsis spp.), Angelita-daisy (Tetraneuris acaulis), and Gaillardia (Gaillardia pulchella).

What To Plant In May

Planting can still be done during the month of May. However, it is crucial that newly planted plants are monitored carefully. Follow the watering schedule for newly planted plants in the watering section.
When planting native and desert-adapted plants, it is usually unnecessary to back-fill with soil amendments and vitamins or to add rooting hormones. However, a slow-release fertilizer high in nitrogen and phosphorous can be added to the backfill, if needed. 
Many cacti can be started from seed at this time.  Seed can be soaked overnight in water to help start the germination process. Place seed in a well-draining soil mix (½ quality potting soil and ½ perlite or pumice) and lightly cover with potting mix or gently press the seed into the soil. Keep soil moist until germination occurs.
• Mexican Hat (Ratibida columnifera)
• Red Sage (Salvia coccinea)
• Desert Senna (Senna covesii)
• Sacred Datura (Datura wrightii)
• Mealy-cup Sage (Salvia farinacea)
• Jerusalem artichoke
• sweet potato
• watermelon
• tomatillo
• jicama
• eggplant and pepper (by mid-month)
• Black-eyed peas (early part of May)
• cantaloupe
• okra
• tepary beans
• muskmelon
• tomatillo
• yardlong bean
• pumpkin
• summer and winter squash
• watermelon
Try the variety of melons from Native Seeds/SEARCH.
• basil
• Mexican-oregano (Lippia graveolens)
• Mexican-tarragon (Tagetes lucida)
• Cuban-oregano
• amaranth
• Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea)
• Prickly-pears (Opuntia spp.)
• Chollas (Cylindropuntia spp.)
• Barrel cacti (Ferocactus spp.)
• Hedgehogs (Echinocereus spp.)
• Pincushions (Mammillaria spp.)
• Easter Lilies (Echinopsis spp.),
• Paper-spine Cholla (Tephrocactus articulatus var. papyracanthus)
• Agaves (Agave spp.)
• Aloes (Aloe spp.)
• Candelilla (Euphorbia antisyphilitica)
• Desert Spoon (Dasylirion wheeleri)
• Giant Hesperaloe (Hesperaloe funifera)
• Slipper Plant (Pedilanthus macrocarpus)
• Elephant Food (Portulacaria afra)
• Burseras, Elephant Trees (Bursera spp.)
• Madagascar-palm (Pachypodium lamerei)
• Madagascar-ocotillo (Alluaudia procera)
• Dyckia spp.
• Carrion Flowers (Stapelia spp.)
• Texas-tuberose (Manfreda maculosa)
• Limberbushes (Jatropha spp.)
• Red-yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora)
Most Yuccas (Yucca spp.) can be planted with the exception of Joshua Trees (Yucca brevifolia).
When transplanting cacti and succulents, mark either the south or west side and plant facing the orientation you marked to avoid the burning of tender tissues. Most nurseries will mark the side of the container to help you determine proper planting orientation. However, if the original orientation is not known, newly planted cacti and succulents need to be covered with shade cloth if the plant surface appears to yellow or pale suddenly. Use a shade cloth rated between 30-60% as anything higher will block most of the sunlight and will not be suitable for your cacti and succulents. You may need to keep the shade cloth on the plant for the duration of the summer.
• Ironwood (Olneya tesota)
• Blue Palo Verde (Parkinsonia florida)
• Little-leaf Palo Verde (Parkinsonia microphylla)
• Mesquites (Prosopis spp.)
• Golden Leadball Tree (Leucaena retusa)
• Desert-willow (Chilopsis linearis)
• Palo Blanco (Mariosousa willardiana syn. Acacia willardiana)
• Catclaw Acacia (Senegalia greggii syn. Acacia greggii)
• Canyon Hackberry (Celtis laevigata var. reticulata syn. Celtis reticulata)
• Texas-ebony (Ebenopsis ebano)
• Twisted Acacia (Vachellia bravoensis syn. Acacia schaffneri)
• Feather Tree (Lysiloma watsonii)
• Anacacho Orchid-tree (Bauhinia lunarioides)
• Vitex (Vitex agnus-castus)
• Baby Bonnets (Coursetia glandulosa)
• Yellow Bells (Tecoma spp.)
• Texas-sages (Leucophyllum spp.)
• Creosote (Larrea tridentata)
• Superstition Mallow (Abutilon palmeri)
• San Marcos Hibiscus (Gossypium harknessii)
• Desert Cotton (Gossypium thurberi)
• Guayacán (Guaiacum coulteri)
• Sennas (Senna spp.)
• Velvet-pod Mimosa (Mimosa dysocarpa)
• Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens)
• Fire Bush (Hamelia patens)
• Ruellia (Ruellia peninsularis)
• Lantana (Lantana camara)
• Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha)
• Silver Nightshade (Solanum hindsianum)
• Little-leaf Cordia (Cordia parvifolia)
• Showy Mendora (Menodora longiflora)
• Sky Flower (Duranta erecta)
• Bird of Paradise species (Caesalpinia spp.)
• Sacred Datura (Datura wrightii)
• Desert Four O’Clock (Mirabilis multiflora)
• Arizona Foldwing (Dicliptera resupinata)
• Buffalo Gourd (Cucurbita foetidissima)
• Mealy-cup Sage (Salvia farinacea)
• Yerba Mansa (Anemopsis californica)
• Rose-mallow (Hibiscus coulteri)
• Wine Cups (Callirhoe involucrata)
• Hummingbird Trumpet (Epilobium canum ssp. latifolium)
• Chocolate Flower (Berlandiera lyrata)
• Desert Senna (Senna covesii)
• Trailing Lantana (Lantana montevidensis)
• White Plumbago (Plumbago scandens)
• Mist Flower (Conoclinium dissectum)
• Rain-lilies (Zephyranthes spp.)
• Yuca (Merremia aurea)
• Queen’s Wreath (Antigonon leptopus)
• Yellow Orchid-vine (Callaeum macropterum)
• Passionflowers (Passiflora spp.)
• Arizona Canyon Grape (Vitis arizonica)
• Old Man’s Beard (Clematis drummondii)

Watering Your Southwest Garden In May

As the weather warms, plant water needs will increase. Now is the time to adjust your watering schedule for the summer. Observe plants regularly for signs of water stress. Some signs to look for include:  wilting, curling leaves, yellowing or falling of older leaves, and dead stems or branches.
The amount of water and watering frequency depends on many factors. These include soil type, weather (temperature, humidity, rainfall, etc.), microclimates, cultural practices, plant size and species, and whether newly planted or established in the landscape (two years or more). Below are general guidelines to help you determine how much and how often to water your landscape and container plantings to keep them healthy when rainfall is lacking.
Established native or desert-adapted trees and shrubs should be watered at least once to twice monthly. Water at least 3 feet deep for your trees and 2 feet deep for your shrubs. Always allow the soil to dry out between each irrigation cycle.
Natural rainfall may be adequate for most well-established cacti and succulents. However, if rainfall is insufficient, water may be needed at least once to twice during the month of May. Water your cacti and succulents to a depth of at least 8-12 inches. Always allow the soil to dry out between each irrigation cycle.
Established herbaceous perennials, groundcovers, and vines should be watered every two to three weeks and at least 1 foot deep. Always allow the soil to dry out between each irrigation cycle.
Wait a week after planting your cacti and succulents before watering to minimize the chance of rot. After the initial irrigation of your succulents, allow the soil to dry out and water every 10-14 days. Cacti need to be watered once more after initial watering during the month but allow the soil to dry out between watering.
Newly planted native and desert-adapted trees and shrubs may need to be watered more frequently until established. It can take up to 3-5 years for trees and at least 1-2 years for shrubs to become established in the landscape.  After planting your trees and shrubs, they should be watered immediately and the moisture monitored for the next few days to keep the root ball from drying out. Schedule your irrigation cycle for trees and shrubs every 7-10 days during the month. Allow the soil to dry out between irrigations and always water deeply, 3 feet for trees and 2 feet for shrubs.
Newly planted native and desert-adapted herbaceous perennials, groundcovers and vines should also be watered immediately and for the next few days to keep the root ball from drying out. Schedule your irrigation cycle for herbaceous perennials, groundcovers, and vines for at least once to twice weekly and to a depth of 1 foot. Allow soil to dry out between watering.
Agaves and other succulents (Aloe spp., Pachypodium lamereiBeaucarnea recurvataPedilanthus macrocarpusEuphorbia spp., Gasteria spp.,Haworthia spp.) in containers should be watered at least once to twice this month. Cacti in containers should be watered at least once this month. However, cacti and succulents in small containers may need to be watered more often especially cacti and succulent seedlings.
Keep an eye on your warm-season annuals and herbaceous perennials in containers. Water them at least once to three times weekly.
Herbs may need to be watered every 3-5 days and vegetables need to be watered every 2-3 days. Water your herb and vegetable plants to at least a foot in depth.