Saxon Holt
What to do in your Southwest garden in October


Winter-blooming succulent aloes should go in the ground now. Try the large cape aloe (A. ferox) or the lower-growing blue elf (A. x ‘Blue Elf’).

Grow Greek germander (Teucrium aroanium) for a dense, silver groundcover that will thrive from Albuquerque to Tucson. You’ll have a mat of purple flowers next spring. Each plant grows six inches tall, and 2–3 feet wide.

Sow seeds of cool-season herbs, including cilantro, dill, and parsley; plant seedlings of lavender and sage.

Planting cold-hardy species of desert trees including mesquites, palo verde, and most acacia, and higher elevation species, such as oaks.

For a green lawn year-round, start over-seeding Bermuda turf with perennial rye grass once the nighttime temperatures drop below 65°.


Cut back and prune to shape Mediterranean plants, including olive, rosemary, and santolina towards month’s end.

Don’t prune or fertilize frost-tender trees and woody shrubs; doing so encourages sensitive new growth right before winter freezes.


Separate agave offsets and pot them up in small ceramic pots filled with a cactus potting soil. If you place the pups in a sunny spot, they’ll be ready to give as gifts for the holidays.

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