Pop these easy-to-grow bulbs into the ground now for showy flowers come spring. Our picks are below; unlike tulips, they’ll return every year in the West’s mild climates. At the nursery, choose firm bulbs without soft or moldy spots. Plant them pointy end up in a site that gets full sun; once planted, keep the soil moist but not soggy. Find a wide variety at brentandbeckysbulbs.com


Freesia. Fragrant blossoms come in white, yellow, red, lavender, and orange. Set corms 2 inches deep and 2 inches apart. Plants disappear in summer (don’t water then). Sunset climate zones 8, 9, 12–24.

Narcissus. These bloom in many sizes and shapes, mainly in shades of white to yellow. Try ‘Inbal’ and ‘Ziva’ for fragrance, ‘Gigantic Star’ for impact, or ‘Minnow’ for tiny blooms. Plant 6 to 8 inches apart. Zones A2, A3, 1–24.

Photo by Getty Images / Alexandra Rowley

What to do in your Southwest garden in November

Scott Calhoun


For reliable fall color in the warmest areas of the Southwest, try these trees: Arizona ash (Fraxinus velutina ‘Bonita’), Red Push pistache (Pistacia ‘Red Push’), and Western cottonwood (Populus fremontii).

If you don’t have room for a tree but still want some autumn color in the garden, plant skunkbush (Rhus trilobata), a compact deciduous shrub that goes from yellow to red, or hacienda creeper (Parthenocissus), a trailing vine that takes on orange and red hues.

Bury spring- and summer- flowering bulbs. A few of our favorites are dwarf iris, oxblood lily (Rhodophiala bifida), and species tulips such as Tulipa clusiana or T. c. chrysantha.

Along a pathway or beneath a ferny tree, plant perennial South African bulbines. Grow the species (Bulbine frutescens) for yellow flowers, or ‘Tangerine’, a dwarf form, for orange ones. Both varieties flower in spring and have long, slender, succulent leaves.

Get garlic in the ground before the month’s end. Consider planting it in your rose beds, if you have them, as some people think that garlic helps repel pests such as aphids and borers.

Plant gazanias for late- winter and early-spring blooms. Our picks: Gazania krebsiana, which has orange flowers, and ‘Butterscotch Baby’, a cold-hardy hybrid with yellow blooms.


Feed succulents that begin to grow after summer dormancy. Give those in containers a half- strength dose of fertilizer.

Stop watering asparagus at the first sign of browning leaves. This gets them ready for dormancy.

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