Low Desert Arizona Garden in October
What grows in low desert Arizona gardens in October? I’ll show you. All of these pictures come from my garden in Mesa, Arizona.
The low desert of Arizona is zone 9a/b and includes cities in and around Phoenix, including Glendale, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, Peoria, Apache Junction, Buckeye, Fountain Hills, Tolleson, San Tan, Surprise, Sun City, Queen Creek, and Goodyear.
“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
— L.M. Montgomery
Living in the low desert of Arizona year-round means intense dry heat in June and July. This is followed by more heat, windstorms, and monsoons in August and September. At the end of the summer, you are ready for the cooler mornings and pleasant (albeit a little warm) days of October.
Certainly, October in the Arizona garden is a busy time. Fortunately, the cooler temperatures are a welcome relief and it’s a pleasure to be outside after the heat of the summer.
Keep reading for garden inspiration, an October garden checklist, and a list of what vegetables, herbs, and flowers to plant in your Arizona garden in October.
Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure policy for more information.
Vegetables growing in the low desert Arizona garden in October
October in the Arizona garden is harvest time for peppers. If you gave them a light prune in September, you can expect new growth and healthy peppers to harvest. Give pepper plants a weekly foliar spray of epsom salt while they are actively growing.
September or early October in Arizona is one of the best times to plant potatoes (not sweet potatoes). Try planting them in grow bags if you are short on space. Read this article to learn how to grow potatoes in containers.
October in Arizona is a great time to plant celery. Plant from seed, starts, or even the cut-off end of a store bought celery.
Cucumelons, also called Mexican Gherkins or mouse melons, that were planted earlier in the summer are finally beginning to take off in the cooler temperatures of October in Arizona.
It’s finally (hopefully) cool enough to plant all the winter greens we’ve been craving all summer. Pay attention to the temperatures and don’t plant them too soon, or they will bolt. Plant several varieties in your garden.
Read this article to learn how to grow roselle hibiscus. Read this post for my favorite ways to use roselle hibiscus.
Malabar spinach is flowering and producing seeds. This green is a star of the summer garden. If you don’t want volunteers popping up in your garden for years to come, pull the spinach before the seeds begin to drop.
Flowers growing in the low desert Arizona garden in October
Petunia season has begun. Refresh and replace old potting soil and plant your favorite cool-loving annuals this month.
Butterfly bush is in bloom in October gardens in Arizona. Keep an eye out and you are sure to spot butterflies on one of their favorite flowers.
October in Arizona is the perfect time to plant wildflowers. Spread seeds in the rocky areas of your yard. The wildflower seeds will germinate with October’s cooler temperatures and rain. Wildflowers provide color and visual interest in your yard until temperatures heat up in the spring. Let seeds drop if you want the wildflowers to come back each year.
Nasturtiums begin to pop up all around my garden in October. Nasturtiums are a great companion plant and a way to prevent garden pests organically. Consider planting some around your garden this month. Read this article to learn how to grow nasturtiums.
Fruit trees in the low desert Arizona garden in October
Pomegranates are ripening. I will probably wait until November to harvest them but check yours by picking one and seeing if the berries are a deep red for most varieties. Read this article to learn how to grow pomegranates.
Peach trees and other deciduous fruit trees‘ leaves are beginning to change color in preparation for losing their leaves. Be sure to clean up around trees, and remove any fallen fruit to prevent pests from overwintering near your trees. Consider planting garlic in your tree wells to deter pests as well.
The citrus in your yard should be looking happy this month. If you didn’t fertilize your trees last month, do it at the beginning of the month. Hopefully, you are seeing new growth being pushed out and lots of fruit ripening on the trees. If your tree is not looking good, evaluate what went wrong this summer. It’s important to make sure you have the right tree in the right spot with the correct watering in your yard.
Herbs in the low desert Arizona garden in October
Harvest basil regularly to ensure a continuous supply. If you want to save seeds, hold off on harvesting and allow basil to flower this month and form seeds. This article shares how to grow basil.
Plant saffron during October. Learn more about how to grow saffron in this blog post.
I purchased my saffron bulbs from Renee’s Garden Seeds. They typically sell and ship them each fall.
Sweet bay leaf is putting on new growth. Harvest the largest, oldest leaves for best flavor.
If you gave your leggy sage a trim back in September, it should fill in with lush new growth this month. If it didn’t survive the summer, October is a great month to plant sage. Read this article to learn how to grow sage.
Low desert Arizona garden in October to-do list:
- Plant trees in October in Arizona. Young trees transplant best.
- Adjust watering of established trees to about once every 7 to 21 days. For more guidelines on watering see Water Use It Wisely.
- Plant shrubs and flowering perennials in October in Arizona.
- Prune established flowering perennials back by about a third. Water well after pruning.
- October is the ideal month to plant many vegetables, herbs, and annual flowers. (See lists below)
Questions about growing citrus? This article answers 10 questions about how to grow citrus and includes guidelines for selecting, planting, watering, and fertilizing citrus.
What to plant in the Arizona garden in October:
Vegetables to plant in the low desert of Arizona in October
Beets, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Chinese Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Collard Greens, Endive, Garlic, I’itoi Onions, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Leeks, Mustard, Onion Plants, Green Onions, Parsnips, Peas, Radishes, Rutabagas, Spinach, Strawberries, Swiss Chard, Turnips
Best from seed: Beets, Carrots, Endive, Green Onions, Leeks, Lettuce, Parsnips, Peas, Radishes, Rutabagas, Spinach, Turnips
Grows best from transplants: Brussels Sprouts, Celery, Strawberries
Best from either seed or transplant: Bok Choy, Broccoli, Cabbage, Chinese Cabbage, Cauliflower, Collard Greens, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leek, Mustard, Swiss Chard
Plant garlic from garlic cloves
Plant I’itoi Onions from I’itoi onion bulbs
Onions grow best from onion seeds (if planted in October – November) or onion transplants (October – early February)
Arizona Vegetable Planting Guide helps you learn when to plant vegetables in Arizona, and whether to plant seeds or transplants.
- PLANTING GUIDE: Each month lists vegetables, fruit & herbs to plant outside & seeds to start indoors.
- HARVEST GUIDE: Photos show what may be ready to harvest that month.
- Planting dates are for the low desert of Arizona (zone 9b).
Herbs to plant in the low desert of Arizona in October
Best from seed: Anise, Borage, Caraway, Chervil, Cilantro*, Dill*, Fennel*, Parsley*
Best from transplant: Garlic Chives, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Marjoram, Mint, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Winter Savory, Thyme
Can be grown either way : Catnip, Chives, Yarrow
* Caraway, Chervil, Cilantro, Dill, Fennel, and Parsley can be grown from a transplant but use small transplants and be careful not to disturb the roots
Arizona Herb Planting Guide helps you learn when to plant over 30 different herbs in Arizona, and whether to plant seeds or transplants.
Flowers to plant in the low desert of Arizona in October
African Daisy, Ageratum, Alyssum, Aster, Baby’s Breath, Begonia, Calendula, Candy Tuft, Carnation, Cornflower, Echinacea, Flax, Foxglove, Gaillardia, Gazania, Geranium, Globe Mallow, Gloriosa Daisy, Hollyhock, Larkspur, Lobelia, Lupine, Mexican Hat, Nasturtium, Ornamental Cabbage, Painted Daisy, Penstemon, Petunia, Phlox, Pincushion Flower, Poppy, Ranunculus, Rudbeckia, Salvia, Shasta Daisy, Snapdragon, Statice, Stock, Strawflower, Sweet Pea, Verbena, Violet, Yarrow
Although summers are hot in the low desert, our winters are mild. Several beautiful flowers grow well during the mild winter and bloom through early spring. In this post, I share my 10 favorite cool-season flowers that love mild winters.
Arizona annual flowers planting guide helps you learn when to plant flowers in Arizona, and whether to plant seeds or transplants.
Flowers to Plant Outside & Seeds to Start Indoors Each Month in the Low Desert of Arizona.
• PLANTING GUIDE: Each month lists annual flowers and bulbs to plant outside & seeds to start indoors.
• BLOOMING GUIDE: Photos show what may be in bloom that month.
Wednesday 20th of October 2021
Hi Angela please help me I cant find l´itoi onion bulbs for sale nowhere
Friday 22nd of October 2021
Villardi Gardens has had them in the past.
Friday 8th of October 2021
Hello Angela! My fiancé and I love all your tips and tricks for AZ gardening.
We are wondering when should we take our shade cloth down?
Saturday 9th of October 2021
For sure take it down now that temps are below 100°F.
Wednesday 14th of October 2020
everything I try to start from seed gets eaten, any tips on how to prevent this?
Wednesday 14th of October 2020
I have this happen to me in several of my beds as well. If birds are the issue, cover the seedlings/seeds with tulle or netting. If rollie-pollie type bugs are the issue that's tougher. In my beds where that is a bad issue I do a few different things 1. plant larger seedlings 2. plant seeds that they don't like 3. trap the bugs with yeast or citrus traps 4. Use newspaper collars or other barrier type methods. This article may help as well: https://growinginthegarden.com/organic-pest-control-that-really-works/
Tuesday 29th of September 2020
What do you like to use for fertilizer?
Wednesday 30th of September 2020
This is the one I like to use: https://growinginthegarden.com/best-organic-garden-fertilizer/ If you would rather buy it all ready to go I like this granular one:https://amzn.to/2G5bt0v or this liquid one: https://amzn.to/30pfzaF
Sunday 9th of August 2020
Great, thanks :)