ASK CARIANNE – Is there a “best time” to plant natives?

Posted Oct 05, 2021

Jessica asks: When is the best time to plant natives?          Thanks, Jessica

Dear Jessica,

Technically, native plants can go in the ground any time of year, but there are ways to be strategic with your scheduling to maximize success. My first tip is to coordinate your planting not only with the season, but with what is happening with the weather! You can get plants off to a great start by getting them in the ground in conjunction with our rainy seasons (monsoon and fall/winter).  As we know, just HOW rainy it is can vary greatly from year to year, and so I like to keep tabs on weather predictions to help guide big planting schedules.

  • Fall and winter are great seasons to install plants, as this gives the roots a good amount of time to get established before the hot, dry part of the year! I like to put spring native wildflower seeds down right when a fall or winter rainstorm is rolling in!
  • Spring is a getting to be a less ideal time to install plants, but it can be done! Just plan to give your new plants lots of attention (shade and water as necessary) as the heat approaches.
  • Summer is special. Believe it or not, the heat of summer is a great time to install native legume trees, as it is their active growing season. My favorite time to put plants in is during the monsoon season (when we have a good one). This is a good time to seed in your native summer-blooming wildflowers and grasses. Even when it is not raining, plants respond well to the high relative humidity. During dry monsoons I tend to wait until fall to plant, once the heat of summer has passed.

Want to get started right away? There are so many wonderful native plant sales happening across the region this fall! Stay up to date on the locations and times through the Happenings newsletter and this AZNPS website calendar.


Carianne,, [email protected]

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