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ChrisA

I wanted to start a thread to share some photos of non-palm, subtropics plants that can be found in New Mexico.  

 

I am located in Albuquerque, zone 7b officially, although it has been trending more towards a cold 8a or 8b climate over the last 20 years. See my W. filifera in albuquerque post in the cold hardy forum for an analysis of this year’s winter temps.

The first photo is of a Coolibah which has been in the ground for over 10 years.  It’s had one winter where the trunk did not die back to the ground, otherwise it reliably fries and takes all summer to make several more 4-5 foot tall shoots which are thin enough to again be smoked by any temps below 25 the following winter.  Now it is in far too much shade as it’s been far outpaced by the nearby Filibusta and a California Sycamore.

909ED942-9D0B-4FB9-99B8-54EACF797168.jpeg

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ChrisA

Another subtropical is the Chihuahuan and Sonoran desert native Fairy Duster, Calliandra eriophylla.

 

This was originally planted around 2008 from a one gallon and has occasionally dies back to the ground.  Seedlings sprout up every year and new growth suckers from the bases in addition to the stalks which sometimes survive the winter.  This last winter had all mild days and so this year is its best yet.

 

AE740CBA-AD8B-49BE-9DD8-7D8D82B49787.jpeg

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Desert DAC
On 5/6/2018, 7:57:11, ChrisA said:

Another subtropical is the Chihuahuan and Sonoran desert native Fairy Duster, Calliandra eriophylla.

 

This was originally planted around 2008 from a one gallon and has occasionally dies back to the ground.  Seedlings sprout up every year and new growth suckers from the bases in addition to the stalks which sometimes survive the winter.  This last winter had all mild days and so this year is its best yet.

Glad you started this sub-topic opn non-palm, subtropical plants. Looks like a blast. I'll need to contribute some shortened lists and photos from all my years in ABQ plus several in the El Paso-Las Cruces area.

Not sure what "subtropical" means, though, as some geographers consider only it on the wet areas between temperate and tropical, while others allow dry climates into subtropical but as dry subtropical. Others draw the line between temperate and subtropical at near 30 deg N (there goes El Paso), or 64F yearly mean temperature with the coldest  month <42F (El Paso and Las Vegas NV make it), or the coldest month <32F (helloABQ and central NM, but not Santa Fe). I assume you mean a plant with a range mostly wihin one of the above climate belts?

A definition might help me narrow down what I would contribute. Some might be surprised how many "subtropical" plants are native or grown in our state, especially in ABQ where certain folks before I moved there (1992) and since I've moved (2013) have perpetuated a really cold bias over reality!

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Desert DAC

I thought this post would have many replies and plants by now. I think "arid warm temperate" is a more accurate term than "arid subtropical" for Albuquerque and even El Paso, by the way...arid subtropical would imply warmer winters like Tucson, Presidio TX, Phoenix, Palm Springs, etc, where hard freezes below 28F are rare.

Below is a quick, very partial list that hopefully spurs more warm temperate or subtropical companion plants for hardy palms in NM, namely USDA z 7-8 in central and southern NM where several palms can grow well. I'll start with some evergreen plants that are bullet-proof, i.e. need little to no protection from cold and heat in zones where they are adapted. Some have different sun, water, and soil needs - do your research. (N) = native in New Mexico (but not everywhere in the state)

Feel free to comment or add some of your own bullet-proof warm temperate or subtropical plants, so we can have a larger list.

TREES:
Hairy Mountain Mahogany / Cercocarpus breviflorus (N)

Yaupon Holly / Ilex vomitoria

Arizona White Oak / Quercus arizonica (N)

Escarpment Live Oak / Quercus fusiformis (N)

Gray Oak / Quercus grisea (N)

Desert or Shrub Live Oak / Quercus turbinella (N)

Rosewood / Vauquelinia spp.

 

SHRUBS / VINES:
Pointleaf Manzanita / Arctostaphylos pungens (N)

Algerita / Berberis hemaetocarpa (N)

Agritos / Berberis trifoiiolata (N)

Crossvine / Bignonia capreolata

Winter Gem Boxwood / Buxus japonicum

Silverberry / Eleagnus pungens

Turpentine Bush / Ericameria laricifolia (N)

Silktassel Bush / Garrya wrightii (N)

Red Yucca selections / Hesperaloe parviflora

Creosote Bush / Larrea tridentata (N)

Texas Ranger / Leucophyllum spp.

India Hawthorn / Rhaphiolepis indica

Sugarbush / Rhus ovata

Evergreen Sumac / Rhus virens (N)

Rose Sage / Salvia pachyphylla

Trident Sage / Salvia x 'Trident'

 

ACCENTS / LARGER SUCCULENTS:
Chisos Agave / Agave havardiana

Parrys Agave / Agave parryi (N)

Mescal Agave / Agave parryi var. neomexicana (N)

Desert Candle / Dasylirion leiophyllum (N)

Desert Spoon / Dasylirion wheeleri (N)

Berargrass / Nolina greenei (N)

Engelmann or Desert Prickly Pear / Opuntia engelmannii (N)

Banana Yucca / Yucca baccata (N)

Moundlily / Yucca gloriosa

Paleleaf Yucca / Yucca pallida

Twistleaf Yucca / Yucca rupicola 

 

GROUNDCOVERS / GRASSES:
Damianita / Chrysactinia mexicana (N)

Grayleaf Cotoneaster / Cotoneaster glaucophyllus

Wright's Buckwheat / Eriogonum wrightii (N)

Monkey Grass or Lily Turf / Liriope muscari

Mondo Grass / Ophiopogon japonicum

Trailing Germander / Teucrium chamaedrys

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Desert DAC

Here's a healthy Escarpment Live Oak / Quercus fusiformis in Albuquerque, about 35 years old. It's in Nob Hill, SE of UNM, on the north side of Garfield and west of Carlisle. Photo May 2020:

415435188_Quercus_fusiformis-NobHill1_2020-05-18-SML.thumb.jpg.f5279072ceac11ec2876f24bfa54c4ed.jpg

By chance, years ago I knew a woman who grew up in that house and told a few of us about that tree.

I recall her mother collected the seed for that live oak from a Dallas TX cemetery with a number of live oaks, but her seed was from one of the few oaks not damaged by their Dec 1983 freeze. (295 consecutive hours below 32F) It germinated and grew, so she planted it in a small area of her back yard. After it quickly grew in that space, she then moved it to the 2nd location further out in back. She told a couple local nursery owners about it, but they immediately dismissed it as not hardy, typical of still too many of your "green" industry people. I think by the time it was 10-12 feet tall, it was moved to the 3rd and final location in the photo. 

Until about 2010, there was an irrigated Bermudagrass lawn there, but the new owners put gravel over it. It might look more attractive than the usual gravelscape by adding a mass of several Nolina texana or N. greenei under it, plus some Salvia farinacae in between and at the edges.

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ahosey01
On 11/21/2019 at 9:26 PM, Desert DAC said:

I thought this post would have many replies and plants by now. I think "arid warm temperate" is a more accurate term than "arid subtropical" for Albuquerque and even El Paso, by the way...arid subtropical would imply warmer winters like Tucson, Presidio TX, Phoenix, Palm Springs, etc, where hard freezes below 28F are rare.

Below is a quick, very partial list that hopefully spurs more warm temperate or subtropical companion plants for hardy palms in NM, namely USDA z 7-8 in central and southern NM where several palms can grow well. I'll start with some evergreen plants that are bullet-proof, i.e. need little to no protection from cold and heat in zones where they are adapted. Some have different sun, water, and soil needs - do your research. (N) = native in New Mexico (but not everywhere in the state)

Feel free to comment or add some of your own bullet-proof warm temperate or subtropical plants, so we can have a larger list.

TREES:
Hairy Mountain Mahogany / Cercocarpus breviflorus (N)

Yaupon Holly / Ilex vomitoria

Arizona White Oak / Quercus arizonica (N)

Escarpment Live Oak / Quercus fusiformis (N)

Gray Oak / Quercus grisea (N)

Desert or Shrub Live Oak / Quercus turbinella (N)

Rosewood / Vauquelinia spp.

 

SHRUBS / VINES:
Pointleaf Manzanita / Arctostaphylos pungens (N)

Algerita / Berberis hemaetocarpa (N)

Agritos / Berberis trifoiiolata (N)

Crossvine / Bignonia capreolata

Winter Gem Boxwood / Buxus japonicum

Silverberry / Eleagnus pungens

Turpentine Bush / Ericameria laricifolia (N)

Silktassel Bush / Garrya wrightii (N)

Red Yucca selections / Hesperaloe parviflora

Creosote Bush / Larrea tridentata (N)

Texas Ranger / Leucophyllum spp.

India Hawthorn / Rhaphiolepis indica

Sugarbush / Rhus ovata

Evergreen Sumac / Rhus virens (N)

Rose Sage / Salvia pachyphylla

Trident Sage / Salvia x 'Trident'

 

ACCENTS / LARGER SUCCULENTS:
Chisos Agave / Agave havardiana

Parrys Agave / Agave parryi (N)

Mescal Agave / Agave parryi var. neomexicana (N)

Desert Candle / Dasylirion leiophyllum (N)

Desert Spoon / Dasylirion wheeleri (N)

Berargrass / Nolina greenei (N)

Engelmann or Desert Prickly Pear / Opuntia engelmannii (N)

Banana Yucca / Yucca baccata (N)

Moundlily / Yucca gloriosa

Paleleaf Yucca / Yucca pallida

Twistleaf Yucca / Yucca rupicola 

 

GROUNDCOVERS / GRASSES:
Damianita / Chrysactinia mexicana (N)

Grayleaf Cotoneaster / Cotoneaster glaucophyllus

Wright's Buckwheat / Eriogonum wrightii (N)

Monkey Grass or Lily Turf / Liriope muscari

Mondo Grass / Ophiopogon japonicum

Trailing Germander / Teucrium chamaedrys

You could add fruiting, weeping mulberry cultivars.  Thin weeping branches make them a little more cold sensitive than typical Morus alba, so are better adapted 7-8 rather than 4-6... Because of their shape and dwarf size, too, you can actually harvest the mulberries instead of stepping on them and staining your sidewalk. 

I also like Ficus carica, Quercus virginiana and Cupressus arizonica (the blue ice cultivar is a wild looking cypress).  

Salix babylonica would do well in zone 7 near a natural pond - they don’t love the cold.  Same with Nyssa sylvatica - but that tree definitely needs the wet in the winter.  Honestly that’s probably the best looking subtropical broadleaf tree I can think of.  It is naturally formed like a specimen pine, but is deciduous.

Then completely not subtropical (will widthstand cold your area will never know) but a beautiful tree nonetheless and a good complement to any yard is Gingko biloba.  Modestly drought tolerant as well, once established.

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ahosey01

Also I didn’t think of this but Juglans major is a beautiful subtropical highland tree with incredible wood... but only recommended for parents.  In late summer, you gotta send your kids out with Walmart bags to pick up after them!

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ahosey01

AAlso I didn’t think of this but Juglans major is a beautiful subtropical highland tree with incredible wood... but only recommended for parents.  In late summer, you gotta send your kids out with Walmart bags to pick up after them!

Then also cliffrose. The blooms look like something out of a doctor seuss book!

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Desert DAC

Quercus suber / Cork Oak in Belen NM, S Eleventh St and Didier. Photo December 2013. The first time I saw this oak, Mike Melendrez took me there, and it was shaded out by an ash and possibly another tree, too. It's still deformed by that.

IMG_7259.thumb.JPG.c924667863216167f60f5c03a7db3d2b.JPG

IMG_7273.thumb.JPG.898601aa176281a6e695973f814e8d71.JPG

Here's what was left of one of the ABQ Convention Center Q. suber trees.

IMG_7285.thumb.JPG.bb3361672e94e0a1d3f3f7fb0ddedf7d.JPG

IMG_7289.thumb.JPG.81a60cd1193c7d59983a41d060276e69.JPG

It's never a good idea to plant marginal plants too close to a wall or cram them under overhangs, bridges, etc to give them a little extra protection...just assume they can mature, and establish such plants with appropriate culture. If they make it, great, and there's something better than the usual mesic, colder climate lollipop trees we can point to.  Or it dies and you are left to wonder if it would have been best to plant several of the same plant, or even several plants in some different places, to really know.

Unless one is trying to grow non hardy plants and really push it, like the South Valley saguaro I have old pics of with lights strung on it.

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