Since night falls early in the winter, rather than concentrate on plants that thrive under desert sun, how about a focus on plants that shine in the moonlight?
Plants with white blossoms and silver leaves reflect the moon’s rays to create a lovely quality at nighttime.
You can grow these heat-tolerant plants in the Coachella Valley to create a moon garden.
Shasta daisy: White petals. Drought resistant, needs afternoon shade.
Sweet alyssum: Honey-scented white blossoms. Drought tolerant, does best in containers in partial shade.
Dusty miller: Silvery-blue foliage. Drought tolerant, full sun to partial shade.
Desert sage: Fragrant silver leaves. Drought tolerant, a favorite for xeriscaping.
Datura: White flowers. Waits until dusk to slowly open blossoms. Highly toxic.
Tuberose: White petals. One of the most fragrant flowers in the world, best in light shade. Flowers open more at night during hotter weather.
What to plant this month
This is your last chance to plant smaller cool-season vegetable seeds -- root crops, leaf crops and peas. Choose slow-bolt varieties to keep them from going to seed as spring moves toward summer.
For better luck with a crop, plant winter vegetable seedlings -- leafy lettuce, beets, broccoli, cabbage, chard, peas, green onions, and spinach.
You can plant trees in February. Citrus that have high heat requirements such as grapefruit and Valencia oranges, Eureka and Lisbon lemons, Fairchild and Daisy mandarins, and tangelos are well-suited for this area.
You can set out warm-season transplants after mid-February, but protect plans from late season frost with a frost blanket.
It is an excellent time to plant shallow-rooted ground covers, native plants, and other low-water use plants.
Hold off planting frost tender plants such as bougainvillea until March to avoid possible late frost.
More information: cvwd.org/conservation