How to grow Pretty desert plants in tainted soil?

I live in the desert of Tucson, AZ and have had trouble planting pretty flowers in my soil. My neighbors said the mobile home park next to ours sprayed chemicals in their soil to clear the land and it has leached over into our soil over the years. I was able to plant some agave but even it has started to die after being in the soil and blooming for 2 years. Some of my friends on the opposite side of my park have beautiful roses and butterfly bushes and bird of paradise plants. What do you think I can grow in soil that is tainted>

  3 answers
  • Cheryl A Cheryl A on Jun 23, 2018
    Here are some ideas

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  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Jun 23, 2018
    you can plant flowers tea for your area in containers

  • Flipturn Flipturn on Jun 24, 2018

    Hi Susan,

    I am wondering from where your neighbours got the information from that has led them to believe chemicals have leaked into your soil? Has any testing been conducted by qualified knowledgeable personnel? If you are concerned at all about your health, then contact city of Tucson, or the municipality office of your county, and ask to speak to someone in this regard.

    Growing any flowers in Tucson while not impossible, is difficult due to the high amount of sunshine, and hot temperatures. Flowering plants need fresh, clean, aerated soil to start out with, much care and attention, shade, and a great deal of water.

    Don't assume that your agave plant did not thrive due to possible 'tainted soil'. Desert succulents have an extraordinary ability to grow and live a long time in low water, hot sun conditions, without any help from home gardeners. If it was just the one plant, then I would suggest that you try again to plant some low maintenance cacti, many of which bloom gorgeous bright color blossoms.

    • Susan Susan on Jun 24, 2018
      Thank you for the information especially about contacting Tucson office aboutvthe soil. I will do that as soon as I return from my daughters home in July. I live in a small mobile home park (considered NW Tucson). My husband (now deceased) tried growomg vegetables in the soil of a short berm behind our mobile about 7 years ago. The plants shot up beautifully then after watering via an irrigation system he set up they withered and died. We then used cinder blocks as a fence around our back patio with black cloth below the last layer and put potting soil in the holes and grew tomatoe, peppers, cuhe’s, and beans. They did great. So I bought several bags of Miracle Gro soil and put over top of the berm and planted agave from a ffiends plants. The did great and are still growing. So I did everything again and planted more at the other end and they flowered once and died! I have a couple of containers in my front with a barrel and prickly pear cactus that are fine but I had hoped to plant some flowers in the earth. Many of my neighbors on the opposite side of my road have beautiful plants. Anyway I will call the city of Tucson when I return. Thanks again for the information.