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Care of a Sugar Cane Plant in Arizona

Pakistan 028 Zuckerrohr image by Arnim Schulz from

The tall perennial grass sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum) is well-known for its main product of--what else?--sugar. With correct care, sugar cane can grow up to 6 feet tall. It thrives in USDA zones 9 and 10 but doesn't do well in freezing temperatures. In southwest Arizona, sugar cane can be grown successfully with some simple materials, insect prevention and watering.

Keep sugar cane routinely hydrated, especially if it was recently planted or very young. In Arizona especially, it is important to keep sugar cane watered sufficiently during the hotter months. During that time, soak the plant about three times a week to always keep the top 1 inch of soil moist.

Mound the soil up about 3 inches around the base of the sugar cane plants when they are 1 foot tall. This not only improves the drainage in the dry Arizona soil, but also deters weeds and retains moisture.

Observe the sugar cane for common Arizona insect pests, including aphids, mealybugs and ants. Remove them with your hands if you see them, and apply an insecticidal soap according to label instructions when there are too many insects to remove yourself.

Harvest Arizona sugar cane in late fall or early winter. Since the first frost in Arizona is past the first week of December, you can wait until then to harvest. Cut the plant down at the base with pruning shears or loppers.

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