Summer is in full swing, and the weather just keeps getting hotter. Not all plants can thrive or even survive in this climate, so it is important that you carefully consider which ones you choose to include in your landscape. Here are ten plants that can beat the heat:
Tomatoes are a staple for summer vegetable gardening, coming in various colors and sizes. They prefer areas where night temperatures remain above 50º F and require 6-8 hours of full sun. You can buy transplants, but if you are growing your tomatoes by seed, they should be started 5-6 weeks before that last spring frost indoors. Use stakes or trellises and plant them deep for stronger roots, burying two-thirds or more of the stem.
Zucchini and Summer Squash
Sow zucchini and squash directly in the garden at least a couple of weeks after the last spring frost. It can be harvested 50-60 days after sowing and should be tender and young, so discard any large, old fruits with tough skins. Soil that is well-drained and nutrient-rich is ideal for squash, so prepare beds with compost and all-purpose fertilizer.
Eggplants are a beautiful addition to any garden. They are best grown from seedlings and needs warm, well-drained soil and a lot of sun. Set them out approximately 3 weeks after the last frost. Keep roots cool and moist once eggplants are in the ground.
Peppers come in many varieties in terms of color, size, and spiciness. Buy transplants or start them as seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before planting, and harvest them 60-95 days after setting them out. They should be planted a week or more after the last frost and require full sun, moisture, and well-drained soil.
Coneflowers, or Echinacea, are hardy, drought-tolerant perennials that come in white, pink, red, and purple. Plant them in the sun in almost any type of soil that is well-drained, though sandy soil is best. They are easy to take care of, grow up to 47 inches tall, and attract songbirds and butterflies.
Black-eyed Susans, or Rudbeckia hirta, are bright, sturdy flowers with 2-4 inch blooms. They can be perennials, biennials, or long blooming-annuals and should be planted in full or partial sun and well-drained, moist soil. These tough flowers can be 1-3 feet tall and spread 12-18 inches.
Blanket Flower, or Gaillardia pulchella, is an annual gaillardia that is colorful and low-growing. Flowers are available in yellow, red, and gold. It can grow to 1.5-2 feet tall and 1 foot wide. Blanket flower is easy to grow and does not require much water or fertilizer.
Blooming throughout the summer, Lantanas are extremely heat and drought tolerant, needing little water. They are tight clusters of small flowers and come in many colors and sizes as both shrubby and spreading variations. Lantanas attract butterflies more than most other flowers.
Asters come in red, pink, purple, and white, blooming into late summer and fall and ranging in height from 8 inches to 8 feet. They also attract butterflies. These perennials require full or partial sun and moist, well-drained soil, and they prefer cooler, moist summer climates.
Zinnas, or Zinna elegans, are very colorful and easy to grow. These bright annuals should be grown from seeds and come in colors from white to purple to orange. Zinnas are extremely easy to grow and grow quickly. They prefer fertile, well-drained soil and require full sun and a minimum temperature during the day of 60º F. They attract insects and birds, such as butterflies and hummingbirds.
These plants, among others, are ideal for the summertime. If you want to put some life into the landscape at your Brentwood home during this hot time of year, add some of these excellent options to the garden.
Leah H. Carlisle
Photo. Karolina Grabowska