The days of summer heat are in full swing, which is actually the time for many plants to thrive! We have always been told to plant in spring and fall, but warmer temperatures do not mean that you cannot add to your landscaping beds. It only takes a little extra attention and a few simple techniques to help new summer plantings succeed.
It is important to continue to plant in summer not only to keep your garden looking fresh, but also to attract pollinators. They need sources of food all year long to sustain their livelihood, so help the ecosystem by keeping your summer garden fresh!
Let’s get down to how and what to plant in the summer!
Where To Plant
A great benefit of planting in the summer is that many plants will be in full bloom, making it easier to figure out where to best place them in your beds so they have enough room.
A plant that prefers part shade but tolerates full sun has a better chance of surviving in full sun if it’s planted in spring rather than summer. That way the roots have enough time to take hold in the ground before the heat of summer erupts. When planted in full sun on a hot summer day, the plant may wilt before it has a chance to situate its roots.
In this case, you can still successfully plant in summer by giving the plant what it prefers — a partly shady location. If you’re set on putting the plant in a sunny location, another option is to temporarily shade the new planting for the first week or so using a light-colored umbrella, shade cloth or other structure that provides some protection.
When To Plant
When you plant can be just as important as how you plant. It’s best to plant on a cloudy or overcast day, in the early morning or in the evening. This will minimize weather-related stress and transpiration loss from leaves.
How To Plant
Whether it’s spring, summer, or fall, you can follow these planting guidelines:
- Dig a hole that is deeper than (and almost twice as wide as) the plant’s root ball
- Water the empty hole and allow the water to drain before planting (especially when planting in clay soil)
- Loosen the root ball gently with your hands or a garden fork
- Place the plant in the hole and backfill the area with good soil mixed with some compost
- Stabilize your plant and remove any air pockets by tamping the soil
- Give your plant(s) a good watering
How To Water
As stated above in step 2, you want to begin watering by filling your newly dug hole with water and letting it drain before planting — especially when dealing with clay soil. Your plant will have an easier transition since the hole and surrounding soil are thoroughly moist. Add Terra Sorb to existing soil to help hold more moisture.
For the first couple of waterings, you want to use a diluted fish emulsion or liquid seaweed solution. This helps provide nitrogen to your plants, which helps plants with photosynthesis.
Once you have planted your garden, you want to water it regularly. It is important to know your plant(s) growing habits, but it is also good to keep the soil slightly moist while your plant(s) are getting established. While many summer-loving plants are drought tolerant, others thrive in more damp soil.
It is best to water in the morning or evenings (during the most cool weather of the day). This allows your plants to absorb the water and not have it evaporate away during a hot summer day.
You will know it is time to water when you can place your finger two inches into the soil and feel that the soil is dry.
Start by immediately mulching around your plants. You want to apply 2-3 inches deep of mulch around your plants, while also making sure to leave 1-6 inches of mulch free space around the base of the plant (1 inch for smaller perennials to 6 for larger trees). Mulching too close to the base of your plant can suffocate it, so you want to leave some space for water and air to get through.
It is important to mulch after planting because it provides a barrier to your plants’ root system. Your plants will stay cooler and be able to better conserve water. Consider adding BioTone and Leafgro to your soil for added nutrients during their growing season.
What To Plant
Almost any plant that grows in a container can be planted in summer, but some plants are more heat tolerant than others. Here’s a list of several of our favorite plants for summer:
Summer Interest Trees:
- Crape Myrtles
- Golden Rain Tree
- Japanese Maples
Summer Interest Shrubs:
- Buddleja (Butterfly Bush)
- Rose Of Sharon
Summer Interest Perennials:
- Hardy Geranium
- Japanese Anemone
- Achillea (Yarrow)
- Agastache (Hummingbird Mint)
- Echinacea (Coneflowers)
- Eupatorium coelestinum (Hardy Ageratum)
- Hemerocallis (Daylily)
- Gaillardia Arizona Sun (Blanket Flower)
- Garden Phlox
- Monarda (Bee Balm)
- Solidago (Goldenrod)
Summer Interest Annuals:
Summer Plants At Patuxent Nursery
You can find all of the plants listed above and more here at Patuxent Nursery. Stop by and speak with our plant experts to get your summer garden started today!