Bet you didn’t know it’s more than okay to plant in the heat of summer. Well it is! We’ve always been told to plant in spring and fall but warmer temperatures don’t mean you can’t add to your landscaping beds. It only takes a little extra attention and a few simple techniques to help new summer plantings thrive.
You shouldn’t try to plant things like a bare-root, newly dug or newly divided plant. What you can plant are new perennials, annuals and shrubs if the plants have spent the past several months in a container. (It is not recommended to transplant plants during the summer.)
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 your 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
- The same basic planting rules apply, whether it’s spring, summer or fall:
- Dig a hole a little deeper and about twice as wide as the plant’s root ball.
- Gently work the root ball loose with your hands or a garden fork.
- Put the plant into position and backfill with good soil mixed with a little compost.
- Tamp the soil to stabilize the plant and remove any air pockets.
- Water thoroughly.
How to Water
Fill the newly dug hole with water and let it drain before planting — especially when dealing with clay soil. This helps to ensure an easier transition for the plant since the hole and surrounding soil are thoroughly moist. Add Terra Sorb to existing soil to help hold more moisture.
Apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch immediately after planting. This will help conserve soil moisture and keep down weeds, which compete for water and nutrients. Use BioTone and Leafgro for soil amendments.
For the first two waterings of new plantings, use a dilute solution of fish emulsion or liquid seaweed to help the plants quickly settle into their new environment. During the first week or so you may need to water daily or every other day depending on the weather, soil type and plant’s growing requirements. After that it’s important to keep the soil slightly moist until the plant becomes established in the garden. For most perennials and shrubs, that usually occurs after the first growing season.
What to Plant
Just about anything growing in a container can be planted in summer, though some plants stand up to summer’s heat better than others. Here’s a list of several tough contenders for summer planting:
Shrubs: barberry, boxwood, bluebeard, chaste tree, cotoneaster, hydrangea, juniper, rose, santolina, spirea
Perennials: Japanese anemone, artemisia , aster, catmint, coneflower, coreopsis, daylily, hardy geranium, goldenrod, plumbago, Russian sage, salvia, sedum, yarrow
Annuals: celosia, cosmos, creeping zinnia, dwarf sunflowers, globe amaranth, impatiens, marigolds, nasturtiums, salvia, scaevola, zinnia