Sensational Container Garden Selections to Beat the Summer Heat
Most plants love a little heat, but when the unbearably hot temps of summer hit, many hunker down for survival. While some drop their leaves to conserve energy, others wilt to prevent excessive moisture loss, and some even go entirely dormant. Sure, these adaptations ensure long-term health for the garden, but they tend to leave gardeners craving more color and beauty in the summer months. So, what's the solution? Create container gardens with plants that can withstand the scorch, of course!
Sensational Color in the Summer Garden
Now, if you want to keep the color coming in summer, it's essential to choose plants that have evolved to endure the heat. Additionally, planting them in containers makes it SO much easier to meet their watering needs and provide protection come winter. Are you wondering where to start? Well, here are a few of our favorite plants for a fabulous summer container garden:
This spectacular blooming Cactus is native to the cloud forests of Mexico and flaunts bright flowers in shades of red, pink, yellow, and white. Disocactus are Epiphyllum, which means they grow on other plants, but not like parasites stealing nutrients or anything. They simply use their roots to stabilize themselves in the fork of a tree branch.
Despite their exotic origins, Disocactus are among the easiest and most forgiving plants around. In zones 10 and 11, they're happy outdoors in the ground or containers, but those in other regions can grow them indoors year-round. These beauties have no spines, and although they possess long, wavy, flattened stems, they actually have no true leaves either. Tie them to a lattice and watch as they climb vertically, allow them to naturally trail, or do a little bit of both!
Give your Orchid Cactus a spot where it will receive full sun to bright filtered light, and plant in a 50/50 blend of good quality potting mix and Cactus mix. These tough Succulents can survive months without water, but they grow and bloom best when given weekly waterings from spring to fall. Apply a half-strength 10-10-10 fertilizer twice a month from spring through summer, and come winter, protect from frost and cut back on the water to just once or twice per month.
It's like the old song goes, "Summer breeze makes me feel fine. Blowin' through the Jasmine in my mind..." As the warm wind washes over, there's nothing better than the intoxicating aroma of Jasmine to accompany it. Not to mention, the clusters of waxy white blossoms on fast-growing vines only add to the enchantment. Happy indoors or out in the garden or containers, Madagascar Jasmine is a heavy flowering tropical plant well suited to growing in bright shade or diffused light.
In addition to the bountiful blooms, the vines are characterized by large, oval, leathery leaves in a deep, glossy shade of green. Often referred to as the "wedding flower" or "bridal veil" in Hawaii, these beauties make breathtaking additions to leis and bouquets. The sturdy, woody vines and leaves have evolved to retain moisture in the summer heat, making this a plant that holds well after cutting.
When planted in the garden bed, Stephanotis will quickly scramble up to 20' tall, while in containers, they should be cut back in the fall to keep the size in check and promote healthy branching. Give these rapid growers a strong support structure to climb and bring indoors over the winter for protection. A long-lived plant, this tender evergreen can grow and bloom indoors for many years.
All in all, whether you're planning a garden party, a tropical staycation, or just a laid-back space for relaxation - invite Stephanotis into your garden to enjoy that Jasmine-scented summer breeze!
Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that Succulents have taken the world by storm! Between their dizzying array of vibrant colors, fascinating forms, outstanding versatility, and extraordinary textures - these low-maintenance plants have it all! This vast collection of plants has evolved in hot, dry climates to store water in unique structures in their leaves, stems, and roots. This adaptation of storing water for later use allows Succulents to thrive even when water is scarce.
So, given their total awesomeness and ability to store water, Succulents are perfect for a wide range of containers and the many decorative DIY projects we just love. This characteristic also permits Succulents to flourish in the same hot, dry conditions that often damage other plants. These architectural charmers can be happy indoors or out, and if protected from the winter cold, in any climate!
Along with the fabulously fragrant Plumeria, these plants are my prescription for a carefree summer garden brimming with color and fragrance!
- Tags: Garden Design
- Katie Elzer-Peters