Pick peppers, tomatoes, and tomatillos early in the morning on the day you plan to eat them. Select squash, okra, eggplants, and cucumbers when they are small and tender. Use sharp clippers or a small knife to harvest these to avoid tearing the vines or stalks. Southern peas should also be picked early, as they ripen, for best flavor. Just make sure the pod is filled out before harvesting.
For a big show of fall flowers, prune and feed hybrid teas, such as ‘Mr. Lincoln,’ and everblooming roses, such as ‘Knock Out,’ now. Reduce healthy canes by about one-third, and remove any dead ones. Add a thin layer of composted manure around the base of your plants to improve the soil. Feed with a rose fertilizer, such Schultz Expert Gardener Rose Food 19-24-24 or Schultz Rose Food Liquid Plant Food 10-12-12.
back leggy annuals now so they will be full in the fall. Cut back impatiens (shown at left), coleus, begonias, narrow-leaf zinnias, and salvias by one-third. Water and then fertilize. Use a slow-release, granular fertilizer such as Dynamite Flowers & Vegetables 13-13-13 or Scotts All Purpose Flower & Vegetable Continuous Release Plant Food 10-10-10.
Keep a watchful eye on your pots, window boxes, and hanging baskets this month. By now the plants have grown out and their roots have developed fully, maximizing water usage. Monitor your plants closely, and water regularly; daily watering is not unusual.
If you love split-leaf philodendrons, but do not have a lot of room, try growing a ‘Xanadu’ philodendron instead. Its smaller size makes it ideal in tighter locations. It’s very easy to please and thrives in low to medium light. Feed regularly, and allow the soil to slightly dry between watering.
These are some of the best perennials for shade gardens. Good choices include ‘August Moon,’ ‘Blue Angel,’ ‘Patriot,’ and ‘Halcyon.’ Look for these at your garden center or nursery. There are hundreds of selections. One of the best mail-order sources for hostas in the South is Plant Delights Nursery, www.plantdelights.com or (919) 772-4794.
Plant colorful shrubs that thrive in the summer heat and sun now. Good choices include angel’s trumpet (Brugmansia sp.), shown at left; bush allamanda (Allamanda schottii); dwarf red powderpuff (Callianadra haematocephala ‘Nana’); ‘Gold Mound’ duranta; Caribbean copper plant (Euphorbia cotinifolia); firebush (Hamelia patens); yellow bells (Tecoma stans); peregrina (Jatropha integerrima); orange cestrum (Cestrum aurantiacum); and oleander. Use all these plants in landscape beds or large containers. In beds where you have more room, you can plant several of the same selection for greater impact. In containers, use single plants as accents for a bright show of color.
North and Central
Central and South
Bright Summer Pots
Use large containers to provide instant focus and strong color accents. Colorful foliage plants can make these containers eye-catching displays on patios, on stairs, and around fountains and birdbaths. Consider easy-care choices such as coleus. ‘Pink Chaos’ will provide a beautiful display until frost. Strong-textured plants, such as agaves and yuccas, can offer additional accents. Try Beschorneria Hybrids or manfreda with their long, curved flower stalks and unusual flowers. All of these attract hummingbirds. For additional interest consider an edging of wax-leaf begonias. Or try small-flowered million bells (a petunia relative), which trails in colors such as terra-cotta, purple, and yellow.
Central, East, North, and South
Central, West, and South
Central, West, and South