Beat the Heat with These 5 Sun-Loving Summer Plants

flowers in direct sunlight—earthworksSome people embrace hot summer days and soak up the sun for hours at a time. Yet, others avoid the summer months altogether and stay indoors with cool air-conditioning. Much like humans, plants react differently to heat. When plants endure high temperatures over extended periods, they can suffer from heat stress.

The best way to beat the heat this summer is by preparing plant selections that flourish in dry, warm climates. As you begin to replace plants that did not survive the winter storm or add new varieties to your landscape, consider these five Texas superstar plants that can withstand the heat and reduce the possibility of heat stress.

1. Salvia

salvia 1Different Salvia varieties, such as Henry Duelberg and Mystic Spires Blue, are beautiful and heat tolerant. They are planted in the spring, easy to maintain, and have long-lasting blooms from summer to fall. Salvias are native to the Mediterranean and thrive in the heat with minimal summer irrigation. Watering is only needed if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week. This plant is perfect for dry gardens or drought-friendly landscapes.

Salvia is not known to attract deer or rabbits and can repel garden pests with its distinct leaf odor. The tubular flowers are adored by beautiful pollinators like bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies. Salvia can grow up to five feet tall and can flourish in the ground or pots depending on the variety. At the end of the season, leave flowers on the plants to encourage reseeding, and after the first frost, cut stems back to an inch or two above the soil line. With proper care, Salvia plants will return every summer.

2. Texas Skullcap

texas skullcap 1Also known as Pink or Cherry Skullcap, Texas Skullcap is the perfect low-growing, perennial groundcover. It blooms from summer to fall with beautiful red and pink flowers that attract bees and butterflies. Despite its name, Texas Skullcap is native to Mexico and can withstand high temperatures, repel pests, and thrive on little water once established.

Texas Skullcap is an excellent choice for a rock garden, xeriscape, or area with little or no irrigation. The advantage to this plant is that it is incredibly low-maintenance—just plant and enjoy. On average, skullcap can grow up to 18 inches tall and more than 30 inches wide if unmanaged. This plant is versatile every season, adding color to your summer landscape and greenery to your winter landscape.

3. Red Yucca

red yuccaThe Red Yucca is a popular flowering plant in warm, dry climates. It is an evergreen perennial with foliage and colorful flowers that grow and divide into multiple plants. It can grow up to three feet tall and four feet wide. As the clusters grow, they can be divided and replanted in other areas of your landscape. Deer avoid the stiff leaves but feed on the flowers. The flowers are also enjoyed by hummingbirds, bees, and night-pollinating moths.

During hot summer months, Red Yucca can handle the heat and limited irrigation. Monthly deep watering from spring to fall will enhance flowering cycles and maintain growth, but it does not require daily watering. Red Yucca is adapted for heat, cold, drought and can flourish in many different soil types.

4. Agave

agaveAgave is a type of succulent with a unique leaf structure that brings texture to a landscape design. It is a slow-growing plant that should be planted in the spring or early fall. Agave plants have eye-catching symmetrical leave structures that end with pointy tips. When nearing the end of their life cycle, Agave plants grow long stalks that flower with colorful tubular blossoms, and eventually, the mother plant dies off.

They thrive in warm, dry climates and are adaptable to many soil types, making them successful in Texas. After the plant is established, Agave plants prefer to dry out between watering and can go weeks without irrigation. Outside of sunshine, well-draining soil, and occasional watering, Agave plants do not require extra care. As temperatures rise, there is no need to worry about these sun-loving plants.

4. Nandina

nandinaNandina is an evergreen or semi-evergreen broadleaf shrub. Typically, shrubs are durable and require no maintenance. They can grow more than six feet fall and five feet wide. It is also known as heavenly bamboo because the branched stems look similar to bamboo. The oval pointed leaves create a lacy pattern, and flowers bloom from May to June. Some varieties have red berries, but choosing a nonfruiting type can cut back on unwanted spread throughout your landscape.

Nandina varieties do well in the sun and are drought tolerant. While they can be planted in the shade, they produce the best foliage and blooms in full sun. They are resilient and bounce back quickly from long periods of heat or disease and insect issues. Once they are established, they require minimal irrigation and low maintenance throughout the summer months.

EarthWorks Landscaping Experts Can Help

The EarthWorks nursery facility is an integral part of our landscaping services. It ensures the quality and variety of plants and trees available to our customers year-round. Our team is equipped with knowledge and resources to help you choose plants that will thrive in your unique landscape design.

When it comes to the hot summer days, you can beat the heat by choosing sun-loving plants. We have the plants mentioned above and more in our nursery to set your summer landscape up for success. Plus, you can visit our blog for more information on signs of heat stress, preventative strategies, and treatment ideas.

Contact us today to learn more about summer plant options and schedule a consultation.


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