Your garden’s colorful blooms may begin to fade this month as perennials decline. Combat this by installing a variety of plants, maintaining them carefully, and pruning strategically. Extend the life of your blooming plants and enjoy a vibrant late-summer garden.
As the August days pass by, Florida gardens may be losing their colorful blooms as perennials begin to fade. Saying goodbye to your bright summer garden before the season is over doesn’t have to be the norm. Plan ahead for next summer with these tips.
Plant a Variety of Plants
Instead of banking on select perennials to make it through the summer heat with the right conditions and care, mix it up. Put in a variety of plants that have different needs, bloom times, and growing patterns.
Along with your perennials, include long-blooming annuals in your garden. Although perennials don’t need to be repurchased every year, they generally have a shorter blooming period than annuals do. Incorporate both in your garden to extend the garden’s color and your enjoyment.
Throw some self-seeding flowers in the mix to keep things simple and reduce your workload next season. For example, Florida’s native Blanket flower is a self-seeding annual that doesn’t require loads of care to thrive in the state’s dry, sandy soil.
Putting a little extra time into maintenance work goes a long way when it comes to extending the life of your summer garden.
- Mulch after planting with a substantial layer of rich compost, about 3 inches thick. This will deter weeds from sprouting, add nutrients to the soil, and help to conserve soil moisture.
- Deadhead regularly to encourage perennials to continue blooming and to last until fall.
- Cut back early blooming plants after they reach their peak so that you can enjoy another round of flowers.
- Secure taller perennials with ties and posts or trellises so they don’t topple over or suffer wind damage. This will help keep them healthy longer.
While it’s a good idea to prune plants as needed (according to professional recommendations, of course), you can prune strategically to extend their bloom period and, subsequently, the vibrancy of your garden.
Some plants, such as chrysanthemums, sedum, and asters, can be cut back when they reach about half of their expected height. This will push back their bloom time by a few weeks, extending the color in your garden. Additionally, plants that tend to tip over right before blooming will stay lower to the ground after pruning.
The options in Florida are many for late summer gardens. Need some help getting started as you think about next year? Here are some of our suggestions:
- Aster: The Whitetop aster and the Elliot’s aster are two native varieties that bloom in the late summer and early fall. This is a large family with many options for your summer garden!
- Lantana: this low-maintenance plant blooms year-round and is tolerant to drought, salt, and heat. Trim back the plants in August to renew their growth.
- Butterfly weed: this is another year-round bloomer. Trimming off any lanky stems will encourage new growth.
- Philippine Violet: this plant is just beginning to bloom now and will continue blooming until the spring, providing new color as other plants fade.