Best Summer Color

Summer can be a foreboding time in the Texas home landscape. It’s comparatively easy to find plants that will put on a show in cool, moist days of springtime, but what can you plant that will handle a blast furnace and still keep a happy, colorful outlook on life? Here are some of the best.

Annuals: (Sun) Trailing lantanas, moss rose, hybrid purslane, pentas, linearis zinnias, cosmos, celosia, gomphrena, amaranthus, firebush, copper plants, periwinkles (in particular, the Cora selections), brugmansias, purple fountaingrass, fanflower, and sun-tolerant coleus. Even ornamental peppers put on a show. As a filler flower with the other annuals, Diamond Frost euphorbia. (Shade) Wax begonias, impatiens, coleus, caladiums, nicotiana. For all of these, buy vigorous 4-, 6-inch or 1-gallon transplants. Set them into appropriately prepared garden soil, then water and nurture them, and you’ll be set for the summer.

Tropicals: Crotons, mandevilla, bougainvillea, variegated tapioca, sea hibiscus and tropical hibiscus come from hot homes, so they’re obviously safe. They’re well suited to large patio pots, but you may opt to use them as annuals and plant them directly into the ground.

Perennials: Daylilies, Shasta daisies, Goldsturm gloriosa daisies, cannas, mallows (and many others) are great choices, but use them in small groupings in various focal points of your garden. Plan so that annuals and other perennials will be available to take over the show as each type completes its bloom cycle.

Vines and Shrubs: These round out the list. Madame Galen trumpetcreeper blooms almost continuously from late spring into early fall. Althaeas (roses-of-Sharon) produce most of their flowers in the first part of the summer. And, best of the bunch, our beloved crape myrtles flower time and again from early summer well into September. Crape myrtles are available in shades of red, pink, lavender, purple and white. Their mature heights range from 2 to 25 feet. For lots more information on crape myrtles, visit (website of The Crape Myrtle Trails of McKinney).

Posted by Neil Sperry
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