The Best Flowering Plants for Your Summer Garden
The Internet is full of inspiring ideas for getting your garden summer-ready. From DIY water features and bird feeders, to ambient lighting and cushion covers, you can jazz up your garden with a few simple steps. But the planting decisions you make are the most important.
Plant with summer in mind and you’ll have a garden that’s bursting with colour and vibrancy. Excellent performers include:
The succulent leaves of the beautiful Portulaca tell you instantly that this ground-covering plant is a drought-tough hero. Thriving in hot, dry and coastal conditions, Portulaca presents dazzling flowers over summer in iridescent tangerines and pinks. Use them to underplant shrubs in tubs or trail them attractively over the rim of wall pots.
Commonly known as the desert rose, the beautiful and unusual Adenium Obesum displays 5- 7 centimetre trumpet-shaped flowers in shades of red, pink, white and yellow. Unlike a true rose, Adenium is drought tolerant because it stores water in its thick, bulbous roots and fat base trunk. Varying in size, they can grow as tall as 1.8 meters.
Nothing evokes a tropical feeling quite like Frangipani Plumeria. It’s the ultimate summer scent and its sensational blooms can be easily picked and floated in a bath or bowl of water. The most familiar Frangipani is the yellow and white form but there are many colours to choose from. Each one has an exquisite perfume.
Like the name suggests, Disphyllum Sunburn doesn’t shy away from a bit of sun. In fact, it loves full sun, even in the warmest of months. A new hybrid succulent, it covers up to a meter per plant and offers luxuriant green foliage and bright yellow flowers that will stick around for most of the year. A tough groundcover, it’s suitable for areas prone to bushfire.
Teucrium Silver Box
Teucrium Silver Box is a Mediterranean plant with silver/grey ornamental foliage and masses of soft mauve flowers. It thrives in full sun and requires half the water that box plants usually require. If hedging, frequent light prunes are required for shape.
Callistemon All Glow
You may not be familiar with Callistemon All Glow but if we told you it’s other name – the Bottlebrush – you will be. The Bottlebrush is one of Australia’s most iconic natives and it’s loved for its ability to attract birds and bees. In its second year it will have full flowering, offering bright pink brushes with red undertones.
Anigozanthos Amber velvet
Anigozanthos Amber Velvet – a medium-sized Kangaroo Paw – displays brilliant orange and red flowers all year and grows to 1.2 metres high. It’s best planted in full sun behind, or in between, evergreen leafy plants.
For some of the most colourful and trouble free summer blooms, you can’t go past Calibrachoa. Spreading twice as wide as their 20cm height, they work brilliantly in hanging baskets or spilling over the edge of large tubs. You can find them in a wide range of colours, including cream, yellow, pink, mauve, purple and red, as well as summer-perfect multicoloured mixes.
The beautiful perfume of Gardenia blooms will fill your garden all summer long. You’ll need to keep up the fertiliser and water well, but your garden will be rewarded with plentiful flowers and lush green growth.
Taking care of plants in summer
Caring for your plants in summer is just as important as choosing the right plants. This ensures you get the best from your garden over the warmer months.
Your garden needs good soil all year round but especially when the conditions are dry and hot. Adding organic matter creates a healthy home for microbes and is a great way to enrich the soil. Add some compost or soil improver and enhance your soil’s wettability and water holding capacity. This will help transfer nutrients to your plants. If you have an established garden, add some compost to the topsoil around plant roots and lightly turn it into the soil.
A regular watering schedule will ensure a lush, healthy garden all summer. Aim for early in the morning, giving the water time to soak into the soil and reach the roots before it starts evaporating in the heat. If you don’t like early mornings or you find you’re in a rush, install an irrigation system that uses a timer. This can also help you to save water by setting up zones to give plenty of water to areas that get a lot of sunlight while giving less water to areas of shade.
Keep pots cool
Potted plants, especially those in terracotta pots, are vulnerable to overheating. Lightly mulch and when possible, position them out of the direct sun. Stand them in a saucer of sand (water encourages root rot and mosquitos) and keep the sand moist. If a plant dries out to the point where re-wetting is hard, soak it in a bucket of water for 30 minutes and then drain.
Protect your lawn
Keep lawn lush by applying one handful of poultry manure per square metre just before summer. (Give a good two week gap before throwing a garden party to ensure the odour is gone). After that, foliar feed with seaweed tonic once a month until the weather starts to cool. Avoid cutting your lawn too short, as longer turf increases your lawn’s resilience to heat. If putting your fresh lawn clippings on the garden, keep it sparse as too thick and you can encourage collar rot on trees and shrubs.
Boost trace elements
Magnesium encourages robust growth and the production of energy in plants. Gardenias in particular benefit from supplemental magnesium in summer. Add one heaped teaspoon of Epsom salts to 4.5L of water. Either spray foliage or water in at its roots.
Enjoying your garden
Now you’ve put the hard work in, it’s important you make the most of your garden this summer. Talk to the team at Armstone about strong, beautiful and durable pavers and add style, luxury and sophistication to your outdoor space. We have the perfect pavers for blending into your summer garden with collections in marble, limestone, granite, travertine, bluestone, sandstone and more. Have a browse through our selection and see what will work in your garden.
The next step is to gather the family for dinner, find a good book, and jump on any excuse to enjoy your garden to the max.