Tougher flowers for hotter summers

Heat-tolerant flowers, often with low water needs are the answer for gardeners who love their summer flowers.

Thanks to climate change, summers are getting hotter, which is not good news for gardens. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have flowers. There are plenty of heat tolerant varieties, including new cultivars that are bred for endurance.

Garden practices like good soil preparation, mulching, regular feeding and deep watering less often, also help to heat proof the garden.

Did you know: that allowing plants to almost dry out before watering can increase their drought tolerance. They are forced to send their roots deeper and wider in search of water, whereas plants that are watered often keep their roots closer to the surface. The roots dry out more quickly and the plants need more water.

Six indestructible summer flowers:

  1. Marigold Endurance™

    This is a new generation of marigold that combines the extra-large double flowers of African marigolds with the compact growth of French marigolds. Its other unusual feature is that it doesn’t make seedheads but keeps on producing new flowers throughout summer. As one flush of flowers is going over, the next is already growing past it. Plants are also exceptionally heat tolerant. This indestructible marigold will be the last marigold standing at the end of summer. Its flower colours are yellow, orange and sunset gold.
  2. Bidens beats the heat

    Bidens is one of those old-fashioned flowers that thrives in warm climates and copes with hot afternoon sun. It is also drought hardy, needing only deep, occasional watering. Being closely related to coreopsis, it has the same sunny nature, and is a good border or edging plant because of its controlled spread.Bidens ‘Golden Empire’ is a new generation Bidens variety with extra-large golden flowers and an upright growth. It fills small pots easily and is excellent for small gardens, because the neat plants are covered in flowers from spring through to autumn. Best of all, it thrives in the heat of summer.
  3. Straw flowers are everlasting

    Bracteantha or straw flower as its commonly known, is easy to grow, heat tolerant and produces a mass of brilliantly coloured flowers that include deep rose and lemon yellow. Bracteantha ‘Mohave’ grows 35 to 40cm high and wide, with large flowers and deep green healthy leaves that show up the colour of the flowers. Plants look good paired with ornamental grasses, and other spiky, upright growing plants.
    They need moist soil, but not over-watering and do best in full sun but will tolerate partial shade. They get leggy with too much shade. Fertilise once a month. The flowers are pickable, for fresh or dried arrangements. For dried flowers, cut the strawflowers just as they begin to open. Hang bunches with the heads down in a dry, shaded area for a few weeks.
  4. Best of petunias and calibrachoa

    Petchoa ‘BeautiCal’ is another hybrid that combines the best of the petunia and the calibrachoa to create a tough new garden flower. Plants flower profusely  like calibrachoa, with a multitude of blooms in a large range of colours. The flowers are larger, closer in size to petunias, but the blooms are more weather resistant as plants recover from rain much faster than standard petunias.
    The bloom colours are unusual too: cinnamon, caramel yellow, yellow sun, French vanilla, sunray pink and Bordeaux. Plants stay compact, 30cm high and 45cm wide, and perform best in full sun. Feed once a month with a liquid fertiliser.
  5. Perennial salvias
    Perennial salvias can be the backbone of a flower garden. They are mostly large, bushy shrub-like plants that send up a mass of flower spikes, that attract bees and butterflies. They grow in full sun, in ordinary garden soil that needs to drain well.

    Salvia ‘Purple and Bloom’ is a variation of the strong growing, ‘Black and Bloom’. It grows 1.2m high and wide, and handles heat, humidity, and drought. Deadheading is not necessary although pinching off spent blooms produces a bushier plant
    Salvia ‘Salmia’ range delivers an impressive performance with endless spikes of large dark purple, pink, or orange red blooms from spring onwards. Plants need only moderate watering and are a good filler for sunny beds or as a feature in a large container. For strong growth, cut back in spring, fertilise and water well.

  6. Verbena Endurascape

    Verbena ‘Endurascape’ is a vigorous verbena for adding quick-spreading colour. It not only flowers in extreme heat, even with temperatures beyond 38ºC, but is also cold hardy. Plants provide a constant carpet of flowers throughout summer yet they remain neat and don’t need clipping or dead-heading. Plants grow in 20 to 30cm high mounds with a spread of 45 to 60cm, with some colours being more vigorous than others. Growing requirements are full sun, well prepared fertile soil and good drainage.

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