Gardening in Central Texas

Here we are in the middle of July with temperatures in the triple digits !  How hot does it get in Texas,  pretty darn hot !  So how do you keep your garden green and alive ?  First you start by knowing the what the difference is between annuals and perennial.  This will help you maintain a great looking garden.  Second,  having an automated watering system will also help you water at the right time of day to keep your plants healthy.  Last but not least is to give your plants fertilizer when they need it.  These simple steps will help you work with nature to grow a beautiful garden even in the heat of summer.

Annuals are plants that only live one season.  In springtime when a lot of us go to the garden centers to shop for plants we want one of everything we see!  As there are plants in bloom all over the place.   After the last frost we are more than ready to welcome in springtime by adding new plants to our garden or picking up a few new plants to replace those that may have died in a hard freeze.   Annuals are used to add color to our garden.   For example one eye catcher is “Fuschia.”  It will usually be in a hanging basket it has fuschia and purple colored petals and it attracts hummingbirds like crazy !  But be aware that fuschia cannot tolerate heat over 80 degrees, they cannot tolerate full sun,  they like semi sun, which is less than 4 hours of sun a day.    If you over water them they will get root rot, aphids are drawn to them as well as red spider mites.   You’ll need to fertilize them every two weeks and if it makes it thru summer and fall you’ll need to bring it indoors for winter.  It’s a zone 10 plant so if you live in San Diego, California this is the plant for you !  Yet they sell them here in Central Texas, even  if you are an avid gardener this particular beauty  would be a challenge.   Do your research ask your friends and neighbors whatever it takes to learn what does well in our zone, which is zone 8.   It is ok to go with Snapdragons , Pansies or Johnny Jump Ups for color even though they are annuals and will die out when the spring season ends, they are part of embracing springtime.   They like sunshine in spring but when the heat comes they cannot tolerate it.  Plant them with plenty of air circulation to avoid powdery mildew and mix dish soap with water in a spray bottle to kill any aphids you may see on them.

Perennial plants are plants that come back year after year.  You can  check the plant tags to learn which ones are a perennial or ask a garden center associate for help.  In the middle of summer roses are a favorite , they love the sun.  Bougainvillea , Pride of Barbados, Gold Star Esperanza, Plumbago  and Lantana can all take the sun and the heat.  Turks Cap (Malvaviscus)  is a perennial groundcover that will attract butterflies and hummingbirds !   Sunflowers are fun to grow in summer if you enjoy feeding the birds  you might be entertained by growing some sunflowers and watching birds come for the seeds when the plant  begins  to dye out.    Each of these plants have different watering and feeding schedules but this is a good starter list of what can survive the heat of a central Texas summer.   Vinca flowers also known as periwinkle which is in garden centers now is a perennial you can use to replace your spring annuals to put the color back into your garden this summer.  Enjoy your summer and happy gardening !