While July is typically too hot to add most vegetables and flowers to the garden, some plants do surprisingly well when planted in the summer heat.
Plant Hibiscus: Hibiscus trees love heat and will quickly take root when planted in July. Plant in nutrient rich, well-draining soil. Deeply water the tree so the roots remain moist for the first two weeks after planting. Hibiscus flowers only last a day, but new flowers are quick to take their place. Hibiscus can also be planted in pots.
Plant Beans and Squash: While most vegetables should already be producing in July, add corn, cucumber, lima beans and summer squash now for a late summer, early fall harvest.
Plan Your Watering Routine: Although water restrictions have now been lifted, still conserve. Set lawn sprinklers for early morning–6:00 a.m. or earlier, three times a week for 15 minutes. This will enable the water to reach the roots and help reduce evaporation once the sun comes up.
Eliminate Snail Damage Naturally: Snails love to eat their way through tender vegetable leaves, which can damage or kill the plant. Place natural barriers around your garden to keep the snails away. Since they move by sliding on smooth surfaces, place crushed eggshells or diatomaceous earth (an abrasive sedimentary rock) around plants. Mulch is another good snail deterrent because it is made of rough wood chips.
Keep Deadheading Flowers: Summer is the time of year when flowers want to grow. Give new buds the maximum nutrients they need by removing fading or dead flowers daily. This way, plants will focus their energy on new growth.
Plant Shrubs: One way to easily fill out a yard is by planting shrubs. Use them as groundcover or low hedges. Easy-to-maintain, low water users are Lily-of-the-Nile, Star Jasmine, Indian Hawthorn, New Zealand Flax, Rosemary and Mediterranean Pink Rockrose. All will need regular watering until established.
Fill In Your Flower Garden: Add summer-to-fall bloomers like alyssum, marigolds, petunias, red sage, verbena, vinca and zinnias to your garden as other plants slow their flower production. Flowers that do well in shade are amethyst, begonia, coleus, geranium and impatiens.
Replenish Mulch: To help cut down on water use, add a 3-inch layer of mulch around plants and trees. The mulch keeps water in and roots cool even during the hottest times of the day.
Unlike plants and trees that enjoy the heat, begin your gardening day early before temperatures rise to unbearable highs.