The summer solstice occurred last Saturday, marking the official first day of summer. Naturally, the heat of the summer crept in weeks before the solstice, with highs well into the 80s and 90s – with no rain in sight. This could spell disaster for your landscaping (or your lawn!) should you forget to water it, but there are some heat-loving flora that will thrive throughout the summer:
Low-growing verbena spreads well and makes an ideal ground cover. Dark leaves are paired with purple or blue flowers, which attract butterflies and honeybees.
Crape myrtles are a southern staple common in many landscapes. They tend to prefer warm temperatures and may not bloom well in cool climates. Even on the hottest days of summer, the white, pink, lavender or red flower clusters bloom beautifully. Large masses of papery flowers bloom in clusters on the hydrangea, filling out the large shrub perfectly.
Hydrangeas prefer a shade-filled afternoon (don’t we all?) and while they do love water, these shrubs tend to thrive in the heat. Plant colorful zinnia’s in your garden to attract all sorts of pretty butterflies and hummingbirds. Flowers range from white to yellow.
The elegant Japanese Maple comes in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes and is known for the striking red-orange leaves it produces. Though many varieties prefer some shade during the day, maples tend to do very well throughout the year, from summer heat to winter cold.
A word of caution: any plant, no matter how heat-resistant and drought-tolerant, will need at least some water to survive! That being said, all of the plants listed have grown marvelously in my Arkansas landscaping for several years, despite the heat and my occasional lapse in good water management.