As we get into August, many of us are starting to lose our love of petunias and the other early annuals. We'd like to see something fresh, but it's too early for mums and fall color.
Don't despair. As we move through August, the days get noticeably shorter and the longer nights will cool down. That is why this month can also be the beginning of a second spring in many gardens. Plants that languished during the days of intense heat will rejuvenate and some spring-blooming perennials may even bloom again.
The best news is that many perennials come to their height of beauty in August. They are the solution to the in-between month. Plus, the growing conditions as August cools down are prime to get these plants established before fall.
Here are some great perennials to plant in August:
Agastaches (pronounced: ah-GAS-ta key) or hyssops:
• Sonoran Sunset® has bright violet flower spikes and grows 15-18" tall and 12-15" wide
• Sunset hyssop has narrow grey leaves and pink flowers with purple bracts growing 20-30" tall and 18-24" wide.
• Coronado® is an orange selection, and Coronado® Red will be covered with small red blossoms. Both grow about 2-3' tall and 2' wide.
Orange Carpet® Hummingbird trumpet (Zauschneria) is another hummingbird magnet but grows spreading and low to the ground: 5-8" tall by 1-2" wide.
Little Trudy® catmint is a small version of the traditional blue-flowering catmint, but blooms all summer long and stays under a foot tall.
Salvias are another group of plants that thrive in our hot, intensely sunny days and cool nights. Look for the Salvia greggii selections, such as Wild Thing (magenta) and Furman's Red bloom which perform best as the nights cool, continuing late into September if conditions are right. Both grow 18-24" tall and 15-18" wide.
• Giant Sacaton: a large (5-6' tall by 4-5' wide), architectural specimen grass for low-water and native plantings. Give it several deep drinks of water during the heat of summer you'll be rewareded with a lush, full, plant with lacy golden flowers.
• Blonde Ambition blue grama grass: an airy, unique ornamental form of our native blue grama growing 2-3' tall and 18-24" wide, the chartreuse seed heads "float" high above the grassy green foliage. Mix it in with salvias and agastaches for an informal look, as specimen plants, or in rows for even more dramatic effect.
Use the softness of silver foliaged plants to add cooling interest. During the heat of summer, plants such as silver sage, Silverheels horehound, and filigree daisy help make gardens and landscapes comfortable and soothing, even in the hottest of days.
All these Plant Select® winners grow well in a wide range of conditions, but most prefer well-drained soils and low to moderate moisture.
Tip of the Week reprinted courtesy of Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado (ALCC) of which Foothills Landscape Maintenance, LLC is a member. ALCC is the only only professional organization for Colorado's landscape contracting industry statewide. Tip of the Week is copyrighted by Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado and may be forwarded or copied by its members provided proper credit is given to ALCC