The Q&A Archives: Heat Tolerant Perennials

Question: I live in South San Jose California, Where temperature in the summer can sometimes get up to the upper 90's. To make matter worse, my garden gets a lot of direct sun light in the afternoon. Can you please advise me on flowers or bulbs that will do will in dry hot weather? So, far I have no had any success growing flowers in my garden.

Answer: You can help make your garden more plant-friendly by preparing the soil well prior to planting, and by using organic mulch material over the soil after you've planted your flowers. Start by spreading 3-4 inches of compost, peat moss, or leaf mold over the soil surface and digging it in to a depth of 6-8 inches. Organic matter will help the soil retain moisture and will release nutrients to the plant's roots as it decomposes. After planting, spread another 3-4 inches of organic material over the top of the soil. This will help suppress weeds, keep the soil cooler, and will slow water evaporation for the soil surface. Here's a list of plants that do well in arid sites: Zinnia, Salvia, Sedum (Stonecrop), Coreopsis, Linum, Oenothera (Evening Primrose), Gaillardia, Sage, Artemisia, Lavatera and Kniphofia (Red Hot Poker). Keep your plants well-watered (one-inch per week), and they should thrive in your garden bed.

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