Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Lower South

June, 2008
Regional Report

Plant Heat-Tolerant Flowers

There is still time to plant some of the colorful, heat-tolerant summer annuals. Zinnias, portulaca, purslane, periwinkle, salvia, impatiens, and hyacinth bean are a few of the many options. Heat-tolerant perennials for the south include canna, esparanza (Tecoma stans), firebush (Hamelia patens), various gingers, and the salvias: salvia 'Indigo Spires', S. gauranitica, S. leucantha, and S. greggii.

Mow Regularly For a Beautiful Lawn

The single most important part of building a beautiful lawn is to mow it frequently. Infrequent mowing intervals are more stressful to the turf and leave the lawn unsightly after mowing. Mow every 5 to 7 days for a dense, attractive lawn. During the hot summer months don't push turf with too much fertilizer or it will be more prone to drought stress and attack from chinch bugs.

Watch for Stink Bugs

If you love tomatoes you aren't alone! Stink bugs and their cousins, leaf-footed bugs, are arriving en masse to poke their nasty little mouthparts into our fruit. Early morning sprays can catch them when they are still a bit sluggish. Wait too long and they'll have done their damage, leaving fruit deformed or with hard yellow spots.

Don't Spare the Shears

Annual and perennial flowers can start to get floppy or leggy about this time of the season. Wait until they have completed a flush of blooms. Then use shears to cut them back by about a third. This will encourage side shoots, resulting in bushier plants and more flower buds. Repeat this process through the summer to keep them beautiful and to bring on more cycles of bloom. Fertilize lightly after each shearing.

Plant Hot-Weather Veggies

Our cool-season gardens are sweltering in the rising temperatures but there are several other vegetables that actually love summer heat. Now is a great time to plant heat-loving veggies like sweet potatoes, okra, amaranth greens, and Malabar spinach. If you provide them with plenty of water, they can beat the heat of our sizzling southern summers.


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