Flower Gardening

Annuals That Can Take Hot Weather

By Jean Starr

Petunia Supertunia Vista ‘Paradise’:

There are thousands of Petunia and Petunia look alike cultivars on the market, but even with record heat, and humidity so high it might as well be raining, Petunia‘Paradise’ kept slogging away. Petunia‘Paradise’ is a deep pink, and one of the three colors in the Supertunia Vista The key to keeping modern Petuniahybrids in bloom is fertilizer—lots of it. At planting time, use a slow release fertilizer like Osmocote. Throughout the season, use a water-soluble fertilizer every other time you water.

Light: full to part sun

Size: (height by spread) 12” – 24” x 36”

Uses: Either in the ground or in a container.

Soil type: Fertile and free-draining

Special information: Proven Winners recommends pruning their Supertunia brand Petunias when the stems looks straggly, but by no more than about 20 percent of the plant.

Petunia – VISTA ‘Paradise’ (Photo by Jean Starr)

Salvia splendens ‘Vanhouttei’ (Burgundy Scarlet Sage):

The world of Salvias is huge, and this variety is less so. But you still need to give it room. Long stems that can reach three feet will cascade just enough to give its deep burgundy flowers even more drama. For more blooms on a more compact plant, it’s best to prune stems by about one third in mid-summer. Flowering will be delayed for a few weeks, but it will practically glow when they start to open.

Light: Although most Salvias require lots of sun, Salvia Vanhouttei will perform quite well in partial shade.

Size: (height by spread) 36” x 48”

Uses: Either in the ground or in a container.

Soil type: Fertile and free-draining

Special information: Hummingbirds love its blooms, so plant it where you can enjoy the show.

Other: My favorite place for rare Salvias for mail order is Flowers by the Sea, in Elk, California.

Salvia ‘Vanhouttei’ (Photo by Jean Starr)

Selecting and Planting Annuals that Can Take Hot Weather

When purchasing your plants in April and May, you don’t know how hot the summer will be. That doesn’t matter if you go with one or more of the suggested plants in this article. Keeping your garden colorful during the hottest period is easier than you think. While some of the suggested plants may take just a bit of maintenance (and water!), summer’s short. You won’t be sorry with any of these selections.

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