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The Blog: Let's Talk Gardening

Cool Color... for Hot Spots!

While some of you may be wishing for cooler temperatures to set in, there are plenty of plants that love the heat and humidity we are experiencing! The dog days of summer can turn your garden into a crispy mess if you're not careful. But we have the tough stuff to keep your summer landscape looking fresh and colorful. Here's a few of our favorite annuals that tolerate Hampton Roads heat and give you that beautiful color until frost sets in.

Heat & Sun-Loving Summer Annuals:

Angelonia - is also called summer snapdragon, due to it's salvia-like flower spires that reach a foot or 2 high. Available in beautiful colorations in purple, white, or pink. It's the perfect plant for adding bright color to hot, sunny spaces. This tough plant blooms all summer long with spirelike spikes of blooms.

Lantana - is a hardworking plant that not only thrives with little moisture and in full, unyielding sun, it does so with ease. Lantana boasts tons of brightly colored flowers all summer and into fall, and it's a magnet for butterflies and hummingbirds. It's easy to grow and works well in summer containers.

Mandevilla - is a true summer favorite. This blooming annual vine offers stunning trumpet-shape flowers in shades of pink, white, or red paired with dark green foliage. These vines are a perfect way of creating a lush, tropical look in a flash. Mandevilla is fast growing and blooms heaviest in summer and periodically throughout the rest of the year. Mandevilla does great in containers and is the ideal on trellises, arbors or gazebos. This plant can also be used as a houseplant if provided with bright light and care.

Zinnias - are a quick and inexpensive way to get quick summer color. These gorgeous flowers come in an amazing array of shapes and colors -- even a wonderful new lime green! Zinnias are so highly attractive to butterflies that you can count on having these fluttering guests dining in your garden every afternoon. These blooms add a wonderful structure and color to any summer landscape ~ a real must-have!

Vinca - flowers are very drought-tolerant, and require little maintenance. The leaves are green and glossy and the flowers are beautiful vivid colors. The vinca flower blooms in late spring and continues until the frost in the fall. Other names given to the vinca flower are, periwinkle and Madagascar periwinkle. These small flowers look very similar to Impatiens, but tolerate the sun better, although they will tolerate some shade. Vinca is one tough flower that will make a great addition to your summer beds or containers.

Purslane (or Portulaca) - is a small, fast growing annual plant with very bright, bold blooms. Purslane is a succulent plant, thus requires very little water and thrives in the sun. In fact, direct sunlight makes these flowers open in an stunning array of color! The flowers will open on bright, sunny days and close at night. Plant these sun-lovers in a container, window box or hanging basket and let it spill over with abundant blooms. We love the new Happy Hour series with bright colors like banana, fuchsia, orange and mixed.

Gomphrenia - This warm season beauty offers vibrant color, structure and height. Gomphrenia loves full sun and will survive drought. Use this easy-to-grow plant in borders, annual beds or even in containers. A showstopper in the garden, this interesting globe shaped bloom is a real conversation piece when cut for a mixed bouquet.