June Gardening tips from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
It is summer and that means the days are longer and hotter so try to get your gardening done in the morning and evening when it is more pleasant to be outside.
Planting Opportunities. There is still plenty of time to plant colorful, heat-tolerant summer annuals. Directly seed in sunny areas zinnias, gomphrena (bachelor buttons), and portulaca (moss rose); and purchase transplants of celosia, periwinkle, salvia, marigold, tithonia, zinnias, copper plants and purslane. For part or full shade, plant nicotiana, impatiens, begonias, caladiums, salvia and coleus. Be sure to water transplants regularly until roots become established.
Tropical plants are often overlooked in the quest for summer color. They offer spectacular color all summer long and give you even more bang for your gardening buck. Tropicals planted directly in the ground make interesting and colorful additions to the garden. Try esparanza (yellow bells), firebush (Hamelia), allamanda, mandevilla, Mexican heather, tropical hibiscus, brugmansia (angel’s trumpet), and bougainvillea.
Lantana is another great summer bloomer for the blazingly sunny, hot spot in your yard. Lantana varieties grow either upright as 3 or 4 foot shrubs or spreading like a ground cover, and they come in a variety of colors from cool white and lavender to hot orange and yellow.
Remove faded flowers (called dead-heading) on all perennials and annuals before they set seed to keep the plants compact, growing and producing more flowers. A light application of fertilizer every 4 to 6 weeks helps keep annuals productive and pretty.
As long as you can supply water, it is not too late to plant trees, shrubs, ground covers, and establish new lawns. Supplemental water during the first year of establishment and during dry periods is the key to success. But do not over water new plants. More new plants are killed by over watering than by drought.
Crape myrtles will start blooming soon and that is a great time to select the right color variety for your yard to compliment your home. Be sure to pick one that matures to the exact height for the location. That eliminates the need to annually prune it back to fit the spot. There are many named varieties to choose from, each with a definite growth habit, color and mature height. Varieties with Indian tribe names like ‘Natchez’, ‘Hopi’, ‘Muskogee’ and ‘Acoma’ are interspecific hybrids with very good resistance to powdery mildew.
Bare spots in your garden and flower beds are the breeding ground for weeds. All a weed seed needs is a little bit of light and water to germinate. Prevent weeds by spreading mulch over all bare areas in your flower and vegetable gardens and under and around shrubs. Pine straw is an excellent choice and is slow to decompose. A layer of mulch will also cut down on a plant’s water needs.