Heat hardy

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All plants are not equal when it comes to enduring hot and sometimes dry summer conditions.

Garden plants whose forebears evolved in harsh natural environments have unbuilt defence mechanisms to get them through the though times. These hardy survivors manage summers heat better than most.

Federation Daisies with an abundance of flower and foliage do not miss a beat, providing a shade effect to their own root systems which helps to reduce water loss in the drier months.

Lavender ‘Ghostly Princess’ with it’s attractive silver foliage and dusky pink blooms forms a compact silver edging or hedging option, especially hardy to dry conditions.

New Agapanthus ‘Mini Me’ like all in this family have fibrous root systems and dense foliage. This variety is extremely heat and dry tolerant and forms a mound of super fine foliage with true dwarf sky blue flowers.

Inca Alstroemerias have a super survival secret. In extreme conditions they ‘go to ground’, reviving as soon as temperatures ease and rainfall returns. Their underground tubers allow for this ability to endure then simply ‘pop back up’ providing masses of gorgeous pickable flowers once again.

Salvias seem to be untroubled by summer heat and dry. If you like cool colours try the ‘So Cool’ range (light blue, mauve and violet) or for vibrant oranges and pinks there’s the ‘Wish’ range including ‘Wendys Wish’, ‘Embers Wish' and ‘Love and Wishes’. All do super well in heat and humidity.

Penstemons may not look like they would be tough, but they do extremely well, flowering all summer long and providing reliable nectar for our bees and pollinators. Ranges to look for are the ‘Cha Cha’ series which have multiple, smaller flowers or the bigger bells of the ‘Taffy’ penstemons.

Dreameria® Armeria bred by Innovabred of Australia withstand even the harshest summer conditions and form a dense foliage mat and prolific flowers from spring through summer.

Magnifi-Scent® Dianthus with silver compact foliage offer both humidity and disease resistance and will reward with scented flowers all summer long.

Convolvulus is a well-known heat tolerant ground cover perennial. The silver blue foliage of convolvulus ‘Two Moons’ is enhanced with two tone blue and silver white flowers.

Gaura ‘So White’ originates from an Australian breeding programme. This hardy sun lover provides a mass of delicate white flowers that endures all summer long, returning to bloom summer after summer. This dependable perennial is a  ‘must have’ if you like the softer cottage garden look and it appears to be hardier than the pink forms.

‘Super Powers’ of summer flowers

  • Silver foliage
  • Dense compact clumps
  • Tubers
  • Ground covers
  • Self-shading habit
  • Thick leathery leaves
  • Hairy or velvet textured leaves
  • Fibrous, extensive root systems
  • Leaves that store water

Summer Survival Tips

  • Mulch, mulch, mulch to help keep root systems protected and improve soil water holding capabilities plus microbial health.
  • Water in the evening for better efficiency and to avoid raising humidity levels around plants. Plants have the night hours to make use of the moisture with less evaporation likely.
  • Water deeply. It’s better to water well every 2-3 days than to water lightly every day. Once established, perennials need even less frequent watering.
  • Keep them close. Planting densely helps plants to withstand the heat as neighbours will help shade each other’s root systems. This also helps keep the soil covered to slow water loss via evapouration.
  • Choose drought and heat tolerant plants rather than expecting too much of more sensitive species

Look for these products, tips and advice at a Go Gardening Store near you.

Feature article from Living Fashion. For further information and more inspirational planting ideas, visit www.livingfashion.co.nz



Federation Daisy Summit Pink

Lavender 'Ghostly Princess'

Inca Alstromerias

Salvia 'Wendy's Wish'

Penstemon 'Cha Cha Lavender'

'Dreameria' armerias

'Magnifi-Scent' dianthus