Learn how to grow a garden during hot months. Adobe Stock / Vera Kuttelvaserova
Landscape and garden design pro Valerio Morano Sagliocco shares his tips for creating a stunning garden even in the hot months of summer and fall.
With over 16 years growing his family landscaping-and-garden-design business, Valerio Morano Sagliocco knows gardens. Who better to turn to about plants that will survive the summer heat and what to plant for the fall?
“Summer months come with heat, lack of rain, and most plants do not like that,” says Sagliocco. “Plants that require a lot of water should be curbed from the garden. Excessive watering to keep up with the heat of summer can be costly, time consuming, and overall water should be conserved at all costs and used only when necessary.”
He suggests planting the right plants early, that will last. “Around Mother’s Day through Memorial Day and early June is the peak time to plant summer-loving annuals,” says Sagliocco. “You plant a season in advance. You’re not going to go shopping for summer clothes in August, you’re going to be thinking about fall and winter.”
To gear up for next summer, some of his favorite plants that produce in the hotter months include colorful and beautiful annuals like lantana, cosmos, marigolds, verbena. For perennials, he likes succulents like sedum but also salvia and echinacea, Russian sage, and Agastache.
He adds it’s nice to have an 80/20 ratio of perennials and annuals as the low layer of the plant bed.
“Annuals provide the best color as they stretch from Mother’s Day until approximately Thanksgiving and give a consistent and plentiful show,” he says.
If you have plants that have come and gone throughout the summer, what should you do to keep your garden growing? To keep blooms popping Sagliocco prefers perennials over annuals. “Once their bloom cycle has passed, you can just cut them back and they are ready to either flush out a new bloom for the season or they conserve their bloom for the following year, and you only have to pay once for a plant,” he says. “Unlike annuals, once they are done blooming, they become organic waste and you have to purchase new annuals every year.”
He adds there are pros and cons to every plant no matter what time of year you are planning for. “There is no perfect plant, you just need to weigh them out to make sense for your garden.”
Moving into the fall, he says the season is synonymous with chrysanthemums. “It is a perennial which is most commonly used as an annual because of its short bloom life,” says Sagliocco. “It has the most full and glorious bloom showing its beautiful fall colors, but it does have a short bloom life of a few weeks.”
“Not all plants work in all areas of the property; listen to the property and listen to the plants and they will show you what they like and what they don’t.”
—Valerio Morano Sagliocco
He also suggests planting any of the following for the fall:
- Callicarpa — “An American beauty berry, [this] is one of my favorites, and has beautiful purple berries that look like flowers.”
- Hydrangea quercifolia — This oakleaf hydrangea has a great reddish leaf color.
- Witch hazel — “It has the most interesting tricolor autumn leaf: orange, red, and yellow.”
No matter what you plant and whether it’s for the summer or fall, his biggest tip is to “plan ahead and start off on the right foot.”
“Put plants that require sun in sunny areas, and those that require shade in the shady areas,” he says. “Not all plants work in all areas of the property; listen to the property and listen to the plants and they will show you what they like and what they don’t.”