Our Top Picks For July

Summer has arrived (despite a recent cooling of the weather, as per usual over the 4th of July holiday) and the garden is in high gear. It’s beginning to feel like the time to enjoy the fruits of our labor (literally and figuratively). Our top picks for July are plants that come into their own at the height of summer, offering bright colors, beautiful blooms, a tropical vibe, and often, intoxicating aromas. Let the sun shine, the garden grow, and the gardener relax and enjoy!

Black-Eyed Susan Vine (Thunbergia alata)

Black Eyed Susan Vine.jpg

Easy to care for and charming, the black-eyed Susan vine is a summer staple. The vines will twirl themselves around any supporting structure or cascade down from a hanging pot (or even over a fence). Flowers range from deep orange to peach, yellow, and cream. This annual blooms all summer long and into fall.

  • Full sun to part shade

  • Fertile, well-drained soil

  • 6’-8’ tall vine

  • Blooms summer to fall

  • Great for containers!

 

Marigold

French Marigolds.jpg

Often overlooked, the marigold is a wonderful summer flower that does triple duty: it offers gorgeous, saturated color, attracts pollinators, and even helps protect vegetables from certain nematodes! The African marigolds and French marigolds (seen above) offer larger, domed flowers while the signet marigold has a looser, lacy foliage and smaller, single flowers.

  • Full sun

  • Well-drained soil

  • 8”-36” tall and 6”-12” wide, depending on variety

  • Blooms spring to first frost

 

Windmill Palm

Wagners Windmill Palm.jpg

Evoking tropical climes, windmill palms offer an exotic look while being perfectly cold hardy here in the PNW. Our local source grows these beauties from seed, offering single and multi-stem offerings (a rarity!) The Wagner’s Windmill Palm, shown above, is slow growing and has compact, stiff, short leaflets.

  • Full sun to part shade

  • Well-drained soil

  • 6’-18’ tall and 4’-8’ wide in 10-20 years, depending on variety

  • Yellow flowers (with age) in May or June but grown as a foliage plant

 

Hardy Fuchsia

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A great choice for the PNW garden, hardy fuchsias are the meal of choice for hummingbirds! Hardy fuchsias are available in a variety of colors and sizes and bloom from early summer through frost. ‘Galadriel’, pictured above, has blooms that emerge from a cream-colored tube and have bright red sepals covering a single red corolla.

  • Sun to shade, depending on variety

  • Rich, moist, well-drained soil

  • 12”-4’ tall and wide, depending on variety

  • Blooms June/July-Frost

 

Agapanthus

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Agapanthus, also called Lily of the Nile, is a showstopper in summer with bright lavender, deep purple, or white blooms over strappy foliage. Plants can be evergreen or deciduous, with the deciduous plants being more hardy. Remove spent flowers to encourage more blooms. ‘Baby Pete’, shown above (planted with purple salvia), is a smaller variety with blooms to about 18”-24” tall.

  • Full sun to part sun for best blooms

  • Moist, well-drained soil

  • 18”-5’ tall and 18”-36” wide, depending on variety

  • Blooms mid-summer to early fall

 

Penstemon

Mexcali Red Penstemon.jpg

Tall, showy spikes of flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds make penstemon a top choice in the garden. This Western US native is tolerant of drought and a great addition to a border or naturalistic garden. A huge variety of sizes and colors are available. Shear in late summer to allow for a new bloom in the fall.

  • Full sun

  • Well-drained soil

  • 12”-36” tall and wide, depending on variety

  • Blooms summer to fall

 

Lily

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There are so many lilies to choose from, each with its own unique style. Of the true lilies (Lilium), Oriental lilies often have a strong fragrance while asiatic lilies do not. This Regal lily (Lilium regale), seen above, has heavily scented white trumpet flowers with light purple markings.

  • Full sun to part shade

  • Moist, well-drained soil; keep mulched

  • 3’-6’ tall and 8”-36” wide, depending on variety

  • Blooms early summer-fall, depending on variety

 

Hot Lips Autumn Sage

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Hot Lips sage is, appropriately, the name on everyone’s lips. It’s a drought-tolerant stunner with flowers that emerge bright red and then become bicolor red and white. This prolific bloomer offers dramatic color June-September. Shear back by 1/2 in March to prevent legginess. Then sit back and enjoy the frenzy of pollinators that arrive to feast!

  • Full sun

  • Average, well-drained soil

  • 24” tall and wide’ flowers to 36” tall

  • Blooms June-September

 

Zinnia

Zinnia.jpg

Zinnias are hardworking, cheerful annuals available in a wide array of bright colors. These are great hot weather plants and add continuous color throughout the summer. They like to be watered and fed regularly for the best bloom production, but prefer that you refrain from overhead watering. Best of all, they attract butterflies and other pollinators!

  • Part sun to part shade

  • Well-drained, fertile soil

  • 6”-30” tall and wide, depending on variety

  • Blooms summer to early fall

 

Rose

Nicole Floribunda Rose.jpg

Roses are the epitome of the summer garden with their color, their fragrance, and their stately beauty. Beautiful on the bush or as a cut flower, roses require some care but offer ample rewards for those that choose to grow them. This Floribunda rose, ‘Nicole’, has bicolor bright pink and white flowers on glossy green foliage and grows to 4’-5’ tall and wide.

  • Full sun

  • Fertile, well-drained soil

  • 12”-8’ tall and 12”-4’ wide, depending upon variety

  • Blooms June-September

We’d love to help you choose something perfect for your individual space, whether in person or on social media using #heyswansons!