Annual Flowers In The Summer Desert
It was 118 degrees today. This is the fourth hottest day on record! It will this way for a couple of months. I started trashing the annual flowers. I have in my hanging pots and scattered throughout the yard. A month ago I had a very colorful backyard of annual flowers including marigolds, petunias, lobela and annoys. Now they all just look like they are on life support except for the marigolds and whirlwind whites (scaevola hybrid). These annual flowers just seem to look a little worn and tried. I dead headed them and I just hope the buds open.
I think the petunias died for a number of reasons. One is lack of sufficient water. I have the pots of annual flowers on a separate valve on the drip system but on these particular pots I use a soaker rather than an adjustable emitter and it just not as consistent as using a variable emitter..
So now I am thinking this may be a good time to experiment with annual flowers. This is what I am thinking for plants and annual flowers. In my hanging pots I may plant some lantana, prairie zinnia, moss rose, Mexican sunflower, zinnia, verbena and southwestern cosmos. Of course I don’t expect to plant all of these annual flowers much less find them all. I would only plant healthy looking specimens of these annual flowers. Although when I an orphan plants on sale I do take Them home. When the temperatures are this hot I need to pass those opportunities.
I am not sure how difficult it will be to find some of these plants and annual flowers. I know finding the lantana will not be a problem. In fact I plan on planting yellow and white lantana in the same pot. I also plan on call a couple of wholesalers that I buy from to see what they have on hand as far as annual flowers. I may find something I hadn’t thought of.
I would be concerned about buying anything right now from any big box store or even retail nursery. But that is not to say that I will not buy some annual flowers to plant now. I do buy most of my annual flowers from lows and home depot because of the connivance. I do read the tags as far as the zones and the amount of sun they would require. Many of the annual flowers sold here came from California. This means that when the tag says full sun, it means full sun in California not here in Phoenix. This is why in the beginning I said planting now would be an experiment.
Another thought I have is to mix perennials in with the annual flowers. I do this a lot when I plan a rose garden. I call out for assorted annual flowers to be planted with them. The plan is to always have something in bloom, or at least not have tired looking plants or annual flowers in yard.
In the front of my house I have a pot that I have a few cacti. It is time to change that up also with some annual flowers. I was thinking of still keeping it cacti, maybe a 3 foot tall saguaro or so and a few golden barrels. The pot is about two feet tall with a tapered base. I want to plant a few trailing annual flowers for color but I don’t want it to get too busy either. I may just put the tapered pot inside a wok pot and plant the trailing ground cover plants in the wok pot for some color. Yes, once again, this is thinking outside the box.
Some people plant “Iron Plants” so they do not need to think about the heat, sun or water. Although there is no color with “Iron Plants”, you cannot beat the texture it creates.
One of my neighbors thinks they have found the solution. They use artificial plants. They have tree that is probably 8 feet tall along with hanging planters and others in pots. This is my first summer viewing them, so I am curious to see what the summer sun does to them as far as fading and I also wonder if they will change them out with the seasons. I am also thinking this could be considered “being green”? They use no water at all, can that be considered Xeroscape Gardening?
To summarize the next two months will be the most difficult time of the year for annual flowers, but I think not annual flowers would be just sad.
I will keep you updated on the experiment.