If casualties outnumber survivors in the containers you filled with flowers in spring, refresh or renovate your plantings with flowers that thrive in hot weather. From upright snapdragon to spreading fan flower, there are plenty of heat-tolerant choices for charming containers.
If there are plants worth saving from your spring planting, simply work around them by removing spent plants and replacing them with vigorous new bloomers.
Renew Containers with Flowers That Love Summer:
- Prepare favorite containers. Cut a 4″-wide circle around dead or dying plants, at least 4″ deep. Pull out the plants, roots and all, and compost them. If any are diseased or ridden with pests, do not compost. Use a hand trowel to loosen and remove the top 2″ of soil from the containers, taking care to avoid injuring the roots of any plants you want to keep, because evaporation causes a build-up of natural salts near the surface.
- Plant upright flowers like summer snapdragon near the back of containers to add height and balance to the composition. Lovely flower spikes clad in shades of pink, purple and white will appear non-stop all summer.
- Tuck heat-tolerant flowers inside the edges of containers to allow them to cascade over the side. Let color be your guide. For cool blue, soft pink or crisp white, fan flower is an outstanding choice. Million bells puts on a show with bright reds, oranges and yellows. Ornamental sweet potato vine adds burgundy or chartreuse.
- Plant coleus in containers kept in shady spots. Coleus never fail to brighten outdoor living areas with their brightly colored stained-glass leaves. One tried-and-true design is to choose one coleus with very dark red leaves, and then pick two companions with much lighter leaf colors. Plant the three plants in a triangle in a 14”-wide container.
- Once all new plants are in place, add potting soil to within 2” of the top of the pots.
Tip: Large containers retain soil moisture better than small ones, so bigger containers are better for summer flowers.
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