Column: The Garden Girl – Plants Made for the Heat

August 3, 2014 17:27 pm · 14 comments


After a week of scorching hot days, it is always telling to see what plants are able to hold up to the extreme weather conditions. Often, plants whose tags boast ‘sun and heat tolerance’ can wilt when Claycord heats up for succession of days. They wilt, not from lack of watering, but just the heat of the air. New installations will show the stress more than established plantings.

Garden lovers go to great lengths to protect their plantings. This week at the nursery we sold anti-transpirants than usual. Anti-transpirants are sprayed on plant and tree foliage to protect and help reduce moisture loss during periods of frost and heat. Wilt Stop and Cloud Cover are both popular anti-transpirants type products. Either has been proven useful when sprayed on Japanese maple trees, hydrangeas, hostas, gardenias and lots of other plants. Some garden lovers provide temporary shade for their installations putting up shade clothe, frost covers and umbrellas.

Some plants just hold up better than others. Gaillardia is one family of plants that have some attributes for thriving in the full, hot sun. Gaillardia has a smallish leave that has a slight pile, or hair-like texture. This pile protects the body of the leaf from evaporation caused by heat. The flowers of Gaillardia are hot colors, which seem to absorb the sun better then soft pastel colors. Gaillardia is available in bright reds, oranges, and yellows. They are extremely hardy, long living and a fantastic garden or landscape installation.

Yarrow, Sage, Lavender and Sedum held up very well. The temperatures didn’t affect their leaves and flowers at all. It got so warm that the petals on the roses burned along the edges. When this happens, just dead head the burnt flowers away. New growth will reemerge soon. Burnt leaves on Japanese maples should be stripped to make room for new growth.

It is important to resist the urge to mist your plant’s foliage when temperatures soar. Wet leaves are susceptible to burning. Also, don’t over-water. Clay soil holds moisture for a long time.

Happy Gardening!

Nicole Hackett is the Garden Girl at R&M Pool, Patio and Gardens, located at 6780 Marsh Creek Road in Clayton, 925-672-0207.

Nicole writes for the Clayton Pioneer Newspaper, and She is also the Clayton Valley Garden Club 2012 President.

1 Paula August 3, 2014 at 8:56 PM

We have this beautiful plant and love the colorful flowers, however, have noticed the leaves are colored flower petals are disappearing from the center. What would cause this? Is there an insect eating the petals? If so, what do you recommend? Thanks!

2 milly August 3, 2014 at 9:07 PM

I have African daisies in pots close to my redwoods,they get morning sun and partial shade which they them to like..

3 Antler August 3, 2014 at 9:15 PM

The multi-colors of this bloom should “pull together” the other bright colors in a summer bed. I love them with yellow marigolds and the red/orange/yellow variety of lantana.

Thank you for the reminder, dear Garden Girl!

4 Marissa August 3, 2014 at 9:43 PM

What beautifully colored flowers, I have these in my yard and they do withstand heat very well. Thank you for posting this!

5 Marianne August 3, 2014 at 11:28 PM

These are lovely, I have seen those of the green variety which are also truly magnificent.

6 silva August 4, 2014 at 7:26 AM

Gorgeous! I’ve not heard of or seen these that I recall.

7 Irene August 4, 2014 at 8:31 AM

These columns provide a lot of good information? But I do notice that a lot of the questions that the people post here are never answered. Possibly it is in a future column and I didn’t remember it as being a previous question or it is not noted as a response? Maybe Nicole has so much time and can only fit writing the column into her schedule? It would be nice to know that we need to go to our local nursery for specific questions. Maybe, putting something at the end of the article, along with Happy Gardening, like “If you have any gardening questions come down to visit us or your local nursery.”

8 Garden Girl August 4, 2014 at 9:39 AM

Good Morning Irene.
Having enough time for life, work and writing is always an issue. I work 50 hours a week during the growing season and have a family and myself to take care of.
As for not answering all the questions… Some questions asked by readers are too vague to give a proper response. I need more info to address properly. Occasionally questions asked have been talked about in past columns, while sometimes the answers are already in the content of the current column. Often questions need entire columns to be answered. Those I try to write about. Readers have also been known to answer questions of other readers in the comment section. Which I appreciate.
At the bottom of my column under my closing is our R&M Pool, Patio, Gifts and Gardens address and phone number. The Mayor provides me with a email address which is located on the contact section of Claycord as well. I already answer direct question regularly. Ill ask the Mayor to include it in my email in my by-line along with a suggestion to contact with questions.
Thank you for your suggestions and for reading.

Dear Paula,
Would you email me a photo of the damage? That way I can better see what’s happening.
Thank you

9 Antler August 4, 2014 at 9:42 AM

silva, I loved this flower from about 1948, when I saw them spreading across sand banks at Wrightsville Beach, NC. They looked beautiful underneath the waving fronds of sea oats.

That leads me to wonder whether the plant might like some sand in the potting mix around them at planting time. Perhaps Nicole would address that point?

10 Garden Girl August 4, 2014 at 10:24 AM

Dear Antler,
Gaillardia thrives in our soil already. No need to add sand. A handful of planting mix will do just fine.

11 PhilthyPHRESH August 4, 2014 at 11:07 AM

I use the side of my house for afternoon shade for my veggies. No burn problems this year, although last year I planted tomatoes in spring, in soil, and by summertime I had them out full sun all day, and had no burn issues.

12 Silva August 4, 2014 at 11:22 AM

Antler, I just bet that was absolutely HEAVENLY.

13 Antler August 4, 2014 at 10:14 PM

Garden Girl, thank you….no added sand.

Silva, oh yes! At the time, I thought the beautiful red/orange/yellow flowers were growing wild. But then again, I never saw them at other beaches, except in cottage flower beds. So it’s possible that someone or an organized group at Wrightsville Beach was planting Gailladria “in the wild” not only for beauty, but also to help stabilize the dunes? I do know that up at Nag’s Head, there have been many massive plantings of sea oats for that purpose.

14 Original G August 5, 2014 at 12:01 PM

Planted Four o’clocks (Mirabilis jalapa) from gathered seeds. They die back with the frost and have come back every year for 25 years. Take almost no little water, if they do run out they just go dormant. They’re night bloomers an attract both hummingbirds and bees. Have a light pleasant fragrance. Each year the tuber underground gets bigger. Plants grow about 3 1/2 to 4 foot tall.

Have also had sunburn problems, tomatoes and peppers. Am thinking about putting in 4″ multi wall drain pipe, kind with holes, vertically like fence posts East to West and stringing twine in the holes for second planting of Blue Lake FM1 stringiness pole beans. May tech screw 45 degree fittings about 5 feet up and angle it North another 3 – 4 feet for a shaded are for a second planting of peppers. Will let you know how it turns out.

Which vegetables are working for you and which aren’t?
Peppers this year have had few problems. My Early girl tomatoes and Agro paste have “green shoulder” still not ripe where stem attaches.

Cherry tomatoes producing like crazy but leaves are dying off.
Early on made sure to remove any leaves touching the ground and have a drip system so leaves aren’t getting mud splashed on them. Next year need to try a different one, any suggestions?

The plastic bowl on top of a tomato cage with drip system emitter filling it and overflow drain down to the tomato, to prevent splashing mud, has worked perfectly. Not a single tomato has been pecked into so far.

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