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Smart Thoughts

3 Easy Tips for Stunning and Delicious Summer Plants

Summer vegetables

The long, hot days of summer can bring the greatest rewards from your container-grown summer plants. The difference between summer plants for pots that are stunners instead of bummers can be summed up in these do’s and don’ts:

1. The right plants for the right place: Good summer plants for pots that receive four or more hours of full sun include ornamentals like coneflowers, cosmos, pentas, cannas, salvias, zinnias and periwinkles. Shade-loving ornamentals include impatiens, hostas, begonias, astilbe, foxgloves, and ferns. Edible summer plants for the garden, or containers, include tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, basil, squash, and corn. There’s no use planting sugar snap peas in the summer in most parts of the country. It’s just too hot. Garden centers will have the veggies and herbs you want at the right time of year, so if you don’t see lettuce on the racks, it’s not the right time to plant it.

2. Food and Water: Learning how to take care of plants in the summer can be easy, as long as you remember that the sun, heat, and wind will speed up your plants’ metabolism. That means providing plenty of nutrients and water to keep them looking their best while yielding the most fruit and flowers. Sweet, juicy tomatoes, brilliant and abundant blossoms, tender squash, and crisp cucumbers all need adequate water and plenty of nutrients to keep going strong all summer long. Summer plants for containers are even greedier for nutrients and water, but since you can provide great soil conditions and easily monitor the moisture in a container, they can yield even greater results. Different plants have different water needs, so when to water plants in the summer can be worth a bit of research. For example, many herbs like a drier, leaner soil, while tomatoes like plenty of nutrients and water. Impatiens are well-known water hogs, while coneflowers will manage in drier conditions. There’s no better way to know when to water your plants in the summer than getting down and dirty. Stick your finger in the soil, to check the moisture level. What seems like a great summer rain storm can produce surprisingly little water.

3. Home Sweet Home: If you have terrific soil and tons of room, summer plants in the garden will thrive in the ground. You will still need to feed and water consistently, and according to instructions on your nutrients, but your water requirements may be a little less. If you have poor soil, limited space, invasive grass, tree roots, in-ground pests, or a multitude of other obstacles to overcome, summer plants for containers can be a gardener’s dream come true. Fabric aeration containers can provide air root pruning, light weight portability, and releases heat keeping your summer plants’ roots cool and healthy. As your trees leaf out, or the angle of the summer sun changes, shade and sun patterns will change, and summer plants in pots can be moved to adapt to changing conditions.