Master Gardeners: Summer flowers for Southern gardens

Published 12:22 am Saturday, June 12, 2021

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By Sheri Bethard

Orange County Master Gardeners

Spring has definitely passed us now and summer is here for the next several months. So, this means our pretty spring flowers are now faded and we would like color in our gardens during the rest of the summer here in Orange County. Many of you are not aware there are many flowers that will stand thru out hot, humid summers including those times when rain is sparse. There are many annuals (plants which have only one growing season) and perennials (plants which live on year after year) that can be grown in our area.

Petunias – are one of the longest flowering annuals around blooming from spring well into fall and sometimes winter. You should deadhead them occasionally to keep the blooms coming. You can start them from seed, but this will take some time so go to your local gardening center and pick out your favorite colors. There are hybrids such as the “Purple Wave” which has a trailing habit, coming in shades of pink, purple, blue and red. To keep them blooming they will need fertilizing and watering when they get dry.

Zinnias – are a very reliable bloomer which has many sizes from the compact miniature to the tall cutting size and colors such as pink, red, purple, orange, yellow, lavender, white and even green, just to name a few. There are 4 types of Zinnias. The type depends on the rows of petals in a flower.

  • Single Flowered – has a single row of petals
  • Semi-Doubled Flowered – has several rows of petals
  • Fully Double Flowered – has several rows of petals but the center is not visible, being hidden by the petals
  • Cactus Flowered – each petal rolls towards the underside, as a result of which the entire petal twists to form a unique flower

Zinnias are very easy to grow from seed and will provide you color all summer long.

Gaillardia – is another summer-flowering plant blooming all season long. It comes in bright colors of yellows and shades of red and orange, even a deep maroon. They continually bloom without deadheading. They are a perennial which should be divided every 3-4 years.

Coreopsis – is an old-fashioned favorite. Grown as an annual, it sometimes will come back year after year from its seeds. They must be deadheaded.

Yarrow – is a sun-loving perennial with colors of white, yellow and red. Deadheading keeps them from self-seeding and their foliage stays green all winter long.

Coneflower – is a perennial coming in a multitude of colors now. Purple is the most common color with hybrids coming in many other colors. All parts of the Purple Coneflower are used for medicinal properties.

Marigolds – are another annual we are used to seeing in gardens. There are several varieties from the French type to the African Amazon variety. They are easily grown from seed and bloom all summer.

Daylilies – come in many different varieties. They will bloom from spring to fall depending on the variety. One of the longest bloomers is the “Stella de Oro” of the many daylily varieties. They are perennials with some varieties staying green all year in our area. Clumps should be divided in fall every 3-4 years.

Additional summer flowing plants are Rudbeckia, Bee Balm/Monarda, Dahlias, Angelonia and Gaura. Any of these can be grown from seed except the Angelonia unless you have the Serena & Serenita Series varieties.

For more information on summer blooming flowers, check our website,

For your horticulture questions, please call our Hot Line 409 882-7010 Tues. and Thur., 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Or send your questions to

The Orange County Master Gardeners are taking applications for their upcoming initial training class which will be starting in September 2021, date to be determined. Most of the classes will be held on Thursday evenings from 6 p.m.-8/8:30 p.m. at the Orange County EXPO Center, 11475 FM 1442, Orangefield. There will be some Saturday classes and field trips during the session. Cost for the class is $150 which will include your training handbook, speaker fees and supplies. Email for your application.