By Samantha Nicole Alarilla
Don’t you notice that the 7 am sun has gotten hotter now when we walk or commute to work? Somehow, there’s less traffic too in some areas; and there are more and more kids out and about free of their uniforms and schoolwork. Truly, these are signs that summer has finally arrived.
As the hot months approach, some of us with green thumbs would surely be fretting over our gardens and doubting the toughness of our plants. But we’re here to tell you not to fear. With the right plants and the proper care, your garden will thrive as picturesque as they did the rest of the year.
Here are some of the plants that will surely survive and thrive in the summer heat:
Acalypha is actually a large genus of about 430 species of shrubs, trees, and annuals from tropical and subtropical regions. They are known as evergreen plants known for their decorative foliage and sometimes peculiar-looking flowers. They love the outdoors and grow best in moist but well-drained soil rich in organic matter. They do well indoors too, provided you plant them in a soilless mix. Water then freely and fertilize monthly during its growing season.
Just remember to look out for scale insects, mealybugs, whiteflies, and spider mites as Acalypha tend to get a lot of them. They also acquire downy mildew, powdery mildew, rust, leaf spots, and fungal roots if not taken cared of properly!
Going for a more exotic and authentic garden? Why not consider the versatile and robust Bamboo? Bamboo grows fast and thick. It will surely add a lovely lush feature to your garden. They grow the fastest in full sun and fertile, slightly acidic, well drained but moist soil. Give it at least 1 inch of water a week – either from rainfall or manual watering – to encourage deep roots.
Eugenia is a quick and easy hedge solution. It has broad and evergreen leaves. It thrives well in full sun. It grows up to 4 feet per year and grows fast; so make sure to trim it into formal hedges. Eugenia shrubs tolerate a wide range of soil conditions; but a well drained soil is best. Remember to watch out for curling leaves! It’s a Eugenia’s way of telling you it’s thirsty.
Bougainvillea offers green foliage year round and brilliant orange, yellow, crimson, pink, or purple “blooms” – as they are actually bracts or modified leaves — in the summer. Growing them does require some effort; but it is definitely worth it. Place these woody vines outdoors in full sun and well-draining soil. Irrigate only when the plants start to wilt and the soil is dry. Fertilize your bougainvillea every month – especially in the early summer.
Do remember that bougainvillea require pruning; so keep an eye out for dead wood, and pinch off the soft growing tips of young plant stems to encourage thicker and fuller growth.
Known as Gumamela in the Philippines, Hibiscus is a great way to add a tropical flair to your garden. They love the full sun and warm, humid conditions. But you might have to provide it with a little afternoon shade when it gets a little too hot. This is why it is best to plant Hibiscus in pots. Always make sure that a growing Hibiscus has excellent drainage. It requires large amounts of water in their blooming stage, and daily watering in the summer.
Known as Impala Lilies or Desert Roses in English, produce white or fuchsia flowers and develop fat trunks and finger-like roots at its base. Kalachuchi plants love the sun so put them outdoors where they are exposed to full sunlight. Water them often and only fertilize during their growing season.
Champagne Palm or Bottle Palm.
If you have the luxury of space in your landscape, consider planting a Champagne Palm A.K.A. Bottle Palm! These plants earned the name because of its strong trunk resembling a bottle. Only low maintenance care for this plant is required due to its slow but sure growth. It is drought tolerant too. They grow 10 feet in height and sport fronds that grow 12 feet in length with 2-foot long leaflets. They prefer drier, well-drained soils chocked up with plenty of potassium. Water well initially to help the plant develop deep roots.
Lastly, Who could ever forget our lovely, simple and delicate national flower, the Sampaguita? They grow on woody vines and are known as a semi-climbing shrub that can reach the height of 1 to 2 meters. It is known for its distinct, sweet, and heady fragrance. They love the full sun and well-drained potting soil with lots of organic matter. Fertilize your Sampaguitas every month and prune them to keep the plants thin and shaped.
Ixora is actually just a fancy name for your local Santan. It is a tropical evergreen shrub known for its bright florets that come in red, orange, yellow, and pink. Ixoras grow best in full sun and well-drained, slightly acidic soil. Keep the soil evenly moist and prune the plant when it gets unruly. The flowers can sometimes grow dark purple to black berries with seeds that can be used to plant more Ixoras.