Kathy’s Gardening Guide

Beat-the-heat plants for your landscape


The summer months in Ponte Vedra Beach and Jacksonville are often hot and humid! Plants must be tough enough to withstand these sometimes-harsh conditions.

Ideas for plants that are heat tolerant and enjoy full sun are black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia spp.), blue daze (Evolvulus glomeratus), coleus, bush daisy, globe amaranth (Gomphrena globosa), melampodium, gaillardia (also called blanket flower), gazania, ornamental peppers, Texas sage, milkweed (Asclepias spp.), pentas, periwinkle/vinca (Catharanthus roseus), moss rose (Portulaca spp), purslane, zinnia, lantana, dune (or beach) sunflower daisy and all types of sedums and succulents.

Carolina jessamine, aka yellow jessamine, grows as a vine, so it’s a perfect choice to climb up a landscape feature such as a trellis arbor or pergola. These butter-yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers release a sweet fragrance and are very heat tolerant.

Blue daze is salt tolerant and grows beautifully in eastern exposure. Once established, it requires little care other than extra water during dry weather. The plants are covered with small blue flowers that close during the afternoon heat; no deadheading required.

Vinca/periwinkle is a great annual flower that comes in a variety of colors for hot, dry weather. Their needs are minimal: low water and fertilizers.

Some of the top performers include beach sunflower (Helianthus debilis), butterfly bush (Buddleia spp.), bulbine, bush daisy (Euryops pectinatus), blanket flower (Gaillardia pulchella), cuphea spp. like Mexican heather, firebush (Hamelia patens), firespike (Odontonema cuspidate), hibiscus, hydrangea, plumbago, salvia, shrimp plant, jacobinia (Justicia spp), lantana and yellow alder (Tecoma stans) — also called Esperanza.

Several heat-tolerant shade/foliage plants are impatiens (such as New Guinea impatiens), wax begonia and euphorbia Diamond Frost — all annuals. Also, consider Alternanthera app like Brazilian Red Hots or Joseph’s Coat, Alocasia or philodendron, ornamental sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas), Persian shield (Strobilanthes dyerianus), Hawaiian ti plant (Cordyline), stromanthe, Arbicoloe, foxtail fern, agapanthus (Lilly of the Nile), red salvia (Summer Jule) and caladiums.

Happy planting!

Flower of the Week: Lantana

Please email Kathy at kcg.pvr@gmail.com for any questions or gardening tips you would like to see in the future. For more information & ideas, visit Kathy’s Creative Gardens & Nursery, 196 N. Roscoe Blvd. The phone number is 904-655-7373.



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