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Houston horticulture pros show you what plants can beat the heat and how to help them thrive all year-round.
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Heather Stickell, Chief Design, Hearst
In Texas, we have two seasons—hot and hotter. Houstonians may not enjoy the triple-digit heat index during the summer, but the vegetation native to our area loves it.
We asked local gardening experts for recommendations on which plants are best suited for extreme heat, and how to help your garden stay healthy as the temperatures climb. Here are all their hot tips!
A Succulent Summer
Submitted by: Andrea Afra
Andrea [email protected] Afra is a gardener, plant coach, and the founder of Sucs for You—a consulting service for succulent plant varieties. Andrea is also the author of ‘The Succulent Manual: A Guide to Care and Repair for all Climates’.
Andrea is a plant coach specializing in the care of succulents—one of the most heat resilient plants in Houston. Succulents store water in their leaves and stems, making them well suited for hotter climates. These beautiful plants come in a variety of colors and intricate designs that require very little effort to propagate. “All most succulents need to be happy is bright indirect light, a fast-draining soil mix, and an owner who knows when to put down the watering can,” describes Andrea.
Andrea’s Tips for Succulent Success
Pick the Best Plants
Andrea’s preferred succulent varieties include: Kalanchoes, Aloes, Euphorbias, Epiphyllums, Opuntia, and Haworthia.
Just a Few Will Do
Although succulents are widely popular, start with a select few and prepare a budget for supplies like drainage materials, suitable pots, and grow lights, if needed.
Succulents Grow Slow
While waiting for your slow-growing succulents to grow, plant other heat resilient flowers like Begonias, Coleus, and Philodendrons.
Succulents are so well-suited to survive in dry climates that overwatering them may be fatal. “You’ll need to amend the soil in your garden beds to prevent in-ground succulents from getting waterlogged from all of the rain we get,” explains Andrea. For drainage materials, Andrea recommends Quality Feed and Southwest Fertilizer.
Her go-to nurseries are all localized in the Heights and include Joshua’s Native Plants, Another Place in Time, New Roots, and Buchanan’s to source succulent varieties and gardening materials like a garden trowel.
Local Resource: The Best Houston Garden Centers — Curated by Chron Shopping
Hot Peppers for Hot Weather
Submitted by: Ivy Walls
Ivy [email protected] Walls is a budding farmer, community entrepreneur, and creative visionary. She is the founder of Ivy Leaf Farms, a community farm dedicated to bringing neighborhood beautification and sustainable food access to the Sunnyside neighborhood in South Houston.
Ivy Walls has a green thumb and a heart of gold. She is feeding her community through Ivy Leaf Farms – a community farm that strives to overcome the food desert in Houston’s Sunnyside neighborhood. If anyone knows how to grow vegetables in Houston, it’s Ivy.
Ivy’s Top Tips for Growing Vegetables
Vegetables That Can Beat the Heat
Ivy’s recommendations for Houston’s most heat-tolerant vegetables include: Okra, bell peppers, hot peppers, eggplants, corn, and turmeric.
Know When to Water
Water your plants every two days at sunrise or sunset. When watering, focus on hydrating the soil and not the plants themselves. Only the roots are capable of absorbing water.
Create Shade for the Soil
Add mulch to create a protective barrier from the hot sun and to help the soil maintain optimal temperatures throughout the day. This will also prevent your plants from prematurely drying out.
According to Ivy one of the most important factors in growing healthy plants is the quality of the soil. “Remember you’re feeding the soil not the plant,” she says. Ivy recommends MicroLife 6-2-4 as the best all purpose organic soil food to achieve your greatest yield potential.
40% Black 6.5’x10′ Sun Mesh Shade Sunblock Shade UV Resistant Net – amazon.com
The Hottest Garden in Town
Submitted by: Jessica Watson
Jessica [email protected] Watson is the founder of Houston Designer Gardens, a company that builds raised vegetable gardens throughout Houston. She is currently working towards a Bachelors degree in Plant and Soil Science with a concentration in Horticulture.
Jessica Watson founded her company Houston Designer Gardens in January of this year and has quickly amassed a following of over 35K followers on Instagram and supported dozens of happy clients. The one thing that Jessica loves more than gardening is educating people on how to help their gardens thrive.
Jessica’s Tips for Growing Vegetables
Vegetables That Can Beat the Heat
Jessica’s recommendations for heat-tolerant vegetables include: Bush Beans, Black-Eyed Peas, Cantaloupe, Carrots, Cantaloupe, Hot Peppers, Asian Cucumbers, Sweet Potatoes, and Yard Long Beans.
Make it Rain
Once your plants are in the ground be sure to water daily for the first two weeks as the seeds begin to germinate. Run your spray heads for at least 10 minutes daily.
Deadhead Your Flowers
Deadheading refers to the removal of dead or dying flowers. Removing the stagnant portions of your plant helps to redirect valuable nutrients to healthier stems.
Jessica recommends investing in quality soil on day one of planting your garden. “Grow organically—from soil to seeds and from plants to fertilizer.”
Castine Blend Organic Raised Bed Planter Gardening Mix, 1 cu. ft. – homedepot.com
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Erin Creeks is the User Generated Content Coordinator for Chron Shopping at Hearst Newspapers. Email her at [email protected]
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