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Summer flowers: These beautiful plants thrive in the heat

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If you love seeing a riot of colourful summer flowers in your garden, but you’re worried about them wilting under a powerful sun, here are some of the best flowers to plant when you’re expecting hot weather.

While choosing the right summer flowers can seem like a daunting task, the reality is that many flowering plants actually thrive in low moisture conditions and direct sunlight. Achieving a garden full of colourful blooms at the height of summer is far from impossible – you just have to know which plants to pick and how to take care of them.

Identifying the best summer flowers

One of the best things about summer flowers is the fact that there’s a lot of variety in terms of blooms that can take the heat, from lilies and daisies to flowering shrubs and tropical plants. For a little inspiration, think about the sort of summer flowers you might have seen on your travels or in iconic images of Southern Europe. Perhaps the great lavender fields of Provence in France spring to mind, sunflower farms in Italy’s Tuscany region, or the bright, papery blooms of bougainvillea spilling over a white wall in Spain or Greece. Without realising it, you probably already know more suitable summer flowers than you think.

These iconic summer flowers are all impressively drought tolerant and easy to grow and maintain. Plant lavender close to the house to benefit from its heady fragrance, or enjoy harvesting a crop of sunflower seeds from the cheerful yellow blooms at the end of the summer.

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There are plenty of other flowering options for a summer garden, including brightly coloured asters (aster amellus), which are magnets for butterflies, and are essentially low maintenance. Bold dahlias (dahlia pinnata) bloom into a tight ball of petals in lovely deep shades, and make beautiful ceremonial flowers.

Don’t overlook towering snapdragons (penstemon palmari), also known as beardtongues, which produce a bell-shaped flower on tall plants that grow up to a metre in height.

The gorgeous hibiscus, which comes in a number of varieties, has its origins in tropical climates. As a result, it has moderate irrigation requirements and can tolerate bright sun for most of the day.

Understanding watering needs

While many successful summer flowers positively flourish in direct sunlight, they tend to have varying needs in terms of irrigation. Colourful marigolds, for example, with their beautiful blooms ranging from a delicate cream colour to tawny reds and golds, generally thrive in hot sun. They are easy to plant from seed, germinating quickly outdoors, and bloom within about eight weeks of sowing. However, they can only handle the heat if they get regular moisture, and some more delicate varieties, such as the white snowdrift, actually prefer a little shade.

The Gloriosa daisy, more commonly-known as the Black-Eyed Susan (botanical name Rudbeckia hirta) has bright yellow-red petals with a deep chocolate centre. This drought tolerant flower has no soil preferences and is very low maintenance. The Shasta daisy, an oversized version of the common wild variety, is a popular summer flower with ice-white petals and a deep yellow heart. These summer flowers can tolerate most types of soil but prefer to be planted in well-draining earth, and can be sowed directly outdoors. While easy to grow, their soil needs to be kept moist, especially when the weather is hot and dry.

Saving your summer flowers from drought

To easily understand the needs of your summer flowers, solutions such as GARDENA’s Soil Moisture Sensor electronically measure temperature differences in the earth, allowing the current moisture level of the soil to be read. This time-saving device also saves water, by communicating when irrigation is unnecessary.

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Best used in conjunction with a timed irrigation device, such as GARDENA’s Water Computer EasyControl, these gadgets take the stress out of caring for your summer flowers. Connected directly to the tap, the Water Computer reliably controls irrigation according to the selected duration and frequency, or by communicating with the Soil Moisture Sensor. The right combination of smart watering systems and summer flower know-how can ensure your beautiful blooms last not only this summer, but for several summers to come.