Five Fabulous Plants for Your Summer Garden
by Laurelynn Martin
A non-gardening friend of mine, Carol, asked me how she could create an enticing outdoor patio with plants she wouldn’t kill. She had little to no experience with plants, so I was careful what to recommend. We were looking for plants that made a statement but also plants that were easy to grow. Several plants came to mind for her outdoor patio, and if so desired, she could plant them directly into a summer garden bed.
Some of the most dramatic plants for the summer garden are Angel’s Trumpets (Brugmansia hybrids). ‘White Cascade’ is a prolific bloomer and is our pick for the summer garden. It has pure white, upturned flowers that reach 6-8” in length emit an intoxicating nighttime fragrance. This is one of our heaviest blooming Angel’s Trumpet with 50 plus flowers often open at once and it stays attractively compact because of its lateral growth habit. Give full sun and plenty of water and fertilizer to have a show-stopping plant all summer long.
We recommend Hibiscus ‘Cooperii’ for those dull spaces on a patio that just need a pop of color or a flash of brilliance. Grown for its fancy, variegated foliage with brilliant shades of burgundy, red, pink, white and green. Single red flowers emerge among the brilliant foliage. Grow in full sun to maximize color intensity and remember to fertilize and water regularly for best results.
No patio or summer garden is complete without over-sized Elephant Ears. We recommend Elephant Ear ‘Boa’ (Alocasia hybrid) for its grandeur of large serrated leaves that grow upright and give any growing space a tropical feel. The vibrant green leaves reach 18-24” wide in a single season and can be used as a stand-alone focal point for any gardening endeavor. Grow in full to partial sun in well-drained soil.
Balloon Plant (Gomphocarpus physocarpus) is one of the most unusual plants for its large, spherical, lime-green seed pods that resemble balloons. Monarch butterflies seek out Balloon Plant making it a wonderful choice for the summer garden. The unusual seed pods split open in the fall and release silky-haired seeds into the wind. It will self- seed in Zone 10 but in the north, Balloon Plant is simply grown as an annual for its interesting look and highly sought after for dried floral arrangements. Grow in full sun.
The list wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t recommend a small grower for the patio or outdoor garden. Only growing 6” tall, Echeveria ‘Raindrops’ is a succulent that is classified in the indestructible category, only needing fertilizer once a month and water only when dry. ‘Raindrops’ is grown for its unusual foliage; the fleshy leaves have a single bump close to the tip resembling a large raindrop. The light green leaves are outlined in red and turn a reddish hue with age. Grow in well-drained soil in full to partial sun.
These five favorites are guaranteed show-stoppers even for those who are new or novice gardeners. Although after this growing season, Carol will have rightfully moved into the category of gardening friend!
Thanks for visiting Logee’s. Before you go, please be sure to explore our selection of fruiting, rare and tropical plants. And don’t forget to request your free Logee’s catalog, too! You can learn more below about the tropical plants for your summer garden mentioned in this article:
- Angel’s Trumpet ‘White Cascade’ (Brugmansia hybrid)
- Hibiscus ‘Cooperii’ (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis cooperii)
- Elephant Ear ‘Boa’ (Alocasia hybrid)
- Balloon Plant (Gomphocarpus physocarpus)
- Echeveria ‘Raindrops’ (Echeveria hybrid)