Do you have a black thumb? Are you a gardening newbie? Our 2018 guide to planting in the MidSouth will make sure that you have a garden that your neighbors will be envious of. You too can have a lush flower bed, filled with beautiful flowers and shrubs that will make your home worthy of a cover on Better Homes and Gardens.
There are a number of plants and flowers that are perfectly suited for our area. Here are a few of our favorites, sure to make your garden colorful and versatile.
The daylily is a perennial, meaning it will come back year after year. Daylilies are available in a variety of colors, ranging from a sunshine yellow to deep pink. Its color is the most vibrant in the first part of summer. An extremely versatile flower, its height ranges from 6 inches to over 3 feet. Daylilies are low maintenance and can thrive in most types of soil in either full sun or partial shade. They are very resilient and can survive pretty much anywhere in your garden that has good drainage.
The hydrangea is a fast growing perennial shrub with beautiful blooms. Colors can range from blue and purple to pink, depending on if your soil is more acidic or alkaline. Growing 6 to 8 feet tall, this beautiful plant blooms all summer. The flowers make for breathtaking floral arrangements. Hydrangeas need regular watering when it’s warm with full to partial sun. They do appreciate a little shade from the afternoon sun, so a spot close to your house would be ideal.
Most people have heard of Enchinacea, also known as the immune system boosting herb. This comes from the purple coneflower plant. Beautiful yet hardy, this plant is native to the MidSouth and thrives with little maintenance. Numerous color varieties are available, but the original flower has purple petals with a gold center. The purple coneflower can grow to be up to 47 inches tall and blooms from June to August. Full sun to light shade is best for it. Place this gorgeous flower in the middle of your flower bed where it can get plenty of sun and the attention it deserves.
A hardy plant with a wide range of bloom colors, the azalea bush can grow up to 6 feet tall. It needs full to partial sun, requiring little watering. Azaleas fight for the number one spot as the South’s favorite shrub. Bloom time depends on the variety of azalea you have. Some bloom in the early spring, while others reach their peak in the summer. The Encore azalea actually blooms twice- usually in the spring and again in the summer. A spot close your house is best for azaleas, so they can get full sun in the morning and light shade in your home’s shadow in the afternoon. Treat your azalea right, and it will come back year after year.
Growing up to 8 feet tall, the Hardy hibiscus has huge blossoms- the size of a dinner plate! Requiring full sun and moist soil, this beautiful plant will add a tropical feel to your garden and also attract birds. However, make sure to plant it towards the back of your flower bed so it doesn’t block any of your other plants. The hardy hibiscus is pretty low maintenance, featuring a summer and fall blooming period. It has pink, red or white flowers and either blue/green or purple/burgundy foliage.
If you need help with the design of your flower bed or garden, MidSouth Landscaping and Irrigation can help. We can handle all aspects of the design process, including the actual artistic design, irrigation, drainage and more.
READ MORE: Landscape Design
Choosing plants well adapted to your region’s climate is crucial towards ensuring the success of your garden. Memphis has a great climate for gardening, with lots of sun and adequate rain. It’s important to select plants that will thrive in our hot summers.
The key to selecting plants that do well in our climate is to select ones that love heat. Here are a few to also consider putting in your garden:
Our climate is also perfect for growing heat-loving vegetables. There are a number of veggies that are great for summer growing, including:
Herbs also do great in our summer heat and make for a tasty dinner. The following herbs thrive in warmer weather and are a must have for your herb garden:
One last thing to remember is to always check the tag when buying your plants to see its limit on heat and cold. That way you are sure to get the ones best suited for our climate. Most perennials that are great for our climate are pretty hardy and should have no problem coming back year after year, as long as they are properly taken care of. If needed, you can bring plants that are a little sensitive to the cold inside during the winter.
READ MORE: Plants and Flower Beds
Once you've decided what to plant, it's important to follow a few general guidelines in order to get the best results.
One of the first rules is that you need to work with soil when it is moist, but not wet. If you roll a small amount of soil between your fingers, moist soil will stick together. If you are working with a new bed, make sure that the existing vegetation is dead and turn the soil using a tiller, shovel or garden fork. Adding compost or other organic matter really makes a difference in the quality of your plants. Remember to remove all weeds at the root.
Now that you are ready to plant, make sure to place your flowers and shrubs in the right place. Simply put, sun plants should go in the sun, and shade plants should go in the shade- those recommendations are there for a reason, and trying to outsmart them typically just doesn’t work. Make sure to leave adequate space between them, as young plants will need room to grow. Not leaving sufficient room can overcrowd your flower bed, possibly resulting in stress and an increased risk of disease. Plants need room to breathe, good air circulation, and for light to be able to reach them. Make sure to completely cover the roots when placing your plant in the ground. Not doing so can lead to issues as it grows.
Apply a layer of mulch (2 inches is adequate) to your newly planted flowers and shrubs to help them transition to their new home. Mulch reduces water loss and heat stress, so this is a step that you won’t want to skip. Even if you are just maintaining your current garden, it’s important to make sure you have enough mulch.
Watering is key to keeping your plants healthy and vibrant (and alive). Thoroughly soak the soil around your newly planted flowers after laying down your mulch. Most need about 1-2 inches of water every week. It is better to water deeply and less frequently. Learn how much water your plants need, and be sure to not overwater them. Watering your plants at dawn or dusk is ideal, as it reduces rot and water evaporation. It’s important to note that you need to pay special attention to containers and hanging baskets, as they can dry out more quickly than plants in the ground. Consider installing an irrigation system, that will help you maintain your yard and keep your plants happy all season long, without the stress of overwatering or or drought.
READ MORE: Irrigation System Information
Are you ready to get your garden or flower bed in tip top shape? We can help you with all aspects, from creative design to creating solutions for drainage and irrigation. We will bring your vision to life! Call us today for a free consultation, and we will get started.
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