With all the extra time we spend outdoors in summer, it’s nice to brighten things up with a little color and change of scenery. However, most of us don’t really have the patience to tend to needy, temperamental plants, and much prefer the ease of low-maintenance flowers that naturally thrive in our Southern Florida weather. This summer, ditch the diva plants and opt for these low-maintenance varieties that bring such lovely summer color, yet they ask for so little in return.
This edible succulent herb is a super vigorous grower and is quite drought tolerant, so you won’t have to worry much about keeping it constantly watered. If anything, you may just need to get in there every once in a while to trim it back, so it doesn’t get in the way of your other garden plants. Luckily, since it’s edible raw or cooked, there are plenty of ways to make use of the trimmings!
Purslane has distinctive red stems and emerald green succulent leaves and develops sunny yellow flowers in summer. It does best in full sun and dry, sandy soil. Even if the soil is a bit rocky, this tough plant should keep growing without any issue. It’s an annual; however, it’s pretty good at self-seeding, so you may see some popping up the following spring after it has died back.
Also known as “summer snapdragons,” Angelonia are vigorous bloomers with tall spikes of snapdragon-like flowers that last all summer long. They’re available in colors like pink, white, blue, cool purple, and many striking bicolor combinations. Interestingly, their foliage has a pleasant apple-like scent, which stays with the plant should you choose to cut a few stalks into bouquets!
As delicate as it looks, Angelonia is remarkably tough. It thrives here in Southern Florida as a perennial and handles full sun or light shade gracefully. The plant doesn’t generally need any deadheading, and while they prefer rich, moist soil, established plants can handle a bit of drought. Angelonia does best when fed monthly with a 10-5-10 fertilizer formula.
Who doesn’t love the vibrant shades and patterns of Coleus? We love the versatility of this beautiful plant, which makes a delightful addition to containers or a handsome bedding plant. The red and bronze varieties seem to glow from within, while the green ones show off some of the most vibrant leaves in the garden. Then there are the variegated varieties in fun combinations like chartreuse and neon pink—such a delight to spot in the garden, and so easy to care for!
Coleus will last all summer in sun or shade, though some varieties are less sun-loving than others. They do prefer a moist, rich, well-draining soil, and their colours are at their most vibrant with the occasional dose of diluted liquid fertilizer. Coleus will go to flower in the summer, which tends to make their growth a little leggy. Some people like to let a few bloom, as the flowers can be quite pretty and often contrast nicely with the foliage. If you prefer the dense foliage look, pinch off the flower spikes to encourage bushiness.
The peach-to-coral tones of Crossandra are simply to die for, and you’ll love their handsome evergreen foliage, as well! These beauties tend to attract attention from butterflies and neighbors alike with their large flowerheads and eye-catching ruffled leaves.
A tropical plant through and through, Crossandra can tolerate plenty of heat but requires evenly moist soil at all times. These plants are very good candidates for a drip irrigation system, as they’re very sensitive to drought. They’re also very partial to acidity and do best in peat-rich soil. A biweekly dose of diluted fertilizer after watering should be enough to keep them looking bright all summer long.
Spanish Shawl (Dissotis plumosa)
This dense, creeping perennial groundcover is nice for filling in sparse spots in the summer garden, particularly in shade. The fine foliage is very attractive on its own, while the sweet pink flowers add a romantic quality that we love. Spanish shawl looks fantastic tumbling over retaining walls or the edges of containers.
Want to add a little more life and excitement in the yard now that your spring blossoms have faded? Visit Living Color Garden Center to see all our gorgeous summer annuals that are bursting with color. We have citywide delivery and curbside pickup options available if needed!