What to Plant in Summer
After all the action of the spring planting season, it’s easy to feel stumped as to what to plant in summer. Australia has a hot, dry climate at this time of year, and many plants don’t take kindly to these conditions. Other plants, however, absolutely thrive in summer.
Read on for summer-loving veggies, fruit and flowers that you can plant now.
Knowing your local climate is essential in determining what to plant in summer. In Melbourne, for example, the possibilities on offer will be very different to in the tropics.
If you’re not sure if something will grow where you live, be sure to consult a planting calendar or guide specific to your location.
Wondering what to plant in early summer in the veggie patch? Look no further than eggplants, chillies and capsicums, which all thrive in the heat and love full sun.
Beans are another crop of choice for the summer veggie patch. They should be direct sown where you want them to grow, next to a trellis or sunny fence.
Got a sweet tooth? There are a number of fruit crops that can be planted in summer. Keep in mind that fruiting perennials take time to reach fruit-bearing age, while annuals can be treated as part of your higher-turnover veggie patch.
This summer favourite is the same family (cucurbits) as other fruiting annuals like squash, pumpkin and cucumbers (cucurbits), and grows on a similarly scrambling, twining vine. Direct sow in the veggie patch, ensuring plenty of space, and keep well watered during the growing period.
A passionfruit vine is a true summer sensation. A variety such as non-grafted Panama Red is suited to warmer Australian climates (temperate through to tropical), as they are not frost hardy and will not survive winter in cooler zones. Plant through to mid-summer, keeping in mind that it may take a year or two to produce flowers and fruit.
Blueberry Sunshine Blue
Blueberry Sunshine Blue is a compact blueberry cultivar that will grow in most parts of Australian and is less fussy about soil pH than other varieties. It’s also self-fertile and frost tolerant. The shrub takes a couple of years to start fruiting, but makes for an attractive ornamental in the meantime. Plant on a day that’s not too hot.
Lots of flowering plants love the summer sun, but not all of them can be planted during summer. Be sure to choose varieties that are happy to go in the ground at this time, either as seeds or from potted young plants.
Long flowering, visually striking and highly adaptable, aloe hybrids such as winter-flowering Big Red and Moonglow are an increasingly popular choice for gardeners seeking tough, low maintenance perennials. They are able to tolerate a range of climatic extremes including heat, cold, rain and drought.
Also known as Million Bells, Calibrachoas have small, petunia-like flowers for much of the year in a wide range of vibrant colours. These summer favourites are easy to maintain and love full sun, blooming best with at least 6 hours daily. They look great planted as trailing ground-cover or in a hanging basket.
Zinnia’s have big, bright, showy blooms that deliver a long lived, splash of colour in the summer border. These sun-loving annuals can be planted from spring through summer, with later plantings flowering in autumn. They are very easy to grow, great for picking as cut flowers. Try Zinnia ‘Early Wonder’ mixed seeds in a sunny position with well-drained soil.
Caring for plants in summer
High heat and an excess of UV rays mean a bit of extra care is needed in the garden. This is particularly true when planting during summer, as even very hardy plants need some time to establish. Staying on top of your plants’ individual needs for water and shelter from the sun will help your summer-loving garden come alive. Check out our post on How to Take Care of Plants in Summer for a few of our top tips.