By Julie A. Martens
Keep your summer garden in the pink by planting heat-tolerant annuals that unfurl petals in pink shades, like this Wave petunia (above). Wave petunias come in a rainbow of hues and are wired to grow. With adequate water and fertilizer, stems can grow up to 2 inches per day. Blooms are magnets for butterflies and hummingbirds.
The secret to a stunning hanging basket of Wave petunias is a midsummer trim. Prune stems to just below the basket after July 4, spread slow-release fertilizer over soil, and water. In two weeks flower power returns.
Discover a collection of annuals that pour on the pink when summer temperatures soar. I rely on these flowers in my own Mid-Atlantic garden for high summer color:
Pentas (Pentas lanceolata)
Butterflies can’t resist the starry blooms of pentas. I always tuck a few pink pentas into several container gardens. As temperatures and humidity climb, heat-tolerant pentas thrives. Fertilize pentas in container gardens bimonthly.
Zinnia (Zinnia elegans, Zinnia hybrida)
I plant several clumps of zinnias throughout my yard. My favorite color pairing is pink with orange or yellow. ‘State Fair’ zinnia is an heirloom variety, with extra-large 5-in flowers on 30-in stems. It makes a lovely addition to garden bouquets.
Shorter (12–15-in) ‘Profusion Cherry’ zinnia flowers steadily through summer heat and humidity and makes a great edging plant. Nectar-laden zinnias are ideal for butterfly gardens and cutting gardens.
Cleome (Cleome hassleriana)
Also known as spider flower, this heat-tolerant annual adds height and texture. Old-fashioned cleome types grow to 4 ft. Look for shorter ones, such as ‘Senorita Rosalita’ or ‘Spirit’, for container gardens.
Cleome blossoms fade to form whiskery seedpods, and stems typically have both blooms and pods at the same time. (See above.) This bloomer is a must for butterfly gardens. Plants also are deer resistant and drought tolerant. What’s not to love?
Grow Your Own Rainbow
In case you’re not a pink fan, like me, these heat-tolerant annuals come in many other colors too. Find your favorite and make your summer garden sizzle.
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