Brighten up your summer garden: 16 flowers to plant

There’s still time to perk up your patio and borders with some glorious summer flowers.

If you haven’t had time to sow seeds, you can still give your garden instant pizzazz with the wide range of annuals on sale, from fuchsias and geraniums to nemesia, petunias, lobelia and bacopa.


Roses can be planted now to bloom this month and in years to come, but remember that whatever you plant, you’ll have to water it well and regularly until it has become established. If you’re planting now, choose modern rose varieties which will continue blooming all summer.

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The comeback kids

Climbers such as summer-flowering clematis can be planted now for stunning blooms, but may take a year or two to reach their full potential, giving you masses of giant flowers in years to come.

Other summer perennials, which come back year after year in the border include beautiful purple salvia, Verbena bonariensis, phlox and penstemon.

Late summer colour

For a riot of colour from August through to the first frosts of October, plant zingy yellow rudbeckias, burnt orange helenium, and red, yellow and orange crocosmia.

If pink is your theme, place ice plants (Sedum spectabile) at the front of sunny, dry borders where their deep pink heads look their best. Low-maintenance Japanese anemones are ideal for the no-fuss gardener as their pink, mauve or white flowers, last for ages and the medium-sized plants don’t need supporting.


Create scented corners in seating areas - pots of stocks, nicotiana and lavender will provide delicious scents in the evening.

Flower fragrances tend to be stronger in the evening, when the air is warm and humid and there isn't any breeze to waft it away. Some plants increase their perfume production at night to attract moths to pollinate them. The tobacco plant Nicotiana alata actually folds up its petals during the day and comes to life at night.

If you have a low wall where people can sit, plant some species with scented leaves which they may well brush against or run their hand through to release their fragrant oils. Good choices include scented-leaved pelargoniums, lemon-scented verbena, thyme, pineapple sage and eau de Cologne mint. All should still be available in garden centres.

Edible feasts

You can sow fast-maturing salad crops including lettuce and radish at two-week intervals throughout the summer, to give you tasty leaves throughout the holiday period and beyond.

Sow runner beans or dwarf French beans directly into the ground now for a late summer crop. Planted in a sunny spot, runner beans will happily climb up bamboo wigwams or frames with bean netting attached to provide the necessary support.

Buy courgette plants and give them plenty of space – at least one metre in diameter - as these fast-growing veggies appreciate a lot of room. Add plenty of well-rotted manure or compost when you put them in the ground and water them in. If you’re growing them in a container, you’ll need one that holds at least 30 litres of compost, or the contents of a standard growing bag.

If you want tomatoes this year, buy plants from your garden centre now if you didn’t sow seed indoors earlier on. You can plant them directly into the ground or in growing bags, keeping them well watered, staked, and feed them with a liquid tomato food. By September you should have some fruits.

Remember when choosing

Many plants will already be in flower – select varieties with plenty of buds on them and, once planted, deadhead regularly to encourage more blooms.

If you’re planting summer colour in pots, use compost which already incorporates enough added feed for the summer.

You can still make up hanging baskets, but plant trailers around the top of the basket, as trying to squeeze rapidly maturing plants into the side slits of liners at this late stage may be tricky and the plants may not mature in time to give you a good show.

Add water-retaining granules to pots and baskets, which swell on watering and will add moisture as the plants need it. These are really useful if you plan to go on holiday and don’t have anyone to water your garden while you’re away.

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