What’s Blooming in West Georgia This Summer
The heat of a Georgia summer can wilt even the hardiest blossoms. However, many native plants, shrubs, and trees can thrive even in the hot, dry conditions we often face in July and August in West Georgia and East Alabama. We’ve compiled a list of some of the summer’s showiest blossoms. Here are a few of our favorites:
Hydrangea: Another easy-to-grow staple in the Southern yard, hydrangea offers lush greenery followed by a terrific show of blooms. Hydrangea blooms can range in size from as large as a cabbage-head to as small as a baseball depending on the variety. Colors vary from white to shades of pink and blue depending on the variety and the soil’s acidity. Bigleaf hydrangea, also known as garden hydrangea, will bloom blue or purple in acid soils with a pH of 5.5 or less. Higher pHs will produce pink or red flowers. White cultivars are unaffected by soil pH.
Daylilies: One of the South’s most prominent and prolific perennials, daylilies bring color to gardens and roadsides alike during the summer months. On most varieties, the bloom of a daylily lasts only one day. Fortunately, plants produce numerous blooms, so the brilliant color display continues for several weeks. Daylily colors vary from cream to bright yellow and pale pink to dark red. One of the most common is the Tiger Lily, which bears large, fiery orange flowers. The name probably refers to the spots on the petals. Sometimes the Tiger Lily is called the Ditch Lily, since it is often seen blooming along roadsides and in ditches throughout America.
Butterfly Bush: The name says it all for most gardeners. The blooms of the Butterfly Bush, which can be all shades of white, pink, red, purple, and yellow, attract the attention of numerous species of butterflies. The gracefully arching branches highlight the blooms, and the manageable size of the shrub makes it a great plant for most landscapes.
Honeysuckle: Most gardeners have a love-hate relationship with honeysuckle, which blooms prolifically all summer. The perfumed flowers can bloom in a variety of shades from white to yellow to orange to red. They are a favorite of birds, bees, and humans alike, and honeysuckle vines are perfect for covering arches, arbors, and bowers. Unfortunately, honeysuckle vines also will cover other landscape trees and bushes, vegetable plants, and anything else that is nearby. Enjoy, but take care to manage the plant carefully when it appears in your lawn and garden.
Sourwood: Gardening experts love sourwood because it is easy to care for and nicely sized for many lawns. Bees love the tree, too. For ornamental tree lovers, the small, white bell-shaped flowers produced in summer are reminiscent of lily of the valley in both appearance and fragrance. Sourwood is also a pleaser in the fall, when its leaves turn to a brilliant shade of crimson.
Goldenrod: Most people believe that goldenrod is a primary cause of hay fever and allergies. Actually, these prolific yellow bloomers do not contribute to allergies at all, since its pollen is too heavy to float in the air. Bright yellow is the most common color of Goldenrod blooms, but the blooms can be lighter. Less common in gardens, goldenrod is common alongside roads throughout our area all summer long.
Southern Magnolia: One of the trees most associated with the South, the Southern Magnolia produces large, cup-shaped blossoms in the summer. The creamy-white blooms are famous for their strong citrus scent. Equally famous are the thick, leathery leaves of this evergreen. Often used in decorating, especially at Christmas, the dark green tops and fuzzy brown underside deliver a delightful contrast. The cones and leaves of the tree can be a pain to homeowners, but the beauty of the tree and the scent of its blooms makes the Southern Magnolia worth the extra trouble.
Bottlebrush Buckeye: A native shrub in woodland areas in Alabama, Georgia, and northern Florida, the Bottlebrush Buckeye grows 8-12 feet in height and spread, making it a manageable plant for many landscapes. Large, bristled, white flower clusters remain for several weeks in the summer, making for a lasting and showy display.
Plumleaf Azalea: Though azalea cultivars are available that bloom throughout the year, few match the brilliant orange-red display of flowers put on by the Plumleaf Azalea in July and August. This is a rare shrub native to the southeastern corner of North America. The shrub grows naturally in only a few areas of Georgia and Alabama, and one of the best places to see it is Callaway Gardens, located in Pine Mountain, just an hour south of Carrollton.
Crape Myrtle: A popular tree that requires little care except for pruning, the Crape Myrtle blooms in mid-summer in shades of pink, purple, white, and red. The branches of a Crape Myrtle drape gracefully, and the small leaves that provide a neutral backdrop for the blooms of summer. The show is not over when the blooms fade. The leaves of the Crape Myrtle changes from green to blazes of color in the fall, so this is a plant you can enjoy for months to come.
We would love to see what is blooming in your yard this summer. Share your photos on the Duffey Realty Facebook page. And to help your blooms stay beautiful for as long as possible, keep these tips in mind as you maintain your beds and containers:
• Mulch annuals and low-growing summer flowering plants to conserve water during hot, dry periods.
• Remove spent blooms (called “deadheading”) to discourage seed production.
• Continue to weed beds around flowering annuals and perennials to showcase blossoms and eliminate competition for resources like water and minerals.
• Use liquid fertilizer on plants as needed and recommended for specific plant species.
• Provide adequate water for pots and beds.