The warm days of August make it prime season for many flowering plants. While early spring bloomers fade away, many annuals and perennials bloom from midsummer to late fall. Gardeners looking for color in an August garden have a wide range of choices.
Hemerocallis, or daylily, is an easy-to-grow perennial with single or double flowers. Its individual flowers last only a day, but blooms will appear one after the other for many weeks. Daylilies grow best in full sun--in any type of soil, wet or dry. The plant blooms from spring to early fall. Some varieties are herbaceous and die down in the fall, while others are evergreen. There are hundreds of daylily varieties including: burning daylight, with yellow blooms; penny's worth, a dwarf variety; and mahogany red, with brilliant red blooms.
Rose varieties such as the large-flowered hybrid tea and the cluster-flowered, floribunda, produce successive flushes of bloom from late spring to early fall. Varieties also include climbers, ground cover, bushes and shrubs. The aromatic flowers come in a wide variety of colors: white, cream, yellow, apricot, orange and multiple shades of pink and red. The rose grows well in full sun and well-drained, fertile soil. Plant in early spring.
Clematis are available in more than 200 varieties of hybrids and cultivars. Summer and fall bloomers are ideal for an August garden. August bloomers include: clematis orientalis (yellow blooms); c. tangutica (yellow blooms); and c. jackmanii (blue blooms). Plant this climbing perennial so the top growth is in full sun, and the roots are in shade. Plant groundcover at the base of clematis to shade the roots. The flowers thrive in well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. Sow seeds in fall.
Petunia is a perennial that is grown as a half-hardy annual for use in summer flower beds, hanging baskets and containers. Multifloras produce 2-inch flowers on bushy plants, floribundas produce 3-inch flowers and grandifloras produce 5-inch trumpet-like flowers. The flowers bloom in brilliant red, purple, white, pink or striped. Some varieties, such as the summer morn mix, produce 2-inch flowers in multiple colors. Plant petunia in a sunny bed and avoid locations that are exposed to wind. Sow seeds indoors from January through March, then transplant when temperatures are 70 degrees F outdoors. Fertilize petunia plants weekly. Flowers will appear from June through September, but you must pick off dead flowers to keep plants blooming.
Lobelia varieties such as the Cambridge blue, crystal palace and Riviera lilac provide a burst of scent and color from June through September. Bushier varieties of Lobelia are ideal for edging flower beds, while trailing varieties work well in hanging baskets and containers. Sow indoors from January through March. Lobelia grows in full sun and needs well-draining, enriched soil. Fertilize Lobelia regularly (every two weeks) through the growing season and keep the soil moist. For baskets and containers, use multipurpose compost and add slow-release fertilizer before planting.