By Darrin Finch, US Lawns of Columbus
Some consider daylilies to be the “perfect perennial”. While most of us think of daylilies with a bright yellow flower, they are available in a rainbow of colors. They can survive in many climates and conditions, including droughts (that doesn’t mean you don’t have to water them!), and adapt to different kinds of soils. If you really want to throw your favorite nursery for a loop, ask for tetraploid lilies. They have larger flowers and brighter colors than their diploid relatives. The best thing about daylilies is that they are relatively low-maintenance. When you are caring for a commercial property, that should be your #1 criteria!
How about some English Lavender (often misspelled as “lavendar”)? They are technically an evergreen plant that grows 2’ – 3’ high and wide, but most people think of them as an aromatic herb. During the summer months, they have great purple/blue shoots and have a wonderful smell. That aroma will attract butterflies and deter ants. Usually, that’s a win/win for most properties. Like lilies, lavender does great in full sun and well-drained soil.
If you are looking for a couple of good annual suggestions, try marigolds and zinnias. Both have great color and are good complements to the hot summer.
Everybody and their brother planted red begonias this year and there is nothing wrong with that at all. However, my favorite sun-tolerant flower is still the wave petunia. They’re classic, bright and easy to take care of. You can get them in a dozen different colors, too, so you can accomplish a lot of different “looks” with them. I just did a landscape of alternating red and white wave petunias with blue salvia highlights. It’s the perfect patriotic accent for the property owner’s big 4th of July celebration every year.
Every plant I’ve mentioned is tough and should be able to make it through a hot summer, but don’t forget to inspect your irrigation system. No flowering plant in our climate zone is impervious to drought. More than half of the properties I’ve visited this year have irrigation problems that are wreaking havoc on their landscape. A leaking drip line means that one bed will be flooded and the next bed will be bone dry. Poorly adjusted or broken sprinkler heads will make your seasonal color strategy irrelevant. Have your irrigation lines and heads inspected by a qualified professional at start-up, and then again on a monthly basis. In the long run, you will save money and plants will give you that “pop” you are looking for.
What tips can you give fellow members who need a little help with their landscaping? Log in to comment below.