Thanks to our triple-digit temps in June, July, and August, plants have to really love heat to do well here over the summer months. Read on to discover three easy-growing plants that will thrive even when it's so hot your black steering wheel has become an instrument of torture.
Grow the Right Plants Over the Texas Summer
Some plants just aren't adapted to survive once the temperature rises above 85 degrees, and we've already seen heat waves with temps almost 20 degrees hotter than that.
By growing plants that are more tolerant of our Austin climate, you can spare yourself months of frustration wondering why your leaves keep wilting and your fruiting plants stop producing.
Plants like tomatoes, squash, and beans actually grow best here in Central Texas during our spring and fall seasons. They'll slow their production and become stressed when temperatures spike over 90 degrees (and stressed plants invite pests to your garden).
You don't have to give up growing plants entirely in your kitchen garden this summer. We've got a flower, an herb, and a fruiting plant that can take the heat and will boost your chances of gardening success. For more on what to plant each month this summer, check out our Central Texas Monthly Planting Guide.
Zinnias Are Low-Maintenance Flowers, Even in the Heat
Native to southwestern grasslands, zinnias are quite possibly one of the easiest plants to grow. They have a high germination rate when you start them from seed, they transition from seed to flower in a matter of weeks, and they're drought-tolerant.
You might think you couldn't ask for more, but just wait: these low-maintenance plants attract pollinators, look beautiful as cut flowers, and come in fun varieties to add pops of color to your garden. It's even easy to save the seeds from dried flowers for next year's crop.
Basil Can Handle Hot Weather and Lots of Sun
When you think of how well basil does in Italy and other dry Mediterranean climates, it seems obvious that basil would soak up our hot Texas summers. Just when we have to say bye to other leafy greens that bolt at the first sign of 90 degrees, this hot-weather hero comes to the rescue.
Basil loves a nice, hot day, the sunnier the better. While basil is considered an annual in other places, those of us in Austin can enjoy this herb's fragrant scent year round with some proper frost protection during the winter.
Okra Is a Must for Summer Gardening in Central Texas
Okra is a nutrient-dense addition to any kitchen garden. This tall-growing plant from Ethiopia loves bright sun and produces beautiful flowers. The edible seed pods have a mild flavor that can be used in many different dishes, not just gumbo. Mucilage, the sticky substance inside, acts as a natural thickener when heated.
Even if the texture of okra is not your thing, this is still a really fun heat-loving vegetable to try out in your garden this summer.
Grow These 3 Heat-Tolerant Staples to Find Summer Gardening Success
Zinnias with their beautiful blooms, basil with its delicious smell, and okra with its unique shape and texture will carry you through to the fall, when you'll be able to take another stab at growing the kale and lettuce of your dreams.
Read our seven tips for summer gardening in Central Texas to learn more ways you can keep your garden healthy and thriving throughout the hottest months.
No matter what growing season it is, Lettuce Grow Something can help you fill your garden with color, beauty, and nutritious things to eat. Our garden consultants are ready to help you build the garden you've always wanted.