Questions from a 2nd Year Southern Gardener (NW Arkansas)

Laura GrossmannJanuary 24, 2013

Sorry this got so long...

Last year was my first year gardening in the south. I didn't have a lot of space, but I made room for quite a bit of space and my landlord was happy to give me free reign for modification. Which I have zealously embraced.

I moved from Oregon, so that's where I learned what I know. Some of what I knew does not work here. Even though temps are about what they were in southern Oregon, the sun - even taking humidity into consideration - seems much more intense here. What I planted in the hot western afternoon Oregon sun did not work in the hot western afternoon Arkansas sun. Dahlias fried. Sweet potato vine withered. Celosia or Gerbera daisy didn't even really get western sun or the petunia's either and they couldn't take the heat one bit.

I did find a few things took the intense sun beautifully. Vinca, salvia, angolina and verbena, zinnas (WOW) moss roses, cardinal climber - although the moonflowers wouldn't bloom when it was 95+ degrees.

I am composting a little garden for flowers in a corner of the fence that gets intense and all afternoon western sun. The grass was always fried there. I like to try new plants from seed every year and I'm wondering how the following would perform in that sort of constant intense afternoon heat:

Delphinum
Larkspur
Love Lies Bleeding
Irish Eyes

More to add to the list...still going through the seeds.

Also - someone told me zinnias will reseed themselves here! And cardinal climbers and pretty much all vines. I wanted to do Spanish Flag and Canary Climbers and Black-Eyed Susan Vine this spring, but I've heard they come back as well...and there are already morning glories everywhere from previous residents! I don't want to have 10 different kinds of vines to try to control!

Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks.

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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Larkspur does fantastic in the cracks between the street and the curb around here, so I'd say that would do well there. Do you like Sedums? Are you stuck on smaller plants? What about a rambling rose on the fence? A Lantana covered with visiting butterflies? Evergreen Rosemary?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 3:18PM
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louisianagal(z7bMS)

Delphinium - no, I think of that as more of a cool season plant in the south.
General info: in the south and southeast plants that are for "sun" will generally need afternoon shade, at least some shade. The afternoon sun is the harshest. You will need to mulch with some organic matter (shredded bark, shredded leaves, compost, here around Tupelo MS I use pine straw mostly). Your plants may do better if you irrigate more often. If you are like me, I cannot and will not water all the time, so I have to eliminate plants/flowers that need alot of water. But if you have the money and time and inclination, you will probably see your plants doing much better if you water deeply and often in the very hot days w/o rain. I am not familiar with the other flowers you asked about. Zinnias love heat, also black eyed susan, lantana, sedum, coneflower, and herbs like rosemary, thyme, sages. Laurie

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 9:24AM
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TroubleDog

I've had good luck in my sunniest areas with the smaller marigold varieties (like Queen Sophia or Dwarf Bolero), Centratherum, the Cosmic series of Cosmos, hollyhock, rattlesnake master, and herbs (in addition to Zinnias, annual and perennial Salvias, coneflowers, and black-eyed susans. The most successful in this area is Ageretum (floss-flower), but I've found it wildly invasive, and spend hours pulling seedings each year.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 12:42PM
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ala8south

Lo and Behold butterfly bush did well and needed no deadheading. Salvia Greggii, Lady in Red Salvia, and Blanket Flower are in my dry bed and love the heat.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 7:39PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Hi ala8, are you saying you have a BB called "Lo and Behold" or was that just the intro to your sentence, like you were surprised? Sorry, I'm confused...

Is this a first-year shrub in your yard?

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 12:54PM
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Laura Grossmann

Thanks everyone. Sorry for the late reply. I would love to do a climbing rose or something bigger, but I'm trying to stay away from anything that might be neglected by future tenants and cause a nuisance for neighbors. There is a wisteria here that is out of control and the neighbors hate it. The yard was a little neglected when I moved in. I have seeds for marigold Jaguar and several different Cosmos, coneflowers and black eyed Susan. Save BES, I've started all of those indoors. I have Irish eyes coming up. Do they like heat? The package says full-part sun, but I often have different results then the seed company =) I would kind of like to do a love-lies-bleeding with Irish eyes in that corner, I think that or some marigolds would look striking together. Anyone had a love-lies-bleeding? I had never heard of them until someone posted a photo of hers on here a couple years ago. I saw it and knew I had to try it! Wondering what conditions they do best in?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 8:15AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Not really into yellow, but wish I had some of that Amaranthus to talk about. Very pretty! My Mom is always messing with BES's and it seems that if they have enough sun they get dry, so then you water, which they resent more... less sandy soil and thicker mulch would probably help, IDK.

IME, when a label says something other than full sun, it's the hot part of the afternoon that can be too much. Morning and/or afternoon sun is usually great for those plants. As one goes farther south, the less sun would be tolerated/needed.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 11:05AM
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