Flowers for the sun - East Valley Tribune: At Home

Flowers for the sun

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Posted: Saturday, April 29, 2006 7:32 am | Updated: 3:44 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Nature is about to turn the oven on to “broil” here in the Valley, but that doesn’t have to mean a patio of baked, brown plants.

Many flowers hold up to our summers, even in pots, says Julie Moody at Baker Nursery in Phoenix.

Bigger pots work best, though, she adds, with semishade aiding the cause and frequent watering (every day during the peak of summer) essential.

One popular choice, says Moody, is the vinca, whose blooms can be seen almost everywhere across the Valley in hues of pink, lavender, red and white.

Another option, the gomphrena, is really hardy, she says. Also called the “straw flower,” it has small purple or white blooms or comes in a variety called strawberry fields.

“I like the gomphrena in pots a lot just because they hold up so well and they have little ball-shaped flowers,” says Moody. “And they are just fun.”

Add to the list of hardy summer plants zinnias, blue salvias, angelonia (also called summer snapdragons) and the moss rose, or “portulaca,” which is a low-growing plant that offers a spread of vibrant colored blooms that open and close with the sun.

Moody recommends planting a mix of flowers or even sun-loving herbs such as oregano and basil.

“Basil is especially good,” she says. “It loves the pots and it’s super hardy — loves the sun.”

Things to remember: Terra cotta pots will dry out faster than their glazed ceramic, plastic or metal counterparts, she says.

One trick used by Valley horticulturists to help summer greenery survive is the use of water-absorbing crystals, also known as agricultural polymers, says Moody. The crystals retain moisture and then release it as needed by plants. Some popular brands include Hydrosource, Terra-Sorb, Water Grabber and Broadleaf P4.


Baker Nursery

3414 N. 40th St. Phoenix (602) 955-4500

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