The Best Plants to Grow in August in Texas

As the scorching summer continues in Houston, Texas, many gardeners wonder what they can plant in the blistering heat of August. While the high temperatures may seem daunting, there are still options for those eager to cultivate a vibrant garden. Additionally, August is an ideal time to start seedlings indoors for a bountiful fall garden. So, let’s explore the possibilities and discover the best plants to grow in August in Texas Zone 9a.

Vegetables

Even with the intense heat, there are a few vegetable varieties that can withstand the Texas summer. Eggplants, peppers (such as scotch bonnet, jalapeños, chiles, bell peppers, habanero, cayenne, and banana peppers), and tomatoes can thrive with a little bit of shade during the hottest parts of the day. It’s essential to provide these plants with protection from the scorching sun, either through a tree, fence, or shade cloth. Adequate watering is also crucial, especially if there is no rain.

For those looking to start sowing seeds indoors, August is the perfect time to prepare for the late summer and fall seasons. Consider planting amaranth, black-eyed peas, cabbage, Chinese broccoli, corn, cucumbers, kale, lettuces, malabar spinach, New Zealand spinach, spinach, okra, potatoes, pumpkin, summer squash, sweet potato, Swiss chard, and winter squash. These seeds will grow into strong seedlings ready for transplantation when the weather becomes more favorable.

Fruit

While it may not be recommended to plant new fruit plants or trees in August due to the heat, there are a couple of options for sowing seeds indoors. Cantaloupes and watermelons can be started indoors to ensure a successful transition from pot to ground. It’s important to note that most fruit trees fare better when planted in late winter or early spring, as they have a higher chance of survival and establishment.

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Flowers

August is an ideal time to enjoy the beauty of flowers that were planted earlier in the year. Heat-tolerant varieties that have been sufficiently watered will be in full bloom during this month. Some examples of flowers that thrive in the Texas heat include bougainvillea, Texas rock rose, purslane, Texas Lilac (also known as chaste tree or vitex), hibiscus, and butterfly weed. These vibrant blooms will add a splash of color to your garden landscape.

Trees

August is not the optimal time to plant trees in Texas. Although established trees can tolerate the intense heat, new trees require extra care and constant watering to survive the summer. It’s advisable to plant trees in the fall or spring for a better chance of success. However, if you must plant a tree in August, do it during the cooler parts of the day and ensure it receives ample water for the first few weeks of establishment.

Herbs

Warm-weather herbs thrive in the summer heat and can be planted in August with proper care. Some herbs that are well-suited for the Texas climate include basil, rosemary, thyme, savory, mint, lemon balm, oregano, Mexican oregano, Cuban oregano, tarragon, and lemongrass. These aromatic herbs will not only enhance your culinary creations but also add beauty and fragrance to your garden.

Lazy Gardener Tips

In August, it’s essential to water your garden during the cooler hours of the day, either in the early morning or late evening. Avoid taking on significant garden projects during the summer, as the heat can make them challenging and not worth the effort. Instead, embrace the flavors of summer by using fresh herbs like basil to make delicious dishes like bruschetta.

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Equipment

The most crucial garden equipment in August is your garden hose and nozzle. Regular watering is vital, so water your plants deeply and avoid watering the leaves. If you have a soaker hose or a sprinkler system, they can be helpful tools for effective irrigation. Additionally, for those starting seedlings indoors, you’ll need seeds and a plastic tray for germination.

Conclusion

Even in the midst of a sweltering August in Texas, there are still opportunities to grow a remarkable garden. By choosing the right plants, providing necessary shade and water, and implementing a few lazy gardener tips, you can enjoy a flourishing garden that withstands the heat. Remember, the fall season will arrive soon, and your efforts will be rewarded with an abundant and beautiful harvest.

For more information on gardening in Texas, visit the Ames Farm Center website. Happy gardening!