Hot, Dry, and Blooming

White spider lily cluster about 5 years old

Late blooming red spider lily types

Mexican sage in full bloom

Every night the weather report is temperatures above 90 degrees and no rain in the forecast. And the long term report says at least another week of this type of weather. Even some of my best early fall bloomers are not doing well even though I have a sprinkler system. In fact, this past weekend I cut back almost the whole border because it was so dead looking except my Mexican sage which is in full bloom and the late blooming spider lilies. They are both the stars of what’s left of my fall blooming plants. My in-ground garden mums are suffering, and they may bloom very late if they bloom at all. Several days ago, under a church sign, there was one of the best full clusters of Mexican sage I have seen this season. And take it from me, it was not under irrigation because all of the turf was about dead. This is a great fall bloomer that doesn’t mind hot dry conditions. To get them full like the ones in the image above they need to be cut back in July, and they will become bushy and not leggy. Some folks let theirs be leggy, so they can cut them for flower arrangements.
I have never officially read in the literature that there are early and late blooming spider lilies, but the ones I have certainly are every year. The late flowering ones are coming in bloom now, and this is a great year for them. For your information, all of mine have been collected from old home sites in the Blackbelt where they thrive. The white clump of spider lilies that is shown is from my friend, Mike’s garden, and while I have grown them this is the best cluster I have ever seen. So here is my advice, enjoy the few delights of the dry hot weather flowers and water your garden as much as you can. In this heat, deep watering is best, but it only lasting a day or so.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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