Gardening: Keeping Blooms Fresh, Deadheads are more than music fans

Vinca plant. (Stock image)

By Natalie Gilliland
Poppies Flower Shop

If you are anything like me, once the temperatures start to make that steady climb up, I immediately dread the hot summer days ahead!

However, we can still do some minimal gardening to keep our landscaping looking nice and to keep our homes looking fresh with fresh blooms. This month, we will talk about some of my favorite annual flowers to plan in the garden during the hot summer months. These flowers love the heat and often, the direct sunlight, which makes them perfect for our desert days.

My first favorite flower is the vinca. These sweet, small blooms remind me of my grandma.

She had them in the pots on her front porch, and she would let me pick them and put them in a juice glass for her on her kitchen table. They are hearty and will last during the entire summer. They do need a lot of water, so it’s helpful if you have an irrigation line going directly to them. You can cut the blooms when they are ready and even put them in your house to enjoy for a few days. They also come in a variety of colors.

Another great recommendation for a summer annual for your garden is a zinnia. They are easy to grow, easy to care for, and enjoy the heat. They also come in a variety of bright and bold colors. They require a lot of water, but not as much as the vincas. If you are going to have to hand-water, zinnias would be a good selection for you. Zinnias bloom much better when they are deadheaded. Deadheading is the process of removing the bloom once it starts to turn brown or wilt. This encourages the flower to grow another bloom in its place. When cutting off the old bloom, you want to cut it right below the petals and right above the first full set of healthy leaves.

Celosia is so much fun to grow in your summer gardens. My husband would disagree with me because when I plant it, it spreads like wildfire! It comes in vibrant colors, and the “flowers” on them are in an amazing shape, like an upright feather duster. When you mix the different colors, it reminds me of our beautiful Arizona sunsets. These are easy to care for, love soil that has a lot of drainage, and do require a moderate amount of water.

One annual on my list for this summer is the gomphrena. If you have not seen these adorable little blooms, they look like something out of a Dr. Seuss book. They have tiny little blossoms in the brightest of colors. They look great mixed in with other flowers as a different texture and color. They are also great for the desert. They do not require much water and do not mind if they are not in the best soil. Be sure to check out these great little blooms.

Just because it is hot out and we can potentially fry an egg on the sidewalk does not mean that we cannot still have some beautiful gardens. Be sure to check each of the tags when you do your plant shopping to ensure that the conditions in your garden match what will make the plant the happiest.

Poppies is located at 2450 W. Happy Valley Road, Suite 1147, Phoenix, in the Shops at Norterra. For more information, call 480-649-7100 or visit