Skip to content

August Gardening Checklist

QUICK LINKS:
Buy PerennialsBuy RosesBuy Edible PlantsBuy Soils + FertilizersBuy Tools + Accessories
Buy Garden Accents

Fellow Gardeners,

The information, dates, and techniques in this are as accurate as I can currently offer. During the past three decades, I have cared for, nurtured, and observed tens of thousands of plants. With the help of many gardening friends, I have attempted to offer some useful August garden tips and information to help you with your own garden. Gardening is sharing your tips, tricks, and knowledge with your community. Any corrections, comments, or suggestions are appreciated and will improve future information.

Table of Contents:




Annuals:

The heat of summer is here for the August garden! You can still plant warm-season annual flowers in your garden now; just make sure they’re well-watered to survive the August heat.

● This is definitely a month for warm-season annuals, especially those that really love hot, hot, hot weather. The nights are warm, the days are long and sunny, and the temperatures are high.

● Keep newly planted annuals well-watered until they are thoroughly rooted. Choices include dahlias, zinnias, lisianthus, petunias, lobelia, verbena, marigold, ageratum, cosmos, gomphrena, salvia, impatiens, coleus, torenia, portulaca, and begonias.

● Many of these warm-season annual plants, like dahlias, zinnias, and cosmos, are excellent annual cut flowers that you can plant in August.

● Because of their quick growth and heavy flowering potential, annuals need more fertilizing than most other plants in the garden.

● Keep deadheading (removing spent flowers) from annuals to help them continue blooming abundantly.



Geraniums:

This group includes ivy geraniums, zonal geraniums (also called “common” geraniums), Martha geraniums, and the various scented geraniums, but does not include true geraniums (sometimes called “hardy” geraniums), which are discussed under perennials.

● Ivy and zonal types are still blooming but may look a bit heat-stressed in the August garden. Keep up with removing spent flowers regularly to encourage more bloom.

● For the most part, Martha types have finished blooming for this year.

● Continue fertilizing all geraniums regularly, except most scented types, with a balanced fertilizer. Geraniums prefer slightly acidic soil, so periodically alternate feedings with an acid formula, such as cottonseed meal.

● Ivy and zonal geraniums do not like heavy pruning. To keep the plants shapely and vigorous for a longer period of time, prune back a few long stems every month or so through fall, but never very many at once.

● Budworms may still be attacking the developing buds and new leaves. If necessary, spray with BT on a regular basis.



Sweet Peas:

Seeds for sweet peas will be in good supply at garden centers by the end of August. This is an especially good time to plant annual seeds for beautiful early-blooming (also called “short-day”) varieties that may bloom by Christmas. These varieties include ‘Winter Elegance’ (our favorite!) and ‘Early Multiflora.’

For more information, watch & learn: World-Class Sweet Peas with Steve Hampson



Wildflowers:

● It is the wrong time to be thinking about wildflowers now. However, here’s one August gardening tip that will really help you out later: if you will be planting again this winter, keep the area free of weeds between now and then. If the area has no other plants in it, do not water. Irrigations will only encourage weed growth.

● However, if you want to get a head start on weed control in the wildflower area, try this: irrigate the area lightly, but several times a day, for about 10 to 14 days. This will germinate many of the weed seeds. Once they germinate, control them with a very shallow Hula-Hoe (also called a “Wiggle Hoe”). Repeat the process a couple of times more before scattering the wildflowers in November. You will then have far less weed seed germination.



Fruiting Plants

Grapes and strawberries are working hard at producing and ripening fruit in your garden in August. The main tip for August fruit gardening is to keep up with regular watering to keep plants producing.



Grapes:

● Plants are directing much of their energy now toward fruit production.

● Assuming the use of a granular organic product, the feeding of grapes is in six-to-eight week intervals following the first application, which should have been applied when the new growth was just emerging. Following this schedule, four applications are usually sufficient. Grapes need a well-balanced fertilizer that contains trace minerals. Organic products are generally a good choice.

● Depending upon the variety, continue harvesting fruit when it is fully formed and well-colored.

● If birds or wildlife are a problem, protect the plants with nearly invisible black nylon netting.

● Continue irrigating regularly and deeply in the warm summer temperatures.

● Watch for signs of powdery mildew on the foliage. Usually, this is due to poor air circulation around the plant, too much shading, or the lack of a winter dormant spray. If treatment now is necessary, use an organic neem oil product.



Strawberries:

● If strawberries attempt to grow runners, pinch them off. Keep feeding them, and they will continue to bear fruit.

● Keep watching for signs of spider mites, which love the hot, dry summertime. Occasionally rinsing the leaves with overhead watering will reduce this pest problem considerably.


For more information, watch & learn: How to Grow the Best Strawberries with Sarah Smith



Shrubs & Vines

● In garden areas adjacent to brushland and wild spaces, August is a good time to reduce your fuel to help prevent and suppress brush fires. Remove shrubbery and weeds that have grown too near the house. This fall, consider planting fire-resistant groundcover and other plants as a buffer against fires.

● Avoid pruning most of your shrubs in August; it’s unnecessary extra stress when they’re facing the hottest days of the year. Wisteria and roses are the exceptions; these are flowering plants that should be pruned in August. August is not a great month for planting either, as shrubs will require much more frequent watering to help them establish.

For more information, watch & learn:Hardy Flowering Shrubs with Dalia Brunner



Azaleas:

● Continue to keep azaleas well-irrigated now that the weather is warm.

● Azaleas are shallow-rooted and dry out quickly. Avoid cultivating or allowing other plants to grow under or in competition with the roots of your azalea.



Camellias:

● Except for a few late-blooming varieties, you will probably be finished with your camellia fertilizing for the year. The first of three feedings to your camellia should have been applied about 4-6 weeks after it finished blooming. The second feeding is 4-6 weeks after the first, and the final feeding is 4-6 weeks after that.

● Japanese camellias are about done with their “growth” cycle for the year and are now entering the period in which they set buds for next spring.

● Sasanqua camellias have also finished their “growth” cycle for the year and are also setting buds for next spring.

● Do not prune camellias in August.

● Continue to keep camellias well-irrigated now that the weather is warm.

● Camellias are shallow-rooted and dry out quickly. Avoid cultivating or allowing other plants to grow under or in competition with the roots of your camellia.

For more information, watch & learn: Gardening 101 Series | How to Plant & Maintain a Camellia



Gardenias:

● Keep gardenia shrubs well-fed through the summer months. Use a fertilizer with trace minerals, such as most organic types, and alternate this with an acidic formula to keep the pH down.

● If the leaves of your gardenia shrub are showing signs of green veins with yellow areas between the veins in August, especially on the new growth, they need additional iron. Iron is a supplement to the regular fertilizing program of your gardenia.

● Gardenias are shallow-rooted and will dry out quickly. A thick layer of organic mulch over the roots helps moderate the soil temperatures and retain moisture. If you haven’t already, this is a good month to apply this mulch. Avoid cultivating or allowing other plants to grow under or in competition with their roots.

● Gardenias do not like hot, dry winds. If these occur, do what you can to shield the plant. A light misting and syringe of the leaves also helps.

● For more information, watch & learn: Gardenias for Southern California with Nicholas Staddenand How to Successfully Grow Gardenias with Sarah Smith



Hydrangeas:

● Most of the flowering should be about done.

● Even dried hydrangea flowers can be attractive on the plant as they change color and take on a unique appearance.

● The first week of the month is your last good chance to remove any flowers that have faded. Pruning by then will still give the plant enough time to produce some new growth (which is where the flowers will be next season, on old wood varieties).

● Only prune stems that have flowered this season; leave all other stems alone since they will flower on their tips next season.

● Any pruning after the beginning of this month will interfere with the plant’s ability to bloom well next year. Don’t cut the plant again until next summer.

● Feed them one more time in order to produce more new growth (which will bloom next year).

For more information, watch & learn: Blooming Hydrangeas with Sarah Smith



Roses:

● Although they may still be blooming, the heat of this and next month is taking a bit of a toll on them, especially in inland gardens.

● A moderate summer pruning will help revive your roses now and will encourage a big bloom display over the next few months. Early in the month is the best time to do this. Remove about 1/3 of the plant and any crossing or awkward growth. Be sure to fertilize well immediately after pruning.

● If you haven’t already, check the mulch layer under the roses and add more as needed.

● Disease should not be much of an issue now, except along the immediate coast.

● Rose slugs are still a problem but should be less now.

● Do not use soil-applied fertilizers combined with a systemic insecticide. These products are very disruptive to soil life (beneficial microorganisms, bacteria, mycorrhizal fungi, earthworms, etc.). Many rosarians also believe they reduce the vigor of the rose.

● Roses are heavy feeders; continue regular fertilizing. Rather than use fertilizer/insecticide combinations (which severely disrupt soil life), use a well-balanced organic product.

● Keep deadheading roses as they fade.

● Stay on the lookout for pests. Rose slug problems may be less by now, but spider mites like the warm, dry summer temperatures.

● Irrigations should be frequent and deep in the warm summer weather.

● Hose off the foliage of roses frequently. Contrary to popular myth, this will actually reduce the likelihood of powdery mildew and discourages spider mites as well.

For more information, watch & learn: How to Prune Your Roses With Laura Weaver ,, & How to Plant and Care for Roses& How to Maintain and Care for Roses& The Best Fragrant Roses with Laura Weaver



Wisterias:

● Established wisterias need considerable pruning each year to encourage flowers and maintain a manageable plant. A good schedule for these three prunings is June, August, and December. This will be the second pruning of the year. First, prevent any new growth from twining around itself in a hopeless mass. Next, cut again (as you did in June) all stems to just above the second or third bud above last year’s resting point. This is easy to spot by noticing the color of the outer layer of the stem/bark.

● Established wisterias need only an occasional deep summer watering and little, if any, fertilizer. However, iron is occasionally needed to correct chlorosis.

● Training young plants: Continue guiding the long, twining stems carefully in the direction that you want. Prune off any wayward stems completely at their source and eliminate stems that are tangling together. Ensure that the support you are training the plant onto is very strong, as wisterias are extremely heavy plants.

● Be sure to provide young plants with plenty of water and fertilizer to encourage quick coverage and deep roots.

● It is not unusual to have some random summer and fall flowers on wisterias, especially if you are following the pruning instructions given here. Enjoy them!



Trees:

● In August, trees in your garden will be looking for regular irrigation, especially for young trees that are still establishing themselves. If you’re wondering about pruning trees in August, the rule of thumb is that mid-summer tree pruning will slow down growth, late winter pruning will encourage new growth. If your trees are getting large, you may want to prune them this time of year to manage the size.

● August is not a great month to plant trees in your garden since the heat will cause them to need much more frequent watering to keep them hydrated while they establish roots.

● Water deeply as needed according to the tree species, its age, and the weather.

● This is a good month to “leach” the root zone beneath salt-sensitive species like Japanese maples. This is accomplished by flood irrigating the soil very heavily and repeating it several times until the accumulated salts in the root zone are washed away from the roots.

● Many trees may be suckering heavily now. Remove these suckers below ground by pulling them. If you cannot pull them, dig them to the point where they are attached to the tree and cut them flush with the root or trunk, leaving no “stub.”

● Many trees in your garden or neighborhood may be in bloom in August, including crape myrtle, certain coral trees, Chinese flame trees, cassia, Eucalyptus ficifolia, and others. Enjoy the beautiful blooms.



Deciduous Fruit Trees:

● Monitor the soil moisture and irrigate as needed. Flooding the soil beneath these trees or using a drip system are both excellent ways to irrigate these. Avoid the use of sprinklers and do not regularly wet the trunk of the tree to reduce the potential of certain diseases.

● If you want to reduce or limit the overall size of any of these trees, the correct time to prune them is immediately following the fruit harvest, which may be now. Pruning in winter is important for fruit production and tree structure. However, winter pruning will not limit the size of a tree; summer pruning will.

● Several varieties of peaches, nectarines, apricots, and plums may still be ripening this month. Some apples and pears varieties will also be producing now.



Subtropical Fruits:

● Keep feeding now with a general-purpose organic fertilizer. Most tropicals and subtropicals have a higher need for trace minerals like iron, zinc, manganese, and others. Organic fertilizers generally contain many trace minerals and work especially well in the warm soil temperatures present now.

● These are all growing well, and many, but not all, are in bud or bloom now.

● Keep them fertilized with a general-purpose organic fertilizer.

● This is also a good time to plant heat-lovers like papaya, banana, and mango. However, they will need to be kept well-watered to help them get established.

● Watering should be frequent now. Remember, most tropicals and subtropicals need quick soil drainage.



Avocados:

● Don’t be alarmed by leaf-drop on mature avocado plants. Avocados produce a lot of leaf litter nearly year-round. This is a normal condition.

● Be sure to keep a very thick blanket of mulch, compost, or fallen leaves under mature avocados at all times. They need a cool root-run for good health.

● Irrigate as needed to keep the soil moist but not wet.

● This is still an okay month for planting avocados, but don’t delay too long. Being subtropical plants, avocados prefer to be planted during the long warm part of the year.

● Some early-fruiting varieties, like ‘Anaheim,’ ‘Hass,’ ‘Littlecado’ and ‘Reed,’ may have fruit ready to harvest. Remember that avocado fruit does not ripen on the tree; it must be removed and should ripen indoors at room temperature.

For more information, watch & learn: Edible Gardening: How to Grow Avocados in Southern California with Sarah Smith



Citrus:

● Citrus trees should have healthy green leaves right now.

● Continue fertilizing for another month or two. Use a fertilizer that is rich in such trace minerals as iron, zinc, manganese, copper, and others. These ingredients are usually well represented in organic fertilizers like Dr. Earth.

● Be especially attentive to irrigations now that the weather is warm. The best application method is by flooding the root basin and letting it soak in once or twice. Do not use sprinklers, especially if they wet the trunk of the tree.

● If not already picked, Valencia oranges should still be ripe on the tree.

● Continue periodically checking for ants. Control them from climbing up the trunk of the tree or onto the branches immediately. Although not directly harmful to the citrus, they are “farming” such pests as scale, whitefly, and mealybug, which are all common on citrus.

For more information, watch & learn: Growing Citrus in Southern California with David Rizzo& Growing Citrus in Containers with Kathleen





Perennials:

● There are several perennials you can plant in the garden in August; just be sure to stay on top of watering. Possibly the top August gardening tip is to truly soak up the beauty in your garden this month! Many perennials are thriving in the heat, so enjoy them and take some pictures to keep the memories.

● If you are planting perennials in August, be sure to keep them well-watered through the summer heat. Try to avoid buying overgrown or root-bound plants, as they will be harder to establish.

● Keep fertilizing your perennials. The frequency and amount will depend upon the formulation that you are using. If you have been building up your soil health, your fertilizing duties will be much reduced.

● Deadheading spent flowers regularly will help perennials that bloom in August to produce more new flowers. This is especially important at this time of the year as many of these plants are attempting to set seeds.

● Most of your time in the perennial garden in August will be occupied with general cleaning, some trimming, lots of deadheading, and mostly enjoying your garden. The summer heat will take its toll on some plants, while others will seem to grow even stronger.

● Irrigating your perennials now is important. The heat of summer is bearing down on these plants, and perennials will respond well to careful irrigations.

● Begin preparing space now for new plantings during the upcoming fall planting season.

For more information, watch & learn: Gardening 101 Series | How to Use Annuals vs. Perennials with Lynn Hillman & Gardening 101 Series | Pruning Lavender & Perennials with Dalia Brunner





Bearded Iris:

● August is a great month to dig, transplant, and divide these perennials in your garden. Bearded Iris should be dug and divided about every four years (every two or three years for aggressive re-blooming varieties).

● If you are growing any of the new “repeat-blooming” varieties, they may cycle again at any time. Keep feeding these re-bloomers aggressively. Older “once-blooming” varieties can have their feeding reduced in half. Any organic fertilizer labeled for roses (but not with insecticides or other added ingredients) will do fine.

● This is an excellent time to plant new bearded iris from rhizomes.





Bulbs, Rhizomes, Tubers, etc.:

● Even in the hot temperatures of August, there are bulbs blooming now in Orange County. These include Amaryllis belladonna, Eucomis (pineapple lily), Hymenocallis, some true lilies, Urginia (giant squill), and Tuberose.

● Fancy-leaved caladiums are still doing great now. Keep them well-watered, fertilized, and in bright indirect light.

● Plant bearded iris rhizomes now.

● Plant fall-blooming Colchicum (sometimes called ‘autumn crocus’) and Lycoris now, if you can find them in nurseries.

● Amaryllis belladonna, commonly called ‘Naked Ladies’, can be dug and divided now if necessary. The best time to do this is after the flowers have finished, but prior to the foliage growing again this fall. However, only perform this chore if it is absolutely necessary since crowded conditions provide better flowering.

For more information, view Gardening 101 Series | How Do I Plant Spring Bulbs?or Fall Planted Bulbs for Southern California Gardens with Sarah Smith





California Native Plants:

● Be very cautious in irrigating most of our native plants during the summer. Most of these are adapted to a winter wet – summer dry moisture cycle. Too frequent irrigations now (especially in soils with a clay content) will certainly cause problems.

For more information, watch & learn: California Native Plants for Your Garden with James Maxwell, Success with Native Plants with James Maxwell, and All About Our Native Milkweed



Cannas:

● Cannas are one of the perennial flowers that should bloom beautifully in August. They are one of the longest blooming plants in a garden.

● Continue to keep them well-watered in the hot summer weather; cannas do not like dry soil.

● As cannas flower, you may notice that each stalk produces a cluster of flowers at the top. After this cluster finishes, the stalk grows a few more inches and produces another cluster. In some varieties, this can go on for four or five clusters and last almost two months from beginning to end. When the last cluster of flowers has finished, cut the entire stalk to the soil. This stalk will never bloom again, and cutting it down will encourage more stalks and flowers to grow. Keep this process up all summer for the best results.



Clematis:

● Clematis prefer cool roots, especially during the summer months. Do all you can, especially during this month and next, to keep them sheltered from the heat.

● To insulate the roots, maintain a thick 3-4 inch layer of organic mulch over them at all times, especially now.

● In the warm summer weather, be sure to apply more frequent irrigations.

● Continue fertilizing to prepare the plant for potential late summer/fall blooms. Use a mild, organic fertilizer. If your soil is slightly alkaline (high pH), periodically alternate fertilizing with an acid fertilizer such as cottonseed meal.



Dahlias (tuberous types):

● Dahlia plants should still be in full bloom and enjoying the warm sunny weather.

● Regularly cut off spent blooms to make the plants both look better and set more flowers.

● Keep the taller varieties carefully staked to prevent the heavy canes from toppling over. Heavy natural cane bamboo stakes work well.

● Water regularly and deeply throughout the hot summer months. Flooding the soil works best; overhead watering will cause broken stems and mushy flowers.

● Fertilize them regularly throughout their growing and blooming period. Use a liquid or granular organic fertilizer that is low in nitrogen and high in phosphorus. Fish Bone Meal is excellent.

● If powdery mildew appears on the lower leaves, use organic neem oil or E-Rase.

For more information, watch & learn Lew Whitney's Secrets to Growing and Maintaining Dahliasor How to Plant Dahlias with Sarah Smithor How to Grow & Maintain Dahlias with Steve Hampson



Fuchsias:

● Your fuchsia plants should still be blooming, although probably a bit less than a couple of months ago.

● Keep fertilizing them regularly with a balanced fertilizer or one slightly higher in phosphorus to promote more flowering.

● Proper watering is still critical at this time of the year, especially for those plants in hanging baskets. Water early in the morning or in the evening and check the soil moisture every day. Never let the soil dry out completely.

● During a particularly dry, hot, or windy period, a misting of the foliage is very beneficial. If the soil is already moist from an early morning watering (best), be careful not to soak the soil again, or you will be encouraging root diseases.

● Groom the plant periodically by removing dead flowers and any developing seed pods.

● If your plants look gangly and unsightly, try pruning them lightly. If you keep feeding them heavily, they will put on new growth that you can pinch once or twice, which will then encourage another nice bloom.

● Keep watching for any signs of fuchsia gall mites this month. These nearly invisible pests are a serious threat to fuchsias. Look for any signs of puckered or distorted new growth. If you discover any, pinch it out and dispose of it immediately. Pesticide treatment is usually required.



Groundcovers:

● Cool-season groundcovers are showing heat stress. Keep them irrigated and mulched to help them through these warm months.

● Warm-season groundcovers are growing and blooming. Keep them irrigated as the weather warms.

For more information, watch & learn How to Plant & Grow Groundcover with Dalia Brunner



Orchids (outside grown):

● Keep feeding Cymbidiums with high nitrogen to promote growth.

● Be sure to keep them well-watered in the warm summer months.

For more information, watch & learn How to Divide and Repot Cymbidium Orchids with Steve Hampsonand Best Two Orchids for Beginners with Steve Hampsonand How to Care for and Maintain Phalaenopsis Orchids with Steve Hampson and How to Maintain your Orchid with Chris



Poinsettias:

● Do not pinch or prune the plant.

● Keep fertilizing the plant often with well-balanced food to encourage growth.

● Watch for whiteflies and treat them as needed.

● Protect the plant from high winds to prevent breaking the stems.

● Keep the plants well-watered.



Tropicals & Subtropicals:

● Keep feeding now with a general-purpose organic fertilizer. Most tropicals and subtropicals have a higher need for trace minerals like iron, zinc, manganese, and others. Organic fertilizers generally contain lots of these trace minerals and work especially well in the warm soil temperatures present now.

● These are all growing well, and many, but not all, are in bud or bloom now.

● August is still a good month to plant or transplant palms and cycads.

● This is also a good time to plant these heat-lovers. However, they will need to be kept well-watered to help them get established.

● Watering should be frequent now. Remember, most tropicals and subtropicals need quick soil drainage.

For more information view: How To Grow, Water and Care for Mounted Staghorn Ferns with Sarah Smith



Tuberous Begonias:

● Potted, blooming begonia plants are now available in nurseries.

● Begonias in the garden should be in full bloom in August.

● Most tuberous begonias produce both male (single) and female (double) flowers separately but on the same plant. Double flowers are much showier, and many gardeners pinch off the single (male) flowers as they appear.

● Keep fertilizing regularly. They are heavy feeders, especially in containers. Use a well-balanced fertilizer and periodically mix in an acid fertilizer to keep the soil pH low.

● Keep them well-watered but not soggy, especially during the hot summer months. The surface of the soil should dry slightly between watering.

● Pinch off faded flowers regularly and rotate container-grown plants to ensure even growth.

● If powdery mildew appears, treat it by improving air circulation around the plants. Usually, this will correct the problem. If not, use a fungicide.

For more information, watch & learn: Specialty Begonias with Sarah Smith



Foliage Plants

● Foliage plants in your garden, like grasses and ferns, don’t need too much care, but they will benefit from regular watering through August. If you’ve got grasses that self-seed, start keeping watch now if you don’t want them to spread.



Ferns:

● Continue irrigating most varieties regularly according to the weather. Delicate varieties appreciate an occasional misting of the foliage, especially during warm, dry, or windy periods.

● Continue fertilizing. Use a mild, organic fertilizer on ferns and alternate periodically with an acid type, especially in high pH soil. For most common varieties, try a blood meal alternated every third feeding with cottonseed meal.

● Keep checking for pests. Scale can be a problem and often goes undetected. It is often associated with ants, which need to be controlled as a part of any treatment program. On other ferns, especially staghorn, check carefully for signs of spider mites.



Ornamental Grasses:

● A few kinds of grasses will begin developing seed heads already, although most are still at least a month away. These seed heads can be quite ornamental and are one of the most attractive aspects of these plants.

● Some grasses may want to re-seed either in your garden or even into an adjacent wild area. If this is an issue, prune these seed heads off before the heads are fully ripe to prevent the seeds from dispersing, or look for infertile varieties.



Vegetables & Herbs

● There’s still lots of vegetable gardening to do in August, including planting veggies for your fall harvest. Here are a few gardening tips to keep your garden on track through the month. You can also plant a variety of herbs in the vegetable garden in August.

For more information view: How to Grow Your Second Season Tomatoes This Summer with Suzanne Hetrick



Herbs:

● You can still get a decent harvest of basil if you get it planted right away! Keep pinching the flowers off as they develop. Flowers not only reduce the quantity and size of the foliage but change the flavor of basil as well.

● Many perennial herbs can be planted nearly year-round, even during the heat of August, if they are watered carefully. These include marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, feverfew, lavender, lemon balm, lemongrass, lemon verbena, St. John’s wort, tansy, tarragon, and thyme.

For more information, view: Unique and Unusual Herb Plants with Sarah Smith



Vegetables:

● This is the last chance to get started if you are planting fall tomatoes. If your spring-planted tomatoes are still doing well, leave them in, but they are often about done by now. Rather than trying to nurture the last few fruits off each plant, pull them out and start over. The earlier in the month, the better.

● Some warm-season vegetables can still be planted, but keep them well-watered. Quick-maturing or “early” varieties are good choices to grow in August.

● If growing from transplants, try beans, cucumbers, eggplants, lima beans, squash, and tomatoes. August is your last chance to sow corn from seed if you hope to harvest ears in the fall.

● Beets, carrots, chard, radish, and possibly turnips can be planted just about year-round. All but chard are planted from seed only. Be extra diligent about keeping the small seeds watered in this hot weather.

● Check tomato plants for hornworm caterpillars. Handpick them or use a safe, organic BT spray.

● Keep tomato plants trained with cages, stakes, or obelisks.

● Since most annual vegetables are shallow-rooted and quick growing, feed them regularly with a well-balanced organic fertilizer.

● Keep the vegetable garden well-watered during the hot summer.

● Harvest your crop frequently before they get too large or past their most flavorful period. They will grow and mature quickly in the August heat.



General Gardening Info

● Hints for August garden maintenance mostly revolve around watering, looking for pests, and helping your plants survive the hottest temperatures of the year. While the heat is here, it’s a good time to take in some gardening education. You can visit other gardens, attend seminars online or in person, or read up on different gardening topics. Whatever you choose, stay safe in the heat and enjoy your garden!



Beneficial Insects:

● Giant whitefly infestations may still be noticeable. However, predators and parasites should also be present within the colonies. Check immature whiteflies carefully for signs of parasite activity.

● Flea, grub, and cutworm populations may still be doing damage to your garden now. The best control tip is to use various beneficial nematodes. These microscopic worms are applied by mixing them in a watering can and drenching the area, then watering well.

● In the warm August weather, you may notice spider mites on many plants in your garden, such as citrus, avocado, pine, juniper, ivy, and others. Release beneficial predator mites now for control all summer.



Lawns:

● Remember, cool-season lawns (fescue/marathon, ryegrass, bluegrass) should be mowed about half an inch higher in the warm months than in the cool months. Keep the mower at this higher setting for another month.

● It’s too late to attempt to plant new cool-season lawns; wait for another month or two.

● Continue feeding warm-season lawns into the fall months.

● For the next couple of months, begin reducing the dosage of fertilizer by half to cool-season lawns. Too much fertilizer right now, during the warm weather, will make these cool-season turfs very susceptible to various diseases.

● This is still a good month to plant warm-season lawns (hybrid bermudagrass, St. Augustine, etc.), just keep them well-watered.

● Our biggest tip for planting warm-season grasses is that they do not grow well from seed and are best only installed from sod.

● Crabgrass is at its growing peak over the next month or two, and the clumps are easy to notice in lawns. It will also be setting seed in the next couple of months that will potentially ensure an even larger problem next year. For small patches, water the lawn and then hand pull the clumps—they will slide out fairly easily in the soggy soil. For larger patches, use a selective herbicide with the ingredient “MSMA.” Follow label directions carefully.



Pests & Diseases:

● Periodically rinsing off the foliage of the plants in your garden during the summer will significantly reduce man pest problems, especially mites and whitefly.

For more information, view: How to Identify & Eliminate Common Garden Pests



Records, Catalogs, Books, and Organizations:

● If you don’t already have it, this would be the month to buy a copy of the famous book on Southern California gardening by Bob Smaus. Titled “52 Weeks in The California Garden,” this book begins with the month of September and is a month-by-month dialogue of the activities of a garden in our region.

● This is still a terrific time to attend an educational garden seminar or meeting. Excellent programs are available and most, but not all, are free, require no memberships, and may not even require reservations. There is so much going on right now that you will have to pay close attention to keep track of it all.

● Continue making notes in your journal now, especially about watering, which plants are coming into bloom, and which are going out of bloom. These will be useful to you next year.



Soil Care:

● A thick layer of organic mulch, averaging about two inches, should be maintained on top of the soil year-round. Add additional mulch as needed to maintain this level.

● Applied now, a thick layer of mulch will cool the root systems from hot summer temperatures, reduce irrigations by as much as half this summer, reduce weed growth, and improve both soil life and soil quality.

● We do not suggest the use of very high-analysis fertilizers in a garden, especially phosphorus. Examples of fertilizers to avoid are synthetic versions with formulations like 10-55-10, 10-30-10, etc. We don’t even suggest the popular 15-30-15 formula. These formulations will inhibit or even destroy much of the soil life that is so vital to healthy, sustainable soil.

● We also suggest that you not use soil-applied systemic fertilizer/insecticide combinations (especially popular with roses). These are very damaging to soil life.

● Use insecticides only when necessary, and even then, use the least damaging product available. Many of these products move into the soil and interfere with the invisible soil life.

● The best gardening tip of all is to begin a compost pile or purchase a compost bin. Leaves, clippings, kitchen produce scraps, and many other ingredients can be composted and returned to the garden. Home compost is one of the very best ingredients you can add to your soil. The benefits are huge in the areas of disease suppression, increasing beneficial microorganisms, improving soil structure and texture, nutrient retention, and nematode suppression.

● Be sure that, before you put a plant into the ground, you have considered the soil and are doing all you can to improve it and protect its health.

For more information, watch & learn: How to Prepare Your Soil with Suzanne Hetrick& Gardening 101 Series | What Kind of Soil Should You Use?



Water & Irrigation:

● Periodically rinse off the foliage of the plants in your garden during the summer. Larger shrubs, vines, and trees will need spray from a garden hose. This will cleanse the foliage of dust and some pollution. Pest problems will be reduced, and the plants will “breathe” easier as well.

For more information, view: How to Water Your Plants in the Summer with Suzanne Hetrick

Source: https://www.latimes.com/lifestyle/story/2020-10-08/chinese-garden-huntington-complete



Places to Visit:

● Gardens that look terrific almost any time of the year include ● Sherman Library and Gardens● (Corona del Mar), ● The Fullerton Arboretum● (Fullerton), ● Los Angeles Arboretum● (Arcadia), ● Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens● (San Marino), and ● San Diego Botanical Gardens● (Encinitas).

QUICK LINKS:
Buy PerennialsBuy RosesBuy Edible PlantsBuy Landscape PlantsBuy Soils + FertilizersBuy Tools + Accessories
Buy Garden Accents

Fellow Gardeners,

The information, dates, and techniques in this are as accurate as I can currently offer. During the past three decades, I have cared for, nurtured, and observed tens of thousands of plants. With the help of many gardening friends, I have attempted to offer on these pages some useful information to help you with your own garden. Gardening is sharing. Any corrections, comments, or suggestions are appreciated and will improve future information.

Table of Contents:




Annuals:

The heat of summer is here for the August garden! You can still plant warm-season annual flowers in your garden now; just make sure they’re well-watered to survive the August heat.

● This is definitely a month for warm-season annuals, especially those that really love hot, hot, hot weather. The nights are warm, the days are long and sunny, and the temperatures are high.

● Keep newly planted annuals well-watered until they are thoroughly rooted. Choices include dahlias, zinnias, lisianthus, petunias, lobelia, verbena, marigold, ageratum, cosmos, gomphrena, salvia, impatiens, coleus, torenia, portulaca, and begonias.

● Many of these warm-season annual plants, like dahlias, zinnias, and cosmos, are excellent annual cut flowers that you can plant in August.

● Because of their quick growth and heavy flowering potential, annuals need more fertilizing than most other plants in the garden.

● Keep deadheading (removing spent flowers) from annuals to help them continue blooming abundantly.



Geraniums:

This group includes ivy geraniums, zonal geraniums (also called “common” geraniums), Martha geraniums, and the various scented geraniums, but does not include true geraniums (sometimes called “hardy” geraniums), which are discussed under perennials.

● Ivy and zonal types are still blooming but may look a bit heat-stressed in the August garden. Keep up with removing spent flowers regularly to encourage more bloom.

● For the most part, Martha types have finished blooming for this year.

● Continue fertilizing all geraniums regularly, except most scented types, with a balanced fertilizer. Geraniums prefer slightly acidic soil, so periodically alternate feedings with an acid formula, such as cottonseed meal.

● Ivy and zonal geraniums do not like heavy pruning. To keep the plants shapely and vigorous for a longer period of time, prune back a few long stems every month or so through fall, but never very many at once.

● Budworms may still be attacking the developing buds and new leaves. If necessary, spray with BT on a regular basis.



Sweet Peas:

Seeds for sweet peas will be in good supply at garden centers by the end of August. This is an especially good time to plant annual seeds for beautiful early-blooming (also called “short-day”) varieties that may bloom by Christmas. These varieties include ‘Winter Elegance’ (our favorite!) and ‘Early Multiflora.’

For more information, watch & learn: World-Class Sweet Peas with Steve Hampson



Wildflowers:

● It is the wrong time to be thinking about wildflowers now. However, here’s one August gardening tip that will really help you out later: if you will be planting again this winter, keep the area free of weeds between now and then. If the area has no other plants in it, do not water. Irrigations will only encourage weed growth.

● However, if you want to get a head start on weed control in the wildflower area, try this: irrigate the area lightly, but several times a day, for about 10 to 14 days. This will germinate many of the weed seeds. Once they germinate, control them with either a very shallow Hula-Hoe (also called a “Wiggle Hoe”) or spray with a non-residual herbicide like Roundup. Repeat the process a couple of times more before scattering the wildflowers in November. You will then have far less weed seed germination.



Fruiting Plants

Grapes and strawberries are working hard at producing and ripening fruit in your garden in August. The main tip for August fruit gardening is to keep up with regular watering to keep plants producing.



Grapes:

● Plants are directing much of their energy now toward fruit production.

● Assuming the use of a granular organic product, the feeding of grapes is in six-to-eight week intervals following the first application, which should have been applied when the new growth was just emerging. Following this schedule, four applications are usually sufficient. Grapes need a well-balanced fertilizer that contains trace minerals. Organic products are generally a good choice.

● Depending upon the variety, continue harvesting fruit when it is fully formed and well-colored.

● If birds or wildlife are a problem, protect the plants with nearly invisible black nylon netting.

● Continue irrigating regularly and deeply in the warm summer temperatures.

● Watch for signs of powdery mildew on the foliage. Usually, this is due to poor air circulation around the plant, too much shading, or the lack of a winter dormant spray. If treatment now is necessary, use an organic neem oil product.



Strawberries:

● If strawberries attempt to grow runners, pinch them off. Keep feeding them, and they will continue to bear fruit.

● Keep watching for signs of spider mites, which love the hot, dry summertime. Occasionally rinsing the leaves with overhead watering will reduce this pest problem considerably.


For more information, watch & learn: How to Grow the Best Strawberries with Sarah Smith



Shrubs & Vines

● In garden areas adjacent to brushland and wild spaces, August is a good time to reduce your fuel to help prevent and suppress brush fires. Remove shrubbery and weeds that have grown too near the house. This fall, consider planting fire-resistant groundcover and other plants as a buffer against fires.

● Avoid pruning most of your shrubs in August; it’s unnecessary extra stress when they’re facing the hottest days of the year. Wisteria and roses are the exceptions; these are flowering plants that should be pruned in August. August is not a great month for planting either, as shrubs will require much more frequent watering to help them establish.

For more information, watch & learn:Hardy Flowering Shrubs with Dalia Brunner



Azaleas:

● Continue to keep azaleas well-irrigated now that the weather is warm.

● Azaleas are shallow-rooted and dry out quickly. Avoid cultivating or allowing other plants to grow under or in competition with the roots of your azalea.



Camellias:

● Except for a few late-blooming varieties, you will probably be finished with your camellia fertilizing for the year. The first of three feedings to your camellia should have been applied about 4-6 weeks after it finished blooming. The second feeding is 4-6 weeks after the first, and the final feeding is 4-6 weeks after that.

● Japanese camellias are about done with their “growth” cycle for the year and are now entering the period in which they set buds for next spring.

● Sasanqua camellias have also finished their “growth” cycle for the year and are also setting buds for next spring.

● Do not prune camellias in August.

● Continue to keep camellias well-irrigated now that the weather is warm.

● Camellias are shallow-rooted and dry out quickly. Avoid cultivating or allowing other plants to grow under or in competition with the roots of your camellia.

For more information, watch & learn: Gardening 101 Series | How to Plant & Maintain a Camellia



Gardenias:

● Keep gardenia shrubs well-fed through the summer months. Use a fertilizer with trace minerals, such as most organic types, and alternate this with an acidic formula to keep the pH down.

● If the leaves of your gardenia shrub are showing signs of green veins with yellow areas between the veins in August, especially on the new growth, they need additional iron. Iron is a supplement to the regular fertilizing program of your gardenia.

● Gardenias are shallow-rooted and will dry out quickly. A thick layer of organic mulch over the roots helps moderate the soil temperatures and retain moisture. If you haven’t already, this is a good month to apply this mulch. Avoid cultivating or allowing other plants to grow under or in competition with their roots.

● Gardenias do not like hot, dry winds. If these occur, do what you can to shield the plant. A light misting and syringe of the leaves also helps.

● For more information, watch & learn: Gardenias for Southern California with Nicholas Staddenand How to Successfully Grow Gardenias with Sarah Smith



Hydrangeas:

● Most of the flowering should be about done.

● Even dried hydrangea flowers can be attractive on the plant as they change color and take on a unique appearance.

● The first week of the month is your last good chance to remove any flowers that have faded. Pruning by then will still give the plant enough time to produce some new growth (which is where the flowers will be next season, on old wood varieties).

● Only prune stems that have flowered this season; leave all other stems alone since they will flower on their tips next season.

● Any pruning after the beginning of this month will interfere with the plant’s ability to bloom well next year. Don’t cut the plant again until next summer.

● Feed them one more time in order to produce more new growth (which will bloom next year).

For more information, watch & learn: Blooming Hydrangeas with Sarah Smith



Roses:

● Although they may still be blooming, the heat of this and next month is taking a bit of a toll on them, especially in inland gardens.

● A moderate summer pruning will help revive your roses now and will encourage a big bloom display over the next few months. Early in the month is the best time to do this. Remove about 1/3 of the plant and any crossing or awkward growth. Be sure to fertilize well immediately after pruning.

● If you haven’t already, check the mulch layer under the roses and add more as needed.

● Disease should not be much of an issue now, except along the immediate coast.

● Rose slugs are still a problem but should be less now.

● Do not use soil-applied fertilizers combined with a systemic insecticide. These products are very disruptive to soil life (beneficial microorganisms, bacteria, mycorrhizal fungi, earthworms, etc.). Many rosarians also believe they reduce the vigor of the rose.

● Roses are heavy feeders; continue regular fertilizing. Rather than use fertilizer/insecticide combinations (which severely disrupt soil life), use a well-balanced organic product.

● Keep deadheading roses as they fade.

● Stay on the lookout for pests. Rose slug problems may be less by now, but spider mites like the warm, dry summer temperatures.

● Irrigations should be frequent and deep in the warm summer weather.

● Hose off the foliage of roses frequently. Contrary to popular myth, this will actually reduce the likelihood of powdery mildew and discourages spider mites as well.

For more information, watch & learn: How to Prune Your Roses With Laura Weaver ,, & How to Plant and Care for Roses& How to Maintain and Care for Roses& The Best Fragrant Roses with Laura Weaver



Wisterias:

● Established wisterias need considerable pruning each year to encourage flowers and maintain a manageable plant. A good schedule for these three prunings is June, August, and December. This will be the second pruning of the year. First, prevent any new growth from twining around itself in a hopeless mass. Next, cut again (as you did in June) all stems to just above the second or third bud above last year’s resting point. This is easy to spot by noticing the color of the outer layer of the stem/bark.

● Established wisterias need only an occasional deep summer watering and little, if any, fertilizer. However, iron is occasionally needed to correct chlorosis.

● Training young plants: Continue guiding the long, twining stems carefully in the direction that you want. Prune off any wayward stems completely at their source and eliminate stems that are tangling together. Ensure that the support you are training the plant onto is very strong, as wisterias are extremely heavy plants.

● Be sure to provide young plants with plenty of water and fertilizer to encourage quick coverage and deep roots.

● It is not unusual to have some random summer and fall flowers on wisterias, especially if you are following the pruning instructions given here. Enjoy them!



Trees:

● In August, trees in your garden will be looking for regular irrigation, especially for young trees that are still establishing themselves. If you’re wondering about pruning trees in August, the rule of thumb is that mid-summer tree pruning will slow down growth, late winter pruning will encourage new growth. If your trees are getting large, you may want to prune them this time of year to manage the size.

● August is not a great month to plant trees in your garden since the heat will cause them to need much more frequent watering to keep them hydrated while they establish roots.

● Water deeply as needed according to the tree species, its age, and the weather.

● This is a good month to “leach” the root zone beneath salt-sensitive species like Japanese maples. This is accomplished by flood irrigating the soil very heavily and repeating it several times until the accumulated salts in the root zone are washed away from the roots.

● Many trees may be suckering heavily now. Remove these suckers below ground by pulling them. If you cannot pull them, dig them to the point where they are attached to the tree and cut them flush with the root or trunk, leaving no “stub.”

● Many trees in your garden or neighborhood may be in bloom in August, including crape myrtle, certain coral trees, Chinese flame trees, cassia, Eucalyptus ficifolia, and others. Enjoy the beautiful blooms.



Deciduous Fruit Trees:

● Monitor the soil moisture and irrigate as needed. Flooding the soil beneath these trees or using a drip system are both excellent ways to irrigate these. Avoid the use of sprinklers and do not regularly wet the trunk of the tree to reduce the potential of certain diseases.

● If you want to reduce or limit the overall size of any of these trees, the correct time to prune them is immediately following the fruit harvest, which may be now. Pruning in winter is important for fruit production and tree structure. However, winter pruning will not limit the size of a tree; summer pruning will.

● Several varieties of peaches, nectarines, apricots, and plums may still be ripening this month. Some apples and pears varieties will also be producing now.



Subtropical Fruits:

● Keep feeding now with a general-purpose organic fertilizer. Most tropicals and subtropicals have a higher need for trace minerals like iron, zinc, manganese, and others. Organic fertilizers generally contain many trace minerals and work especially well in the warm soil temperatures present now.

● These are all growing well, and many, but not all, are in bud or bloom now.

● Keep them fertilized with a general-purpose organic fertilizer.

● This is also a good time to plant heat-lovers like papaya, banana, and mango. However, they will need to be kept well-watered to help them get established.

● Watering should be frequent now. Remember, most tropicals and subtropicals need quick soil drainage.



Avocados:

● Don’t be alarmed by leaf-drop on mature avocado plants. Avocados produce a lot of leaf litter nearly year-round. This is a normal condition.

● Be sure to keep a very thick blanket of mulch, compost, or fallen leaves under mature avocados at all times. They need a cool root-run for good health.

● Irrigate as needed to keep the soil moist but not wet.

● This is still an okay month for planting avocados, but don’t delay too long. Being subtropical plants, avocados prefer to be planted during the long warm part of the year.

● Some early-fruiting varieties, like ‘Anaheim,’ ‘Hass,’ ‘Littlecado’ and ‘Reed,’ may have fruit ready to harvest. Remember that avocado fruit does not ripen on the tree; it must be removed and should ripen indoors at room temperature.

For more information, watch & learn: Edible Gardening: How to Grow Avocados in Southern California with Sarah Smith



Citrus:

● Citrus trees should have healthy green leaves right now.

● Continue fertilizing for another month or two. Use a fertilizer that is rich in such trace minerals as iron, zinc, manganese, copper, and others. These ingredients are usually well represented in organic fertilizers like Dr. Earth.

● Be especially attentive to irrigations now that the weather is warm. The best application method is by flooding the root basin and letting it soak in once or twice. Do not use sprinklers, especially if they wet the trunk of the tree.

● If not already picked, Valencia oranges should still be ripe on the tree.

● Continue periodically checking for ants. Control them from climbing up the trunk of the tree or onto the branches immediately. Although not directly harmful to the citrus, they are “farming” such pests as scale, whitefly, and mealybug, which are all common on citrus.

For more information, watch & learn: Growing Citrus in Southern California with David Rizzo& Growing Citrus in Containers with Kathleen





Perennials:

● There are several perennials you can plant in the garden in August; just be sure to stay on top of watering. Possibly the top August gardening tip is to truly soak up the beauty in your garden this month! Many perennials are thriving in the heat, so enjoy them and take some pictures to keep the memories.

● If you are planting perennials in August, be sure to keep them well-watered through the summer heat. Try to avoid buying overgrown or root-bound plants, as they will be harder to establish.

● Keep fertilizing your perennials. The frequency and amount will depend upon the formulation that you are using. If you have been building up your soil health, your fertilizing duties will be much reduced.

● Deadheading spent flowers regularly will help perennials that bloom in August to produce more new flowers. This is especially important at this time of the year as many of these plants are attempting to set seeds.

● Most of your time in the perennial garden in August will be occupied with general cleaning, some trimming, lots of deadheading, and mostly enjoying your garden. The summer heat will take its toll on some plants, while others will seem to grow even stronger.

● Irrigating your perennials now is important. The heat of summer is bearing down on these plants, and perennials will respond well to careful irrigations.

● Begin preparing space now for new plantings during the upcoming fall planting season.

For more information, watch & learn: Gardening 101 Series | How to Use Annuals vs. Perennials with Lynn Hillman & Gardening 101 Series | Pruning Lavender & Perennials with Dalia Brunner





Bearded Iris:

● August is a great month to dig, transplant, and divide these perennials in your garden. Bearded Iris should be dug and divided about every four years (every two or three years for aggressive re-blooming varieties).

● If you are growing any of the new “repeat-blooming” varieties, they may cycle again at any time. Keep feeding these re-bloomers aggressively. Older “once-blooming” varieties can have their feeding reduced in half. Any organic fertilizer labeled for roses (but not with insecticides or other added ingredients) will do fine.

● This is an excellent time to plant new bearded iris from rhizomes.





Bulbs, Rhizomes, Tubers, etc.:

● Even in the hot temperatures of August, there are bulbs blooming now in Orange County. These include Amaryllis belladonna, Eucomis (pineapple lily), Hymenocallis, some true lilies, Urginia (giant squill), and Tuberose.

● Fancy-leaved caladiums are still doing great now. Keep them well-watered, fertilized, and in bright indirect light.

● Plant bearded iris rhizomes now.

● Plant fall-blooming Colchicum (sometimes called ‘autumn crocus’) and Lycoris now, if you can find them in nurseries.

● Amaryllis belladonna, commonly called ‘Naked Ladies’, can be dug and divided now if necessary. The best time to do this is after the flowers have finished, but prior to the foliage growing again this fall. However, only perform this chore if it is absolutely necessary since crowded conditions provide better flowering.

For more information, view Gardening 101 Series | How Do I Plant Spring Bulbs?or Fall Planted Bulbs for Southern California Gardens with Sarah Smith





California Native Plants:

● Be very cautious in irrigating most of our native plants during the summer. Most of these are adapted to a winter wet – summer dry moisture cycle. Too frequent irrigations now (especially in soils with a clay content) will certainly cause problems.

For more information, watch & learn: California Native Plants for Your Garden with James Maxwell, Success with Native Plants with James Maxwell, and All About Our Native Milkweed



Cannas:

● Cannas are one of the perennial flowers that should bloom beautifully in August. They are one of the longest blooming plants in a garden.

● Continue to keep them well-watered in the hot summer weather; cannas do not like dry soil.

● As cannas flower, you may notice that each stalk produces a cluster of flowers at the top. After this cluster finishes, the stalk grows a few more inches and produces another cluster. In some varieties, this can go on for four or five clusters and last almost two months from beginning to end. When the last cluster of flowers has finished, cut the entire stalk to the soil. This stalk will never bloom again, and cutting it down will encourage more stalks and flowers to grow. Keep this process up all summer for the best results.



Clematis:

● Clematis prefer cool roots, especially during the summer months. Do all you can, especially during this month and next, to keep them sheltered from the heat.

● To insulate the roots, maintain a thick 3-4 inch layer of organic mulch over them at all times, especially now.

● In the warm summer weather, be sure to apply more frequent irrigations.

● Continue fertilizing to prepare the plant for potential late summer/fall blooms. Use a mild, organic fertilizer. If your soil is slightly alkaline (high pH), periodically alternate fertilizing with an acid fertilizer such as cottonseed meal.



Dahlias (tuberous types):

● Dahlia plants should still be in full bloom and enjoying the warm sunny weather.

● Regularly cut off spent blooms to make the plants both look better and set more flowers.

● Keep the taller varieties carefully staked to prevent the heavy canes from toppling over. Heavy natural cane bamboo stakes work well.

● Water regularly and deeply throughout the hot summer months. Flooding the soil works best; overhead watering will cause broken stems and mushy flowers.

● Fertilize them regularly throughout their growing and blooming period. Use a liquid or granular organic fertilizer that is low in nitrogen and high in phosphorus. Fish Bone Meal is excellent.

● If powdery mildew appears on the lower leaves, use organic neem oil or E-Rase.

For more information, watch & learn Lew Whitney's Secrets to Growing and Maintaining Dahliasor How to Plant Dahlias with Sarah Smithor How to Grow & Maintain Dahlias with Steve Hampson



Fuchsias:

● Your fuchsia plants should still be blooming, although probably a bit less than a couple of months ago.

● Keep fertilizing them regularly with a balanced fertilizer or one slightly higher in phosphorus to promote more flowering.

● Proper watering is still critical at this time of the year, especially for those plants in hanging baskets. Water early in the morning or in the evening and check the soil moisture every day. Never let the soil dry out completely.

● During a particularly dry, hot, or windy period, a misting of the foliage is very beneficial. If the soil is already moist from an early morning watering (best), be careful not to soak the soil again, or you will be encouraging root diseases.

● Groom the plant periodically by removing dead flowers and any developing seed pods.

● If your plants look gangly and unsightly, try pruning them lightly. If you keep feeding them heavily, they will put on new growth that you can pinch once or twice, which will then encourage another nice bloom.

● Keep watching for any signs of fuchsia gall mites this month. These nearly invisible pests are a serious threat to fuchsias. Look for any signs of puckered or distorted new growth. If you discover any, pinch it out and dispose of it immediately. Pesticide treatment is usually required.



Groundcovers:

● Cool-season groundcovers are showing heat stress. Keep them irrigated and mulched to help them through these warm months.

● Warm-season groundcovers are growing and blooming. Keep them irrigated as the weather warms.

For more information, watch & learn How to Plant & Grow Groundcover with Dalia Brunner



Orchids (outside grown):

● Keep feeding Cymbidiums with high nitrogen to promote growth.

● Be sure to keep them well-watered in the warm summer months.

For more information, watch & learn How to Divide and Repot Cymbidium Orchids with Steve Hampsonand Best Two Orchids for Beginners with Steve Hampsonand How to Care for and Maintain Phalaenopsis Orchids with Steve Hampson and How to Maintain your Orchid with Chris



Poinsettias:

● Do not pinch or prune the plant.

● Keep fertilizing the plant often with well-balanced food to encourage growth.

● Watch for whiteflies and treat them as needed.

● Protect the plant from high winds to prevent breaking the stems.

● Keep the plants well-watered.



Tropicals & Subtropicals:

● Keep feeding now with a general-purpose organic fertilizer. Most tropicals and subtropicals have a higher need for trace minerals like iron, zinc, manganese, and others. Organic fertilizers generally contain lots of these trace minerals and work especially well in the warm soil temperatures present now.

● These are all growing well, and many, but not all, are in bud or bloom now.

● August is still a good month to plant or transplant palms and cycads.

● This is also a good time to plant these heat-lovers. However, they will need to be kept well-watered to help them get established.

● Watering should be frequent now. Remember, most tropicals and subtropicals need quick soil drainage.

For more information view: How To Grow, Water and Care for Mounted Staghorn Ferns with Sarah Smith



Tuberous Begonias:

● Potted, blooming begonia plants are now available in nurseries.

● Begonias in the garden should be in full bloom in August.

● Most tuberous begonias produce both male (single) and female (double) flowers separately but on the same plant. Double flowers are much showier, and many gardeners pinch off the single (male) flowers as they appear.

● Keep fertilizing regularly. They are heavy feeders, especially in containers. Use a well-balanced fertilizer and periodically mix in an acid fertilizer to keep the soil pH low.

● Keep them well-watered but not soggy, especially during the hot summer months. The surface of the soil should dry slightly between watering.

● Pinch off faded flowers regularly and rotate container-grown plants to ensure even growth.

● If powdery mildew appears, treat it by improving air circulation around the plants. Usually, this will correct the problem. If not, use a fungicide.

For more information, watch & learn: Specialty Begonias with Sarah Smith



Foliage Plants

● Foliage plants in your garden, like grasses and ferns, don’t need too much care, but they will benefit from regular watering through August. If you’ve got grasses that self-seed, start keeping watch now if you don’t want them to spread.



Ferns:

● Continue irrigating most varieties regularly according to the weather. Delicate varieties appreciate an occasional misting of the foliage, especially during warm, dry, or windy periods.

● Continue fertilizing. Use a mild, organic fertilizer on ferns and alternate periodically with an acid type, especially in high pH soil. For most common varieties, try a blood meal alternated every third feeding with cottonseed meal.

● Keep checking for pests. Scale can be a problem and often goes undetected. It is often associated with ants, which need to be controlled as a part of any treatment program. On other ferns, especially staghorn, check carefully for signs of spider mites.



Ornamental Grasses:

● A few kinds of grasses will begin developing seed heads already, although most are still at least a month away. These seed heads can be quite ornamental and are one of the most attractive aspects of these plants.

● Some grasses may want to re-seed either in your garden or even into an adjacent wild area. If this is an issue, prune these seed heads off before the heads are fully ripe to prevent the seeds from dispersing, or look for infertile varieties.



Vegetables & Herbs

● There’s still lots of vegetable gardening to do in August, including planting veggies for your fall harvest. Here are a few gardening tips to keep your garden on track through the month. You can also plant a variety of herbs in the vegetable garden in August.

For more information view: How to Grow Your Second Season Tomatoes This Summer with Suzanne Hetrick



Herbs:

● You can still get a decent harvest of basil if you get it planted right away! Keep pinching the flowers off as they develop. Flowers not only reduce the quantity and size of the foliage but change the flavor of basil as well.

● Many perennial herbs can be planted nearly year-round, even during the heat of August, if they are watered carefully. These include marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, feverfew, lavender, lemon balm, lemongrass, lemon verbena, St. John’s wort, tansy, tarragon, and thyme.

For more information, view: Unique and Unusual Herb Plants with Sarah Smith



Vegetables:

● This is the last chance to get started if you are planting fall tomatoes. If your spring-planted tomatoes are still doing well, leave them in, but they are often about done by now. Rather than trying to nurture the last few fruits off each plant, pull them out and start over. The earlier in the month, the better.

● Some warm-season vegetables can still be planted, but keep them well-watered. Quick-maturing or “early” varieties are good choices to grow in August.

● If growing from transplants, try beans, cucumbers, eggplants, lima beans, squash, and tomatoes. August is your last chance to sow corn from seed if you hope to harvest ears in the fall.

● Beets, carrots, chard, radish, and possibly turnips can be planted just about year-round. All but chard are planted from seed only. Be extra diligent about keeping the small seeds watered in this hot weather.

● Check tomato plants for hornworm caterpillars. Handpick them or use a safe, organic BT spray.

● Keep tomato plants trained with cages, stakes, or obelisks.

● Since most annual vegetables are shallow-rooted and quick growing, feed them regularly with a well-balanced organic fertilizer.

● Keep the vegetable garden well-watered during the hot summer.

● Harvest your crop frequently before they get too large or past their most flavorful period. They will grow and mature quickly in the August heat.



General Gardening Info

● Hints for August garden maintenance mostly revolve around watering, looking for pests, and helping your plants survive the hottest temperatures of the year. While the heat is here, it’s a good time to take in some gardening education. You can visit other gardens, attend seminars online or in person, or read up on different gardening topics. Whatever you choose, stay safe in the heat and enjoy your garden!



Beneficial Insects:

● Giant whitefly infestations may still be noticeable. However, predators and parasites should also be present within the colonies. Check immature whiteflies carefully for signs of parasite activity.

● Flea, grub, and cutworm populations may still be doing damage to your garden now. The best control tip is to use various beneficial nematodes. These microscopic worms are applied by mixing them in a watering can and drenching the area, then watering well.

● In the warm August weather, you may notice spider mites on many plants in your garden, such as citrus, avocado, pine, juniper, ivy, and others. Release beneficial predator mites now for control all summer.



Lawns:

● Remember, cool-season lawns (fescue/marathon, ryegrass, bluegrass) should be mowed about half an inch higher in the warm months than in the cool months. Keep the mower at this higher setting for another month.

● It’s too late to attempt to plant new cool-season lawns; wait for another month or two.

● Continue feeding warm-season lawns into the fall months.

● For the next couple of months, begin reducing the dosage of fertilizer by half to cool-season lawns. Too much fertilizer right now, during the warm weather, will make these cool-season turfs very susceptible to various diseases.

● This is still a good month to plant warm-season lawns (hybrid bermudagrass, St. Augustine, etc.), just keep them well-watered.

● Our biggest tip for planting warm-season grasses is that they do not grow well from seed and are best only installed from sod.

● Crabgrass is at its growing peak over the next month or two, and the clumps are easy to notice in lawns. It will also be setting seed in the next couple of months that will potentially ensure an even larger problem next year. For small patches, water the lawn and then hand pull the clumps—they will slide out fairly easily in the soggy soil. For larger patches, use a selective herbicide with the ingredient “MSMA.” Follow label directions carefully.



Pests & Diseases:

● Periodically rinsing off the foliage of the plants in your garden during the summer will significantly reduce man pest problems, especially mites and whitefly.

For more information, view: How to Identify & Eliminate Common Garden Pests



Records, Catalogs, Books, and Organizations:

● If you don’t already have it, this would be the month to buy a copy of the famous book on Southern California gardening by Bob Smaus. Titled “52 Weeks in The California Garden,” this book begins with the month of September and is a month-by-month dialogue of the activities of a garden in our region.

● This is still a terrific time to attend an educational garden seminar or meeting. Excellent programs are available and most, but not all, are free, require no memberships, and may not even require reservations. There is so much going on right now that you will have to pay close attention to keep track of it all.

● Continue making notes in your journal now, especially about watering, which plants are coming into bloom, and which are going out of bloom. These will be useful to you next year.



Soil Care:

● A thick layer of organic mulch, averaging about two inches, should be maintained on top of the soil year-round. Add additional mulch as needed to maintain this level.

● Applied now, a thick layer of mulch will cool the root systems from hot summer temperatures, reduce irrigations by as much as half this summer, reduce weed growth, and improve both soil life and soil quality.

● We do not suggest the use of very high-analysis fertilizers in a garden, especially phosphorus. Examples of fertilizers to avoid are synthetic versions with formulations like 10-55-10, 10-30-10, etc. We don’t even suggest the popular 15-30-15 formula. These formulations will inhibit or even destroy much of the soil life that is so vital to healthy, sustainable soil.

● We also suggest that you not use soil-applied systemic fertilizer/insecticide combinations (especially popular with roses). These are very damaging to soil life.

● Use insecticides only when necessary, and even then, use the least damaging product available. Many of these products move into the soil and interfere with the invisible soil life.

● The best gardening tip of all is to begin a compost pile or purchase a compost bin. Leaves, clippings, kitchen produce scraps, and many other ingredients can be composted and returned to the garden. Home compost is one of the very best ingredients you can add to your soil. The benefits are huge in the areas of disease suppression, increasing beneficial microorganisms, improving soil structure and texture, nutrient retention, and nematode suppression.

● Be sure that, before you put a plant into the ground, you have considered the soil and are doing all you can to improve it and protect its health.

For more information, watch & learn: How to Prepare Your Soil with Suzanne Hetrick& Gardening 101 Series | What Kind of Soil Should You Use?



Water & Irrigation:

● Periodically rinse off the foliage of the plants in your garden during the summer. Larger shrubs, vines, and trees will need spray from a garden hose. This will cleanse the foliage of dust and some pollution. Pest problems will be reduced, and the plants will “breathe” easier as well.

For more information, view: How to Water Your Plants in the Summer with Suzanne Hetrick

Source: https://www.latimes.com/lifestyle/story/2020-10-08/chinese-garden-huntington-complete



Places to Visit:

● Gardens that look terrific almost any time of the year include ● Sherman Library and Gardens● (Corona del Mar), ● The Fullerton Arboretum● (Fullerton), ● Los Angeles Arboretum● (Arcadia), ● Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens● (San Marino), and ● San Diego Botanical Gardens● (Encinitas).