Now is the time to plant those summer flowers

Years of unceasing drought brought many a perennial flower garden to its knees in the Santa Clarita Valley. But the past few years of bountiful rain makes one’s gardening heart flutter with possibilities.
Years of unceasing drought brought many a perennial flower garden to its knees in the Santa Clarita Valley. But the past few years of bountiful rain makes one’s gardening heart flutter with possibilities.

April showers bring May flowers, or so the saying goes. Years of unceasing drought brought many a perennial flower garden to its knees in the Santa Clarita Valley. But the past few years of bountiful rain makes one’s gardening heart flutter with possibilities. 

However, before going too crazy and risking gardening disappointment, it’s important to remember that the normal climate in the SCV is considered to be a Mediterranean climate, approaching a semi-arid climate, with hot, dry summers. 

With the ever-present threat of drought and constant messages to conserve water, even in “moist” years, how can you balance conservation and a beautiful garden? 

So, that begs the question, what should you plant for beautiful summer blooms?



With all the recent rain it is likely your gardens still have a healthy moist water reserve several inches deep. If you throw a handful of wildflower seeds into your gardens, for example California poppies, you still have a high probability of being rewarded with sprouts in just a few weeks and if nurtured they should bloom within 60 days, if not sooner.  

They will die back fairly quickly with the approaching summer weather but are joyful to experience, even if it only for a few weeks.  

Weather will determine the success of this project. If the mild spring continues you will be glad you took a chance of bringing these beautiful blooms to your garden. If the fierce summer temps make an early appearance, it might all be for nought.  

Seed packets of mixed wildflowers can be found at most garden stores or online.


Classic Perennials 

There are some classic “old-fashioned” perennials you can plant that seem to enjoy the dry, harsh summers that the SCV experiences in a normal year.  

If you baby them through their first summer there is a good chance you will be rewarded with perennial summer blooms for years to come with little maintenance.  

Here is a list of suggested hardy perennials:


Santa Barbara Daisy 

If you want a multitude of showstopping blooms this summer the Santa Barbara Daisy is a vigorous, no-maintenance garden plant with gray-green leaves and profusions of yellow-center flowers.  

The Santa Barbara Daisy blooms profusely from spring through fall and attracts butterflies and beneficial insects. 

The petals start out as white but then fade into pink or purple.


Matilija Poppy 

The perfect addition to a no-maintenance garden is the Matilija Poppy. This not really a shrub, not just a flower grows riotous foliage and is one of the largest and showiest California poppies. Large white petals with a crinkled texture surround yellow centers, giving this poppy a cheerful appearance. Its flowers, which can be as large as seven inches across, are attractive to bees and butterflies. 

Lily of the Nile 

A native to Africa Lily of the Nile is a low-maintenance perennial perfect for warm climates. Blooming in late summer they grow large spherical flower clusters atop long stalks. The flowers are funnel-shaped and typically blue, purple or white. The attractive, thick, dark green leaves are sword-shaped. Lily of the Nile is a great container flower.  

African Iris 

The African Iris is an easy-maintenance plant perfect for planting along a walkway. This this summer bloomer loves hard-to-grow spots, bearing dozens of white flowers from spring through summer. The African Iris has a long season of flowering from spring through fall. The plant thrives in full sunlight and is very drought-tolerant. 

California Fuchsia 

Everyone loves beautiful fuchsias. Fuchsias can bring bold color to a drab landscape. A long bloomer and heat-resistant the California fuchsia offers intense hot-red or orange flowers all summer. California fuchsia flowers are perfect for hummingbird pollination. The flowers provide an important nectar source for many pollinator species, including bees and hummingbirds. This is a hardy wildflower with trumpet-like blooms, different than many hothouse fuchsias, but no less lovely.  

Bird of Paradise 

Bird of Paradise adds a tropical flair to any no-maintenance garden with glowing orange blooms. Plant one, or plant a group, to give your garden a dramatic centerpiece. It is a classic for traditional drought-tolerant gardens.  

Kangaroo Paw 

Another tropical-inspired perennial, the Kangaroo Paw is a slender bloomer that can grow five-foot branches which add height to your summer garden. It produces delicate flowers that are tubular and resemble a cute kangaroo’s paw, from which it gets its name. Flowers from spring to mid-summer.  

Bear’s Breeches 

Bear’s Breeches is a funny name for what is a tall and beautiful flowering perennial. These easy-maintenance plants can shoot up flower spikes in summer up to 4 feet high. Bear’s Breeches is also distinctive for its huge, coarse leaves which adds an interesting “texture” to garden plantings.  

Blue Passionflower 

The Blue Passionflower is a hardy vine that likes full sun. Plant along a trellis, fence, or arbor and watch it climb. Or let it sprawl unsupported as a ground cover. It has large flowers that bloom all summer. Flowers are extremely showy and colorful, including a mix of white, purple, green and burgundy red. The blooms are also sweetly fragrant and attractive to butterflies.  

Indian Paintbrush 

Indian Paintbrush is a native wildflower that can be grown from seed in the home garden. It is perfect for a hummingbird or butterfly garden. Tubular flowers bloom in the summer with bright red, orange and yellow clusters atop tall stems. This plant actually prefers to grow in rocky or sandy soil and is found growing naturally along bluffs, hillsides and other dry places. Indian paintbrush is the larval host plant for several species of butterflies and moths.

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