5 tough pot plants for a hot summer

Summer PotsYep, it’s been a sizzler so far. So, which plants are good choices to grow in pots through a hot summer? Here are five plants that can take the heat — a native, a succulent, a grass, a flowering ornamental and a fruit. And there are heaps more where they came from!

    1. Fan flower (Scaevola spp.)
      These are trailing and mounding plants with masses of purple, white, blue or mauve flowers in late winter to spring and again in summer and autumn. Use them in planters or hanging baskets so they can drape attractively down the sides of the container. Take small tip cuttings during the growing season to replace old plants when they look tired.
    2. Ghost plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense)
      Succulents seem an obvious container choice for a hot spot, but not all succulents like full sun. Ghost plants are among the toughest, and their rosette forms look great in just about any container. Also great in pots are fire sticks (Euphorbia tirucalli), which transform to orange-red in winter, Agave attenuata, with its elegant swirled leaves, and intensely coloured blue chalk sticks (Senecio mandraliscae). In winter, protect from frost, and reduce watering.
    3. Carex ‘Feather Falls’
      This plant features delicate linear leaves that move in the wind. Its variegated foliage, growing to about 30cm tall and 50cm wide, is topped by delicate seed feathers in spring. It thrives in small to medium containers and baskets, tolerating heat, frost and coastal positions.
    4. Frangipani (Plumeria spp.)
      These fragrant beauties are great in pots. Deciduous Plumeria rubra has flowers in red, yellow and pink. Try planting small cuttings of different colours in one pot. White-flowered P. obtuse is evergreen in the tropics and subtropics. Protect from frost, and in marginal areas south of Sydney and Perth, position your plants in front of a north-facing wall.
    5. Cumquat (Citrus japonica)
      This small citrus grows to about 1.8m tall, making it a perfect pot dweller, and it can live for years. The secret is to remove some potting mix with a bulb planter each year and replace it with fresh mix. ‘Meiwa’ is a dwarf form and ‘Sun Stripe’ has the added attraction of variegated foliage and fruit.

For information about lots more plants that thrive in the heat, including super-tough salvias, pick up a copy of the February issue, on sale now.