Plant Now: Penstemons, Calla lilies, Alstroemerias

Plant NowSummer showed up yesterday with a humid and heated hello. It had me gasping for water, so imagine how the plants must have been feeling. There are many heat lovers that can still be planted this week, though, including penstemons, calla lilies and alstroemerias.

Penstemons are herbaceous perennials that flower from late spring through summer. Although they’re not commonly grown as cut flowers, they do have a good vase life. Buy seedlings or fully grown plants at this stage and position in full sun (though they don’t mind light shade). Water well while establishing and feed twice a year, once in spring and again in midsummer or early autumn.

Calla lilies
Calla lilyIf you didn’t get around to planting your calla lily tubers back in October, don’t panic. Flowering plants are available in garden centres now. These gorgeous blooms (botanical name zantedeschia) grow well in containers or in the garden, but if transplanting in the ground, keep plants at the same level as the soil’s surface (ie, plant them no deeper than they were in the pot). Callas like a moist, free-draining soil in sun but will benefit from a little shade from the midday sun in hot areas. Water regularly and mulch to retain soil moisture.

AlstroemeriaAlstroemerias are popular because of their long flowering season, their long vase life (up to 14 days) and their extensive range of colours. They come in pastel shades to vibrant hues, in dwarf or regular size. Pick the tall-flowering perennials if you plan to pick them for the vase and plant in a spot that gets at least half a day’s sun.

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