Enliven your landscape
May is a great time to think about adding color to your landscape that can stand our summer heat and humidity. Some good annuals for summer include angelonia, narrow-leaf zinnia, vinca, marigolds, ornamental peppers, torenia and gaillardia. Consider planting some large containers that you can move around where color is needed. They are easier to water and can use less water than a planting bed in the landscape.
Shape up chrysanthemums
Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum spp.) do well in our summer heat, but they become leggy if not properly pruned. Small flowered varieties should be pinched when they are 6 to 8 inches high. Unless the growing tips are pinched, plants may develop tall, weak stems that produce few flowers. After you pinch, new branches will develop along the stems. Pinch all shoots every two weeks until June 10 for early varieties and July for later varieties. Flowers will not form if you continue to pinch any later than this.
Lilyturf a hearty choice
Lilyturf (Liriope spp.) is a good drought-tolerant edging plant or ground cover. It has dark green foliage and contrasting purple flowers. A variegated variety is available called Aztec grass. Liriope forms dense clumps that typically reach 7 to 12 inches in height, with the "Evergreen giant" variety even taller. When you plant lilyturf, be sure that the crown is slightly above the soil and be careful that you keep mulch at least 2 to 3 inches away from the base of the plant. Crown rot can be a problem if it is planted too deeply or the mulch creeps in around the plant and keeps the crown too moist.
Theresa Badurek, urban horticulture extension agent, UF/IFAS Pinellas County Extension Service. For additional landscape and garden information, visit pinellascountyextension.org. For regular tips and information about what's growing in Pinellas, go to facebook.com/growpinellas.