New month, new(ish) plants – it’s time to continue our series of What to Plant. This month it’s July, it’s high summer, and that means getting in veg and flowers that live for being sun-drenched. Use the links below if you’d like to skip a section, or scroll on to find this month’s flora to plant!
If you’re working on an allotment, why not check out our July Allotment Jobs post from last year?
A lot of the flowers this month are ones you might have seen already if you’ve been out on wooded or meadow walks. Or if you’ve sneaked a peek into your neighbours’ gardens, but we won’t judge. Foxgloves, forget-me-nots, delphiniums and more are on the planting cards, so we’ve pulled together their planting instructions to help your late summer and early autumn be one full of blooms.
Foxgloves, also known as digitalis, are ideal for attracting pollinators with their colourful blooms and high-reaching stems. When they’re in bloom expect to see bees crawling right up inside the funnel-shaped flowers – great if you’re trying to snap a busy bee photo. Take care though – they’re pretty toxic, so keep the kids clear.
Plant them anywhere from full sun to full shade, depending on your individual variety’s requirements, in moist and well-drained soil. You might not get flowers in year one planting this late in the year, but if that’s the case year two will blow your socks off. And plant more in the second year to make year three a garden foxglove fiesta.
Pretty perennials in the buttercup family, delphiniums come in a variety of shades of blue, pink, purple and white. Their flowers spike up year after year, tall like foxgloves with pastel-green leaves to complement the flower colours. It’s another one where the prettiness comes with a price – it’ll cause discomfort if ingested and the sap can irritate the skin.
They can grow quite vigorously, so if you’re planting more than one place them one to three feet apart to give them space to flourish. Add lots of compost to keep their soil fertile, keep it moist, and put them in full sun or part shade. In autumn, when the foliage dies down, cut them right back to the ground.
While these can be planted at this time of year, they likely won’t flower until next April – but a lot of gardening is about planning ahead, so there’s nothing new there! Famously in the white-blue spectrum, forget-me-nots are great for cooler colours to supplement your usual spring blooms. The leaves will stay throughout the year though.
There are a couple of different varieties, split between pathside clumps and pondside perennials. If you’ve got a water variety, plant it as close as you can to a pond or submerged in shallow water. If it’s a flowerbed variety, sprinkle the seeds and cover with compost, keeping them warm as the year progresses. With any luck flowers will appear in year two.
Also called erysimum, wallflowers are spring-flowering, sweet-scented semi-evergreens that are nice and low-maintenance, great for rock gardens and flowerbeds. They like full sun and well-drained soil, so plant this year for a fiery addition to your spring collection next year.
July’s the beginning of bountiful harvests, but that’s not what we’re here for. Pick the veg that looks ready to go, then replace it with these seeds and sprouts to prepare for an awesome autumn of vegetables.
Sow these in well-cultivated, fertile soil, or start them off in pots before planting out in full sun when they’ve grown a bit. Whichever method you choose, place the seeds 2.5cm deep and keep them 5cm apart, in rows between 30-60cm apart. Keep mice away from the seeds – they love a tasty pea!
Plant your spring cabbages (that’s when they’ll be ready) 30-40cm apart if you’ve got plenty of space to spare in your main vegetable patch. Or start them a little closer in a seed bed if you’re prepared to move them to the patch after a couple of months have passed and more space has opened up post-harvest.
If you’ve been growing winter cabbages, now’s the time to transplant and move them to their final growing positions.
A hardy perennial herb with a strong aroma and flavour, or it’s a Florence variety with a swollen bulb that can be used as a vegetable. The two types have very different growing instructions, so make sure you know which one you’ve got before you start growing.
If it’s the herby type, plant it where you’re going to keep it forever because it doesn’t cope well with being moved from its cosy soil. Either that or plant it in a pot, which you can move to your heart’s content. Put it somewhere sunny in well-draining soil and look forward to a harvest in 3-4 months.
If it’s the Florence variety, they’re similar in that they don’t like being disturbed once they’ve started growing so make your planting choices wisely. The seeds should go into well-prepared soil that’s nice and warm, and put them in rows barely under the soil surface and 30cm apart. Keep them moist, and harvest after 3-4 months. It’s the bulbs you’re after, though the leaves and seeds can be used in cooking too.
We covered this one last month, and July is your last chance to get beetroot in the ground before it’ll be too cold when it comes to harvest them. If you don’t want to follow the link, plant three seeds at a time 10cm apart and 2.5cm deep in rows 30cm apart.