July's Southern California Gardening Tips

July is when things really begin to heat up and watering the right way is critical. A garden needs one inch of water (rain if you can get it) a week to stay healthy and happy. Watering in the early morning is best. Don’t water once the sun is high and really hot--you will burn the leaves of delicate plants. Watering in the evening can leave too much moisture, attracting disease. If you have planted natives, deep watering will keep them happy and you will find that the older the plants, the less water they require. New plantings, even Natives, require regular watering until well established--which can take up to 2-3 years. In the hotter, desert regions, don’t be fooled by wilting leaves. Leaves wilt to form a shaded area to protect the roots of the plant. Check to see if the ground is dry by digging down a couple of inches, before watering. Shallow rooted plants need more watering, more often. Provide shade for new plantings and some wind protection, too, and your plants will be much stronger next season.

Lawn Care
Cut lawns high 2 to 3 inches for fescue/bluegrass lawns and cut zoysia and bermuda grass lawns at 3/4 - 1. Lawns will need at least and inch of water a week, more in the hotter areas. Water long and deep in the mornings, at least an hour per spot, to prevent disease and to encourage root development. Remember to turn off your mower and let it cool down, before adding gasoline into the fuel tank. Feed your lawn as the more you water, the more you leach the soil.

Fruits & Vegetables
Depending on the heat in your area, you can now plant lettuce, radish, carrots, beets, spinach and kale for a fall harvest. You can continue to plant beans, squash, melons and sweet corn throughout the summer. Stake your tomatoes.

Patio Plants
Container plants really have to be watched in summer. Some will need watering everyday, others might require twice a day. Don’t forget to pinch back for longer blooming and feed. If you have fountains and ponds, make sure the water is not stagnant, attracting mosquitoes and other unwanted insects.


Plants for Sun:

  • Artemesis
  • Calandrinia
  • Callibrochoa
  • Coleus
  • Gaura
  • Gerbera
  • Geranium
  • Ipomea
  • Kangaroo Paw
  • Knautia
  • Phygelius
  • Salpiglossis

Plants for Shade:

  • Begonia
  • Coleus
  • Fuchsia
  • Impatien
  • Iresine
  • Polka-Dot Plant
  • Plectranthus