August Garden Tips

Watering chores are what will eat up your garden time this month. Remember the basics: Water in the early morning. Water deeply and occasionally rather than shallow and often.
Soak containers well. If you can't keep up or they're wilting anyway, move them to a shadier spot. Plants in containers that are root bound will need more water, more often because there is very little soil to hold the moisture. Give your compost water every once in a while and consider placing in shade to help contain moisture.

Remove suckers from Fruit trees

Plant suckers on treeThe young growth steals energy and nutrition from the rest of the plant and if you let it go to long you may have a branch with fruit from the original tree before it was grafted. Usually this is not the best fruit.

Agapanthus Lily of Nile

Agapanthus with blue flowersClean up the dead flower stocks cut or pull stock from the bottom of the stock. Often the leaves will turn brown on the fold of the leaf. This is normal and from the heat. This is a very common plant because it is so easy to grow, durable, has beautiful flowers and uses less water than you would think. It comes with blue, dark blue and white flowers. There are also wonderful dwarf varieties available with the same benefits.

Agapanthus 'Tinker bell'

striped green and yellow marginated agapanthus 'tinkerbell'This beautiful plant has the same blooms as it cousins but is usually not as prolific of a bloomer, grows slower and is a bit more delicate. It is used primarily for its variegated leaf and blue flowers. Garden View nursery usually has this beautiful plant in stock.

Fortnight Lily (Morea iridioides)

fortnight lily and closeup of flowersThese iris-like plants with iris like flowers are very durable and can live with very little water but will bloom better with moderate water. This plant usually blooms spring through fall. They usually bloom at two week intervals and each flower lasting only a day. Don’t cut flower stems until you are sure they are not producing flowers anymore. When the plant gets to large it can be dug up and split and replanted. Garden View crews have had good results splitting and transplanting this plant year round.


orange and red daylily flowerRemove stems of spent Daylilies. They will go brown after flowering. However, on some varieties, the stems stay green and continue to grow; don't try to yank these off. Once they have finished flowering, they form plantlets. These plantlets form short roots, that can be replanted by cutting off the stems. Daylillies prefer regular water but are considered drought tolerant by many horticulturist. What that really means is that they will survive a drought or lack of water but will become very unattractive and the top part of the plant will die down to the ground but usually recover with water and fertilizer.


fuchsias with pink flowers growing over fenceMost fuchsias look bloomed out and spent by August. Pinch the tips for a couple weeks, cut back slightly, and they will produce another show of flowers until winter. Major pruning should be done before spring growth begins because new flowers appear on new wood.
This plant can be magnificent and worth the effort but Garden View crews have found that this is a delicate plant that often does not often survive for long periods of time . They need ample moisture but not too much, they get Fuchsia gall mites witch are only visible under magnification. Fuchsia should be protected from too hot of sun and from frost. To get the most bloom from these beautiful plants they should be feed a balanced fertilizer monthly during bloom period.

Tall Bearded Irises

bearded iris plant with white and purple flowersneed dividing about every three years and August through September (when the rhizomes are dormant) is the time to divide. This is also the time to buy and plant bearded irises. Iris rhizomes begin arriving in nurseries in August. Irises are one of the best perennials for Southern California, lovely to look at, easy to grow, and drought resistant.
Divide bearded irises by digging up old clumps and cut splitting with a knife. Throw away any woody material. Trim the leaves to about half a foot and replant the the clumps 1-2 feet apart.

Pinch, prune, and cut back hydrangea blooms

blue pink and purple hydrangea shrubbut not too much... You'll want to leave at least three buds per stem for next year.

Cut back marguerites (left)

yellow marguerite bloomsabout 1/3 to encourage new fall blooms. Cut back long and spent annuals/perennials by at least one third.

Pinch back impatiens (right) and pelargoniums (left) which are often sold as geraniums

different colored geraniums impatiens and pelargoniumspink pelargonium

Trim ornamental hedges lightly

blue wisteria closeupPull suckers off wisteria vines (right).

Choose Crape Myrtles (Lagerstroemia)

pink crape myrtle treeThis is a good time to shop for crape myrtles. Most varieties are into their bloom period and you will be able to select the perfect color for your particular landscaping needs. Garden View nursery has a very large selection of Crepe myrtles from small to very large specimens.
Crape Myrtles should be pruned in late winter because the blooms are from new growth. Most crape myrtles can bloom a second time by cutting off any green seed pods that develop after the first flowers fade. If your Crape Myrtle is not blooming it can be for many reasons. It could have been pruned at the wrong time. It may not have had vigorous new growth due to drought stress or it could have been over watered or suckers are sucking all the energy and or powdery mildew has been allowed to flourish on the plant.

Do not allow sucker growth

bad suckers growing on plantwhite powdery mildew on plantIt steals energy from the tree and contributes to
powdery mildew (right).

Cut back lavender

purple lavender plantonce it has finished flowering. Cut back 1/3 to 1/2 of the plant. Lavenders can die from too much water and/or poor draining soil during the hot months. If the plant gets too woody you are probably better off removing it and planting a new plant.

Pinch back tomato plants

green and red tomatos on vinefor a higher yield.


yellow santolina fieldshear off spent flowers. These plants should be cut back yearly before spring not now. This very low water needing plant that prefers well drained soil. It is a good ground cover, bank cover and edging for walks or borders. If the plant gets too large and woody you are better off replacing it.

Rockrose (Cistus)

pink cistus flowerLightly pinch or cut out old stems or give light overall pruning in summer after bloom. This low water needing plant is good in fire-hazard areas. If they are to be watered they need well draining soil. These plants resent hard pruning if the plant gets too woody it is probably best to replace it.


Extra watering and hot weather make August a red-letter month for weeds. Expect weeds to germinate and drop their seeds faster; remove them as soon as they pop up.

Get rid of weeds before they flower and go to seed

and this will save you years of weeding in the long run. Weeds can rob your garden of water and nutrients while harboring insects and some diseases. Mark is famous for telling his Garden View employees at the nursery if he sees a weed in bloom that it just cost us a hundred dollars to remove all of the weeds' “babies” because one weed may have thousands of seeds and put that in an irrigated environment and they almost all will sprout.

If you have Crabgrass

crabgrass weed growing on grassIf crabgrass is growing in your lawn it is probably an indication that you are watering too often. The root system is only about a ¼ to ½ inch deep , so if the soil is allowed to dry a little on top than crabgrass can’t survive.
Crabgrass is a summer annual weed that germinates when soil temperatures are warm. It begins flowering and setting seed in July and dies with the first frost of fall. Crabgrass has tremendous survival reproductive capabilities and is very common in many Southern California lawns. It can be chemically removed with selective chemicals that don’t kill the desirable grass but try to use environmental controls such as deep infrequent watering of your lawn.


pests on plantKeep an eye out for pests and disease, especially aphids and spider mites that love warm weather. Treat promptly, before they get a real foothold in the garden. Garden View Crews reduce the need for using lots of chemicals by “nipping the problem in the bud” by eliminating the pests before they have a chance to multiply.
slug on leafKeep up the battle against caterpillars and slugs. Slugs will tend to be more abundant now due to extra watering; keep an eye on mulched areas (a favorite slug hiding place) and near tender greens. At first notice of aphid's hose-blast them off of leaves or spray them with an insecticidal soap.

Care for Hybrid Bermuda

To prevent summer thatch buildup, low mowing now will help keep your lawn green longer into the fall. Mow hybrid Bermudas about ½ inch tall. Continue to feed and deep-water regularly.

Feed Flowers, Lawns, Shrubs, and Trees

Apply a final feeding of acid food or cottonseed meal to azaleas and camellias this month. Feed summer annuals, begonias, and vegetables now using a high nitrogen fertilizer. Continue to feed chrysanthemums until buds show color. If you haven’t done so this summer, feed container plants with a complete fertilizer. And don’t forget to nourish rapidly growing warm season grasses; Adalayd, Dichondra, St. Augustine, and Zoysia.

Harvest Summer Produce

To keep prolific squash and cucumber plants producing, pick daily, Harvest tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants regularly, and don’t forget to tie up fruit-laden branches to keep them from breaking. Water and feed plants to keep them producing as long as warm weather continues.


Organic mulches break down quickly in hot weather, but this is when plants need them the most. Mulches insulate soil against high temperatures, and they conserve water. If they’re thinning, reapply new layers of compost, ground bark, mushroom compost or other organic matter.

Plant Annual Flowers

In 90 to 100 degree country, your best planting bets this month are celosia, cosmos, dwarf, dahlias, gloriosa daisies, Madagascar periwinkle, petunias, portulaca, sweet alyssum, and verbena. Coastal gardeners can also plant impatiens, lobelia, and semperflorens begonias now.

Plant new Lawns, Patch old ones

It’s a good tome to repair bare spots in any warm-season lawn. It’s also a good time to start new warm-season lawns from stolons. Plugs, or flats. Start Dichondra from flats or seeds. Water all newly planted areas frequently until the plants are well established. Delay planting cool-season grasses until at least October.

Start Vegetables

If you live near the coast, you can get a jump on your fall and winter vegetables garden by planting now. Sow cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, parsley, radishes, Swiss chard, and turnips. Anywhere in Southern California, if you hurry there’s still time to plant first-chance seedlings of tomatoes, peppers, and summer squash.

Start Winter Flower Seeds

Sow seeds of Calendulas, Iceland poppies, Nemesia, pansies, stock, sweet alyssum, and violas in flats now. They’ll be ready to go into the garden in four to eight weeks, Keep flats evenly moist.


This is your single biggest garden responsibility this month. Plants in containers may need water once or twice a day during hip spells. Established plants in the ground need regular deep soakings. In addition to regular irrigation, shade plants appreciate an occasional cooling mist or splash from the hose on hottest summer days.