One of the questions we get asked most often at the Parke Company is “What are some plants and shrubs that will survive hot Nashville summers?” If you’ve lived in Nashville for more than a couple of years, you have experienced your share of summer scorchers. It’s not uncommon for new home gardeners to grow plants that are ill-suited to our mercurial climate. There’s nothing more discouraging than a happy little shrub that shrivels into dust in mid-July.
Fortunately, there are many plants that have evolved to thrive under the scorching Nashville sun. Where others wilt away, these plants can’t have enough heat and sunshine. If you choose wisely, you’ll have vigorous plant growth throughout the hottest months. Of course, rules about watering and maintenance still apply, but you won’t have to fight to keep these plants alive. Here are some of the Parke Company’s favorite summer-hardy plants and shrubs for Nashville gardens.
‘Kaleidoscope” Abelia. This little shrub is appropriately named. Technically an evergreen, the variegated leaves on this Abelia go through a brilliant transition throughout the seasons, showing off in dramatic yellows, reds, greens and oranges. Easy to maintain with only moderate water needs, this shrub is pleased as punch showing off its foliage, even during the hottest days of the year.
Thornless Blackberries. If you’re the kind of person who demands beauty and sustenance from your garden, blackberries are a great choice. Thornless varieties tolerate heat well, exhibit beautiful flowers, attract pollinators, and provide a sweet, rich bounty. Not only that, most thornless blackberries are perennial. They’ll die back when the frost hits, then spring back into action after the last frost.
Boxwoods. One of the more heat-tolerant decorative shrub varieties, boxwoods are as tough as it gets when it comes to summer climes. Boxwoods stand their ground, even when more delicate plants throw in the towel. Dense foliage stands its ground in all seasons, making these shrubs a perfect choice for versatile climates like Nashville’s.
Camellias. These flowering shrubs are hardy members of your hedging, decoration and privacy planting force. Put these shrubs wherever you need a strong presence, regardless of weather. After soaking up the sun all summer long, camellias burst into radiant flowering display in the fall.
Lavender. Lavender is a lovely herb that can grow into shrub-like stature. Lavender is beautiful enough on its own to warrant a space in your garden, but its benefits hardly stop there. Lavender has culinary and medicinal applications. It is often used as a scent or flavoring agent in soaps, scrubs and sprays. It attracts beneficial pollinators and is even said to reduce the prevalence of mosquitoes.
The Parke Company has a million ideas for drought-hardy plants to include in your Nashville garden. With a little planning, you will be able to outfit your yard and garden with living landscaping elements that don’t require a lot of upkeep, but will perform admirably in the hottest heat and coldest chills the American South has to offer. It’s going to be another scorcher this summer. The Parke Company can make sure you and your garden are ready.