The main chore in July for gardeners is keeping everything watered. This is when the thick layer of mulch over any bare soil will help out, prolonging the time between watering. Always water plants deeply after letting the soil dry out except with ferns and other moisture-loving plants. Plants that are not yet established, either because you have just purchased and planted them or because you have divided or moved them around in the garden will need to be watered regularly, even if they are drought tolerant plants. They need supplemental water until their roots become established in the native soil. When they start showing signs of healthy growth, watering can be tapered off to deep, infrequent soakings.
If you must add something to your landscape this month, you can still put in tropical plants that like the heat as long as they are kept moist.
Now is the time to fertilize camellias and azaleas. They should be finished blooming and are starting their growth cycles and forming buds for next season’s flowers. Be sure to use an acid type fertilizer and follow the directions carefully.
This is a good time to sit back and enjoy the garden, but if you must get your hands dirty, it is best to work in the shady areas of the garden. These perennials and shrubs are not under as much stress as those exposed to full sun all day. It is also a good time to evaluate the amount of shade your garden has available and consider if it would be better to add some in the form of overhead structures or shade trees that thrive on little supplemental water once established. Dappled or partial shade is a good ally in creating yards that reduce the amount of water needed during the summer months. When plant labels call for full sun that means at least six hours of sun for them to grow and bloom. Even full sun plants can still handle some shade during the long summer days and they will most likely appreciate a little relief from the heat as much as you do!