The height of summer isn’t generally a great time for planting, but there is still a fair amount we can plant in July.
July is a good time for planting flowers like lantana and nasturtiums, vegetables such as squash, potatoes, and kale, and herbs like dill and rosemary. You can also plant chives, garlic, and chilies in pots. However, July is not a great month for planting fruits, trees, and shrubs.
Join us to discover exactly what we can plant in July, and also discover what jobs we can do in the yard in this hot summer month…
Overall is July a Good Month For Planting?
July isn’t known as a planting season. After all, isn’t summer the time when you’re meant to kick back and enjoy the fruits of your labor?
Rather than all that digging and weeding and tilling and planting, you can sit on the porch with a cold drink, with the smell of your home-grown veg grilling on the BBQ. However, before you hang up your trowel, there are still a few things that you can plant in July.
If you want an early fall harvest, plant quick-growing veg such as some squashes in July. You can also plant a few flower seeds into the warm soil for a colorful, late summer display. However, when it comes to July planting, you really have to know and understand your local climate.
This is because while July is warm (and actually too hot for some plants), gardeners are now on the countdown to the first fall frost. Some plants are (literally) cool with this, while others won’t survive a cold spell. Avoid any pitfalls by researching your region’s plant hardiness zone.
In the US, different regions are divided into plant hardiness zones based on their climate, typical temperatures, and frost calendars. July gardening is basically a case of knowing when that first frost is likely to be, then counting backward to work out when’s the safest time to plant. If you live in one of the warmer regions, you also need to make sure that it’s not too warm for some varieties.
Find out which hardiness zone your region falls into by typing your zip code into the US plant hardiness zone map. Once you know this, you’ll be able to carry out research into individual plants more easily, as most gardening books, websites, and blogs use this standardized zoning system.
What Flowers Can I Plant in July?
Planting heat-tolerant flowers in July extends your flowering season, and brings gorgeous color into your yard as you go into the fall. We love this “second spring”, and because the soil is warm and loose, it’s easy to sow seeds directly into the ground. These flowers are fine in hot weather and are pretty drought-tolerant:
- Lantana. These are super-robust flowers that bring beautiful splashes of color to your late-summer beds. They can even last into the winter in warmer zones
- Nasturtiums. Vibrant nasturtiums are good companion plants for your vegetables, deterring some bugs
- Zinnias. Fast-growing zinnias are perfect for later planting
- Cone flowers. Another speedy variety
- Marigolds. Brightly colored blooms that love the sun
What Fruits Can Be Planted July?
It’s a bit late for fruit planting in most zones now, but hopefully, you’re feasting on an abundance of home-grown strawberries that you planted in the spring. If you’re super-organized, some gardeners recommend getting your strawberry beds in order ready for next year…
The main fruit gardening job in July is to keep your fruit trees, shrubs, and plants well watered. We’re getting towards harvest time for late-summer fruit, so keep any eye on those precious plants for any sign of disease, bugs, or drought.
What Veggies Can I Plant in July?
Think ahead to those cozy fall dinners (or barbecues, if you live in a warmer climate). Wouldn’t it be great to dine on freshly picked produce? Planting veg in July means you should have a great fall harvest. We try to plant a second crop at this time of year, to extend the growing season as far as we can.
As you know, some plants do better than others at this time of year. If you live in a climate that sees early frosts, you may already be too late for slow-growing veg like potatoes. However, with a bit of planning, you should be able to plant a few fast-growing veggies like lettuce at the very least.
These are a few vegetables that thrive when planted in July (just make sure you water them…):
- Potatoes. We’ve already mentioned that potatoes grow slowly, so check the date of your likely early frost and count backwards. In quite a few regions, July is the last potato-growing month
- Cucumbers. Choose a fast-growing summer variety
- Broccoli. This should grow well for a fall crop, even in zone 3
- Swiss chard. This heat-tolerant plant can be planted in the summer. Bright Lights is a good variety to plant in July
- Squash. Choose quick-growing varieties for an early-fall crop
- Kale. This grows pretty quickly, so can be planted 6-8 weeks before the first frost
- Carrots. Keep sowing carrot seeds every two to three weeks in the summer for a constant crop
- Spinach. This super-tough plant really isn’t fussy about the seasons (just check the variety to make sure)
Can I Plant Shrubs & Trees in July?
July isn’t the best time to plant shrubs and trees in your yard. Some evergreen varieties may be OK; however, most trees do best if they are planted when they’re dormant. As fall is just around the corner, wait a few more weeks before planting most varieties of trees and shrubs.
This means that not only will the plant be dormant, but the soil will be at its best for the root system to get established. The dirt is warm and loose, and the first frosts haven’t started to harden the ground yet.
Can I Plant Herbs in The Height of Summer?
You can plant herbs at any time of year, because many of us choose to have our herb gardens indoors for culinary convenience. In some climates, it might actually be too hot outdoors for your herbs (except for sun lovers like cilantro and basil). Here are a few must-have herbs for your collection:
- Rosemary. A lovely woody plant with a rich aroma
- Parsley. Used for some many dishes
- Thyme. Get this growing ready for Thanksgiving and holiday feasts
- Sage. See above!
- Basil. Essential in mediterranean cooking
- Oregano. Again, see above. Imagine a pizza without the scent of oregano
- Cilantro. Great in many Asian cuisines
- Mint. Lovely in sweet and savory dishes, and even in drinks. Always plants this rather invasive herb into a pot
- Dill. A distinctive flavor that works well with fish dishes
What Can I Plant in Pots in July?
There are plenty of things that you can plant into pots in July. We’ve just mentioned herb gardens, and you can start one of these off in your kitchen at any time of year.
You can also plant other everyday ingredients indoors including chives, garlic, and chilies. Never grown garlic before? Take a look at this film about growing garlic successfully.
What else thrives in pots in the summer?
- Summer-loving flowers such as marigolds and zinnias
- Fall-flowering bulbs like the autumn crocus
- Some vegetables are fine in deep pots, including carrots, spinach, and kale
Can You Plant Seeds & Bulbs in July?
Yes, you can plant seeds in July. Because the soil temperature is so much warmer and the soil is unlikely to be thick and waterlogged, you can usually sow directly into the ground in the summer. Just keep the area watered to give the seeds a better chance, and check the growing time on the seed packets. This is so you can work out whether there’s time for them to grow before the first frosts of fall occur.
July isn’t a good time to plant bulbs: it’s too late for summer-flowering bulbs, and too early for next year’s spring blooms. You can try an autumn crocus for a lovely fall surprise, but otherwise, hang fire for a few weeks, then you’ll be able to plant all those beautiful crocuses, daffodils, and tulips ready for next season.
Conclusion: What Jobs Can I Do in The Garden in July?
So, there are actually plenty of planting jobs you can do in July, and we hope you’re able to extend your growing and flowering season. It certainly makes spending the summer out in the yard even more pleasurable! We also hope that you’re dining well on your summertime harvest, enjoying grilled zucchini, eggplant, and peppers on the BBQ, followed by delicious berries.
Apart from planting out and eating, what else can you do in the garden in July? A lot of it is everyday maintenance work, making sure that everything has enough water, and that weeds and bugs are kept at bay. You can also:
- Look after your lawn in the summer, as it’s more likely to develop dry and bald patches
- Create a lovely, shaded spot using a gazebo
- If you’re going on vacation, plan how your garden will be watered while you’re away
- The combination of sun and watering is perfect for weeds, so keep on top of those
- Keep the BBQ and patio furniture clean and free from debris to prevent bugs, rodents, and mold developing. This is especially important if you plan to cook and eat outdoors a lot this summer
- If you have kids, be prepared to lose half your yard to paddling pools, water slides, and so on…
Want to know what you can plant in August? Read the next article in our planting calendar…
Homeowner and property investor Larry James founded Take a Yard in 2020 to bring you the very best outdoor living content, based on his years of experience managing outside spaces. Read more >