Southwest: 5 Shrubs That Look Great in August (Zone: 6-10)

Sure, you can garden nearly year-round, but even here things slow down as the deep heat of August cranks up. Good news is that some shrubs really hit their zenith with lush growth, fabulous flowers, or pretty fruits this month. (And, with fall planting just around the corner, now’s the time to take stock of the garden and with an eye toward spots that need a bit of late summer interest.)

To get you started we asked Monrovia craftsman Jim Rupe (who knows the region from Tucson to Los Angeles!) to give us his picks for 5 shrubs that look great in August in the Southwest and in California. Here’s what he told us!

(Plant overlap zones so you might want to check out these posts for more ideas:

Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Northwest)

Scarlet Torch™ Bottlebrush

Paired with anything from roses to grasses to succulents, this waterwise shrub’s fanciful flowers span the seasons (but they really look great in August!) Give them plenty of space for showing off. Up to 9 ft. tall and 12 ft. wide. Zone: 8 – 11

Santa Barbara Mexican Bush Sage

A more compact selection of this popular sage with the same rich purple flowers and long-blooming nature. Attracts hummingbirds. Really lovely paired with fall-blooming grasses. Up to 3 ft. tall and wide. Zone: 9 – 11

Compact Spicy Jatropha

Rich, rose-red flowers appear at the branch tips of this easy-care, tropical evergreen shrub nearly year-round in mild climates. Great for desert areas with extra water. Well suited to containers, indoors or out. Up to 6 ft. tall and 5 ft. wide. Zone: 10 – 11

Yellow Bird Of Paradise

Let’s see, attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, deer-resistant, easy-care, heat-loving, water-wise, and smothered in large yellow flowers with striking long red stamens. Wonderful in groups or as a screen. Up to 6 ft. tall and wide. Zone: 8 – 11

Royal Cape® Plumbago

Huge clusters of vivid deep-blue flowers cover this sprawling, water-wise, vine-like shrub most of the year. Impressive statement when massed in a spot where you want loads of color without a lot of fussy upkeep. Up to 5 ft. tall and 8 ft. wide. Zone: 9 – 11

Tips to Keep the Garden Looking Happy

  • Keep watering. Especially all those shrubs and perennials which need a deep soaking of about 1-inch of water each and every week.
  • Keep weeding. Yes, you’re over it at this point, but yank them before they go to seed. Not doing so will only buy you problems next spring!
  • Keep dead heading. Snip spent flowers on annuals, roses, and perennials now and many will reward you with more blooms well into fall.
  • Keep mulching. Because it helps with both numbers one and and two on this list, and keeps the garden looking clean and fresh even as the show begins to wind down.

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