Jupiter’s Beard: Long-Blooming Flowers That Come Back Every Year

Jupiter’s Beard: Long-Blooming Flowers That Come Back Every Year

Would you like pretty flowers that bloom all summer, return every year AND are drought tolerant?

Yes, pleassssse!

I can’t wait to introduce you to Jupiter’s Beard (aka, Red Valerian). It’s official botanical name is Centranthus ruber.

If you want long-lasting color, I think it’s one of the best flowers for Colorado, Utah and similar western states. It’s one of my favorites.
Close up of Jupiters Beard 'Red Valerian'
Centranthus ruber 'Red Valerian' (aka, Jupiters Beard) in a western garden

Here are just a few reasons to add Jupiter’s Beard to your garden

This flower plant is:

  • Easy to grow
  • Colorful and showy
  • Drought tolerant (this means you don’t have to water it much once its roots are established in your garden — which is awesome in our semi-arid climate)
  • Tolerant of hail (it bounces back quickly from light hailstorms)
  • Resistant to nibbling deer and rabbits (they tend to skip it for munching)

And it’s a MAGNET for butterflies, bees and moths.

Seriously, it’s like Grand Central Station for pollinators.

I constantly find myself heading back into my house to get my camera because there’s a new butterfly dancing across its flowers.

“Oh, hey there, Swallowtail butterfly!”
If you want a flower that attracts butterflies, plant Red Valerian (aka, Jupiter's Beard). Here it is with a Swallowtail butterfly.

The Monarch butterfly in the photo below visited my Jupiter’s Beard plant in October.

(Yep, flowers and butterflies well into October!!)
A monarch butterfly on a flower of Jupiters Beard 'Pink Valerian'

And its color goes on, and on, and on …

When you’re planning a garden, I think one of the biggest challenges can be finding perennials (the flowers that come back every year) that give you showy color for a long time.

Most perennials only bloom for a few weeks, and then they’re done for the season.

The beauty of Jupiter’s Beard is that it will keep pushing out new flower blooms over the whole summer.

The only catch is that you need to keep up with trimming off the faded blooms, so new buds can grow in.
Jupiters Beard is a long-blooming flower for semi-arid gardens

And if you don’t trim off the dead blooms?

Well, this happy-go-lucky plant will send its seeds EVERYWHERE.

It’s like a birthday card with glitter on it. No many how many times you vacuum, you keep finding more glitter.

Friends, the seeds on this plant are like glitter.

So, put Jupiter’s Beard in a spot you want to fill in with more flowers OR be diligent about trimming off the dead blooms.

You can find Jupiter’s Beard with red, pink or white flowers

The red variety is more of a dark pink than a true red, but it’s still very pretty.
Jupiter's Beard (aka, Centranthus and Red Valerian) comes in red, pink and white colors.

Jupiter’s Beard is happiest when it gets A LOT of sunshine.

It grows well up to elevations of about 9,000 feet.

And if you’re familiar with plant hardiness zones (which tell you whether a plant is likely to survive winter temperatures in your area), Jupiter’s Beard typically grows well in gardens in zones 4-9.
Jupiter's Beard comes in flower colors like pink, white and red

Do you live outside the intermountain west?

If you live in another region of the country, ask at your local garden center whether Jupiter’s Beard can be grown where you live.

Jupiter’s Beard can spread aggressively in maritime regions (like the West Coast), so there are places where it isn’t allowed.

Pretty flowers are like a good wine — they’re best shared with friends

If you like this beauty, please share this article with friends.

Hey, do you know your flowerpot personality?

Take this fun, 2-minute quiz to find out! You’ll also get personalized ideas for flowers, so growing flowers is relaxing — not taxing.

Take this fun quiz >>

“Do Some Plants Do Better in Hail Than Others?”

“Do Some Plants Do Better in Hail Than Others?”

When you live in states like Colorado, Wyoming and Texas, you may not get hail every year, but some years, you’ll get it 2 … 3 … 7 times.

(I’m not crying. I have something in my eye.)

It’s like playing the lottery, except hail is a prize you DON’T want to win.

In this tip, you’ll get the scoop on plants that do better in hail than others, so you won’t have as much damage and clean-up.

Flower plants that are “drought tolerant” or “xeric” — meaning they need less water — tend to do better in hail than others

If “drought tolerant” makes you think you can only plant cacti, I have good news.

You have LOTS of options for beautiful, drought-tolerant flowers. They just may not be the flowers you know from other parts of the country. 

In the photos below, you’ll find examples of drought-tolerant, hail-resistant plants.

Iceplant (Delosperma)

Hyssop (Agastache)

Coreopsis (commonly known as Tickseed) is an example of a hail resistant flower plant.

Salvia or Garden Sage (Salvia nemorosa)

Why can drought-tolerant plants resist hail?

Often times, drought-tolerant plants have narrow leaves, small leaves or heavier, waxy leaves.

Many of them also tend to stand more upright in a garden.

On sunny days, these features help protect them from the sun’s intense rays and help the plants hold onto water.

But it turns out these traits also come in handy when it comes to hail.

Typically, drought-tolerant plants don’t get as damaged by falling ice chunks

This means you’ll have less plant debris to clean up after a hailstorm. (Less work!)

It also means these plants bounce back better after hail.

So, as you plan your western garden, think about planting drought-tolerant flowers.

Keep in mind, it all depends on the hailstorm you get. Every plant has its limits. Unfortunately, there is no perfect plant for hail.

Ornamental grasses tend to do better in hail too

Some ornamental grasses are drought tolerant. Some are not.

Regardless, ornamental grasses do share traits in common with drought-tolerant plants.

For example, they tend to have really narrow leaves.

You know that expression, “Bend, but don’t break?”

Your grasses may get flattened by hail, but they may not break. This means they may perk back up with some sunshine and water.

Once again, the damage to your grasses depends on how bad your hailstorm is.

Plants that thrive in other parts of the country tend to struggle more in hail

Plant that are vulnerable to hail damage include:

  • Woodland plants with larger leaves
  • Plants with big flower blooms and
  • Most types of annuals (the colorful flowers that bloom through the summer but won’t return next year)

They’re easily shredded by hail stones.

This means you’ll have more clean-up, and you may need to replace destroyed plants.

Below you’ll find examples of plants that are vulnerable to hail damage.



New Guinea ImpatiensNew Guinea Impatiens are annuals that are vulnerable to hail damage

If you found these tips helpful, you may also like:

Friends don’t let friends take on hail alone

Please share these tips, so your friends know which plants do better in hail too.

Lantana: A Heat-Tolerant Flower for Pots and Summer Gardens

Lantana: A Heat-Tolerant Flower for Pots and Summer Gardens

This cutie is known as Lantana

This colorful flower reminds me of a delicious bowl of sherbet.

It isn’t a flower you want to eat, though — no matter how yummy it looks.  🙂

It’s actually a little poisonous. Be careful where you plant it if you have wee ones or dogs.

The butterflies and hummingbirds love Lantana, though!
The flower Lantana attracts butterflies to your garden, like this Swallowtail butterfly.
What annuals attract hummingbirds? The flower: Lantana

Lantana is an “annual” in western states like Colorado and Wyoming

This means it blooms all summer, but it doesn’t return next year.

Add this flower to your flowerpots or in the ground for a BIG pop of color.
Lantana flowers in fiery red and dark orange.

Here’s why to add this colorful beauty to your summer garden…

  • Lantana can take the heat, so it’s a good flower to try in your garden hot spots.
  • It’s easy going. Lantana grows well in sunny locations, as well as partly shady spots.
  • You’ll find it in many colors, from vibrant oranges and electric pinks, to calming yellows and purples.
  • It tolerates drought, which is good in our semi-arid climate.
  • Lantana attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Yay!
  • This plant is deer resistant, so it isn’t the first choice of deer for munching.
  • Typically, it’s resistant to Japanese beetles. If you live along the Front Range in Colorado and you want a pretty flower that’s resistant to these hungry insects, add Lantana to your list.

The annual flower Lantana comes in many colors, including yellow and light purple.

Do you live in another region of the country?

If you live outside the Rocky Mountain region (like in the Southeast or Southwest), ask at your local garden center whether Lantana can be grown where you live.

There are some places where it isn’t allowed.

Hey, do you know your flowerpot personality?

Take this fun, 2-minute quiz to find out! You’ll also get personalized ideas for flowers, so growing flowers is relaxing — not taxing.

Take this fun quiz >>

Flowerpot Design Tip: A Simple Way to Take Your Flowers From “Meh” to “Wow!”

Flowerpot Design Tip: A Simple Way to Take Your Flowers From “Meh” to “Wow!”

Looking for an easy design tip to make your flowerpots look prettier this summer?

Combine flowers of different heights.

Think of a city skyline or a beautiful mountain range. There are different layers that make things interesting, right?

The same is true for the flowers in your flowerpots.

Planting flowers of different heights can help you create a lot of visual interest.

In gardening lingo, this design concept is known as thrillers, fillers and spillers.

  • Thrillers are your tall flowers.
  • Fillers are your shorter flowers.
  • Spillers are your flowers that spill out of the flower pot.

Examples of thrillers, fillers and spillers in two colorful flowerpots of flowers

But if you find these words confusing or hard to keep straight, then…

Think about this flowerpot design tip in western terms.

You want your flowerpots to have mountains, foothills and waterfalls.

Your mountains are your tall flowers that add height and a strong focal point to your flowerpots. For example, you could use a tall ornamental grass or a gorgeous red canna lily, like the one pictured below. (Just like the mighty peaks in a mountain range, these tall flowers are your thrillers.)
A red canna lily is a great example of a thriller flower in a flowerpot

Your foothills are your shorter flowers that add interesting textures or pops of color, like the yellow Marguerite daisies below. (These flowers fill your flowerpots.)
A simple flowerpot design tip: Include filler flowers like these marguerite daisies to add color and texture

And your waterfalls are your flowers that spill out of your flowerpots and cascade down the sides, like the light-green licorice plant and lime-green sweet potato vine in the photo below. (These flowers are your spillers.)
Make your flowerpots prettier with spiller flowers that cascade out of a flowerpot like a waterfall

When you go to the garden center, how do you know whether a flower will make a good mountain, foothill or waterfall?

1. Look at the plant tag to check your flower’s final height.

Often times, the size of the flower in the garden center is only a fraction of how big that flower will grow by the end of the summer.

For example, a flower that’s about 8” tall in the garden center may grow several feet tall over the summer!

When you pick up flowers at the garden center, check their plant tags to see how tall they’ll grow.

If you pick up a flower that grows 14” to 36” tall, it could make a great mountain.

Flowers that aren’t quite as tall — 6” to 14” in height — can make great foothills.

Keep in mind, the height suggestions above are just that: Suggestions! Gardening is personal, so you can do whatever looks good to you.

2. Notice which direction the plant is growing.

Even in the garden center, you can usually tell whether a flower is growing upright or growing down.

If you hold up a plant that seems to be trailing from its container, it could be a great flower to spill from your flowerpots like a waterfall. The pink petunias below are a good example.
When looking for spiller flowers for flowerpots, look for flowers that naturally trail from their containers

For this flowerpot design tip to work, do you have to include mountains, foothills AND waterfalls?

This is a matter of personal preference.

Personally, I love all three together.

But you can definitely go with just two.

The flowerpots below are hanging in my neighbor’s yard. The pots are small, so she just used foothills and waterfalls. She didn’t have enough room for all three.
You don't need thrillers, fillers and spillers in pots. It's okay to include just two of these design ideas.

And the flowerpot below is really big, but the gardener made a strong statement with just mountains and foothills.
An example of a western flowerpot with thrillers and fillers.

If you liked this flowerpot design tip, you may also like:

Hey, do you know your flowerpot personality?

Take this fun, 2-minute quiz to find out! You’ll also get personalized ideas for flowers, so growing flowers is relaxing — not taxing.

Take this fun quiz >>

Columbine Flowers: An Early Summer Flower to Attract Hummingbirds

Columbine Flowers: An Early Summer Flower to Attract Hummingbirds

Who else loves Columbine flowers?

(I have both my hands up.)

You’ll see Columbine flowers growing along alpine hiking trails in the Rocky Mountains… and in western gardens.

When I see them on mountain trails, I want to turn into Julie Andrews at the start of The Sound of Music, twirling around with my arms in the air, singing about the hills being alive. They make me giddy every time I see them.
Rocky Mountain Columbines bloom on a mountain in Colorado or Utah

Columbine flowers are perennials. This means they come back every year.

If you’re like me, you may think of Rocky Mountain Columbines first. They’re the bluish-purple and white flowers you’ll often see on mountain trails (like the ones pictured above). Rocky Mountain Columbines grow well in moist mountain meadows.

But you can find Columbine flowers in different types and colors.

There’s even a type of Columbine that can handle our hot, semi-arid summers at lower elevations in the intermountain west. (Scroll down for the scoop!)

Typically, Columbine flowers bloom in May and June at our lower elevations in states like Colorado.

And at our higher elevations, these flowers usually bloom in June and July.

Columbines are a WONDERFUL hummingbird magnet.

If you ever get a chance to visit the Betty Ford Alpine Garden in Vail, Colorado during the summer, make a beeline to the Columbine flowers.

If they’re in bloom, you’ll often be able to watch the hummingbirds blissfully zip from flower to flower.

It’s heavenly.

Tip: If you want to plant flowers that attract hummingbirds to your garden, add Columbines to your list.

Happy plants are longer-lived plants, so let’s chat about how to keep your Columbines happy.

The big thing is planting your Columbines in the right place in your garden.

Our summers can get really hot in our lower elevations in western states like Colorado and Utah. If you live someplace hot, your Columbines will likely prefer spots in your garden that have “partial shade” or “shade.” (A helpful guideline is 4 hours or less of sunlight, and avoid planting them in afternoon sunlight, which can be too hot.)

For example, you may want to plant them in the shade of a leafy tree.

They also like it when your dirt (which we’ll call “soil”) is moist and drains well.

To help keep your soil moist, it helps to put a layer of “mulch” (like wood chips or mini-bark) on top. You can find mulch at your local garden center.

But there IS a type of Columbine that can handle sunnier spots…

And it’s a much better fit for our gardens in the hot, semi-arid parts of the intermountain west!

If you’re looking for a Columbine flower that grows well in sunshine, ask at the garden center about Denver Gold® Columbine.

This plant’s official botanical name is: Aquilegia chrysantha ‘Denver Gold’.

Denver Gold® is a showy, yellow Columbine that flourishes in sunny locations.

It grows well in our tricky western soils up to elevations of about 9,000 feet.

In the photo above, you’ll see Denver Gold® Columbines (the tall, yellow flowers) planted next to purple flowers known as bearded irises.

Isn’t this a pretty combo?

Denver Gold® Columbines give you beautiful yellow flowers in May and June in our lower elevations. And if you trim off the dead blooms, you may get more flowers later in the summer as well.

It’s native to the canyon lands in the Southwest.

If you’re familiar with plant hardiness zones, which tell you how likely a plant is to survive the coldest winter temperatures expected in your area, Denver Gold® Columbines typically grow well in zones 3-8.

In the photo above, Denver Gold® Columbines (the yellow flowers) are planted alongside a bluish-purple flower known as Salvia (Salvia sylvestris ‘May Night’).

Another showy combo!

If you live in another region of the country…

Ask at your local garden center whether Columbines will grow well where you live.

Hey, I’m offering a free flowerpot workshop (online) in May

  • Have you ever gone to a garden center and felt overwhelmed by all your flower choices?
  • Have you ever bought flowers and thought to yourself, “I have no idea whether these flowers are even going to live?”
  • Would you like to feel more confident picking out flowers for your flower pots?

If yes, I hope you’ll join me for my free gardening workshop for budding gardeners.

It’s available on-demand for a limited time.

You’ll learn simple tips to make great flower choices for your flowerpots, so you can create an outdoor space you love this summer!

Save your seat here >>

Where Can I Learn About Waterwise Flower Gardening?

Where Can I Learn About Waterwise Flower Gardening?

Where I live in Colorado, we’re lucky if we get 14″ of moisture per year.

Depending on where you live, you may get even less!

Just to put that in perspective, Seattle and Chicago get close to 40″ of moisture per year. Boston gets about 44″ per year. And Atlanta and Orlando get around 50″ per year.

It’s dry in the West, which means we need to be strategic about the flowers we grow in our gardens.

If you want to create a garden in a semi-arid western state, it’s helpful to learn about “waterwise” flower gardening.

The idea behind waterwise gardening is that you intentionally choose flowers that are drought-tolerant and use less water — grouping plants together with similar needs.

The phrase, “drought tolerant flowers,” may make you think of cacti, but rest easy, there are many beautiful flowers that grow well with low water. They just may not be the flowers you know from other parts of the country!

If you’d like to learn about waterwise flower gardening and see examples of drought-tolerant flowers, I’ve put together 4 resources to get you started.

The links on this page are NOT affiliate links. I’m just sharing them for your convenience. You may be able to find the books locally.

Agastache is a drought-tolerant flower

1) “Waterwise Plants for Sustainable Gardens” (book)

Lauren Springer is a western flower gardening expert. She has a wonderful book called: “Waterwise Plants for Sustainable Gardens.”

This is one of my go-to books for waterwise flower ideas. It’s filled with photos and helpful tips that can be used whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced gardener.

This book contains plant ideas for different regions of the semi-arid West, including the West Coast.

TIP: As you go through the book, make sure that the flowers you like match your plant hardiness zone. A plant hardiness zone tells you whether a plant is likely to survive the coldest winter temperatures that are expected in your area. Some of the flowers in the book may be better suited for parts of the West with warmer winters.

Bearded irises are drought tolerant, making them great for a waterwise garden.

2) Pretty, tough plants for the intermountain west (Plant Select)

Plant Select is a non-profit collaboration between the Colorado State University Extension, the Denver Botanic Gardens and local horticulturalists.

With Plant Select, plants go through trials for a number of years to make sure they can handle our tricky, western growing conditions, and they’re non-invasive. The best plants are chosen as Plant Select. Then, they’re sold from local garden centers (from Colorado to Oregon) and online retailers (like High Country Gardens).

Plant Select also has a GREAT book called “Pretty Tough Plants.” I refer to this book all the time. It’s another book that’s user-friendly for gardeners of different levels.

You can see examples of Plant Select flowers on the Plant Select website, including flowers and shrubs.

Purple prairie clover

3) Waterwise plant lists and workshops (Colorado Spring Utilities)

Colorado Springs Utilities has a number of helpful resources on gardening with less water.

You can find links to their low-water plant lists, workshops and more on their waterwise plants website.

Gaillardia (Blanket Flower) is an example of a waterwise flower.

4) Low-water, native plant lists and tips

Would you like to learn about growing native plants that are drought tolerant?

Native plants are those that have occurred naturally in a region. Generally, they’ve adapted to local growing conditions, and they can provide great habitats for birds, insects, etc.

Many states have “Native Plant Societies” with helpful resources for your state.

Simply google: [Name of your state] Native Plant Society. You should pull up a resource for your state.

Here are a few native plant societies in the intermountain west:

In Colorado, the Colorado Native Plant Society (CNPS) has a great resource page for gardening with native plants in Colorado. On this resource page, you’ll find their plant guides for every region in the state. For example, you’ll find their suggestions for low-water, native plants for the Front Range of Colorado.

You’ll also find their suggestions for flowers to avoid planting because they can be invasive.

I’ll share more about drought-tolerant flowers and waterwise gardening in future tips

But for now, I hope these resources help you get started!

Scroll down to join my garden tips list, so you get new tips as they’re added.

How to Protect Flowers From Hail Damage

How to Protect Flowers From Hail Damage

9 ways to prepare for hail to minimize damage to your western garden

Hail can leave you wanting to yell, “WHHHHYYYYYYYY?????” to Mama Nature. But thankfully, you have options for how to protect flowers from hail.

With a little planning, you can reduce hail damage and keep your sanity (and garden) intact.

Here’s how to protect your flowers from hail.

#1: Plant drought-tolerant flowers in your garden.

One of the easiest ways to minimize hail damage and reduce your clean-up after a hailstorm is to plant drought-tolerant flowers.

These waterwise plants are more than just pretty.

Many of them are as tough as heavyweight champs.

You’ll see a few examples of drought-tolerant flowers that are more resistant to hail below: Agastache (often called Hyssop), Coreopsis and Salvia (sometimes called Meadow Sage).
Agastache is a drought-tolerant flowerCoreopsis (commonly known as Tickseed) is an example of a hail resistant flower plant.Salvia is an example of a plant that does better in hail than others

Find out why drought-tolerant plants are more resistant to hail and see examples here >>

#2: Plant your annuals in flowerpots, rather than in the ground.

Annuals are your flowers that bloom for one summer, but typically don’t return. Unfortunately, they tend to be vulnerable to hail.

When you plant your annuals in pots, you can keep them on covered porches or under overhangs, so they’re out of harm’s way.

If you want to put your pots in your garden, you can quickly move them to a protected spot in a hailstorm (assuming the pots aren’t too heavy).

I pull my pots under an overhang on our porch when I know hail is coming.
Planting annuals in flowerpots make them easier to pull under cover when hail is coming.

#3: Proactively move your flowerpots to a protected spot if hail is in the forecast.

I know some of your pots may be too heavy to move, so let’s focus on your pots that aren’t too heavy.

You may want to get “plant caddies” to help you. Nope, you aren’t recruiting anybody from the local golf course. Plant caddies are devices with wheels that make it easier for you to roll your pots.
To protect flowers from hail, a plant caddy can help you roll your flower pots under cover.

The home improvement stores often carry plant caddies. You also can google them to find more decorative versions.

If you can pull your pots under a tree, that sometimes helps too.

#4: Cover vulnerable plants in your garden when hail is in the forecast.

Get creative!

You can use a variety of materials to cover your vulnerable plants.

For example, you can:

  • Cover your plants with trash cans, laundry baskets, cardboard boxes, buckets, empty flowerpots and plastic storage bins turned upside down.
  • Use outdoor lawn furniture to cover your plants.
  • Hang fabrics and netting that protect against hail.

Example of hail netting over a vegetable garden and a flower garden at a community garden

Some netting is specifically made for hail, like “anti-hail netting.” But these fabrics can be hard to find when you need them, and they can be pricey.

So, don’t be afraid to get creative!

I know many gardeners who use other fabrics, such as breathable netting from a fabric store or metal hardware cloth.

I even have one neighbor who makes tents over her flowers with old shower curtain liners. (How’s that for creative?)

Ideally, what you’re trying to do is reduce the force of the hail and lower its kinetic energy, so it does less damage.

Hopefully this goes without saying, but don’t use anything as a cover that you don’t want to get destroyed. If your hailstorm is intense enough, it can damage just about anything.

#5: Don’t cover your flowers for long amounts of time.

If you’re using something that isn’t breathable to cover your plants, don’t keep the cover on for too long.

You don’t want to accidentally cook your flowers, particularly on warm days.

If you’re going to work for the day and hail is in the forecast, cover your plants with a material that’s breathable, like netting. Or, use something like a laundry basket or a lawn chair, so the air can still move and you aren’t trapping heat.

#6: Be on the lookout for thunderstorm clouds.

Thunderstorm clouds start out as tall, white, puffy clouds that resemble cauliflower heads.
Thunderstorm clouds with hail often start out as tall, white, fluffy clouds that resemble cauliflower heads.

Often, right before hail, part of the sky has an aqua green color to it. Check out photo below, so you can see what I mean.

The second I see that aqua color in the sky, I jump into action!

These are your signals to leap into flower plant protection mode if you have vulnerable plants that you want to protect.

#7: Watch for orange, red or purple storm cells on your weather app.

Be on high alert when you see orange, red or purple storm cells on the radar moving your way. These colors indicate severe storm cells.

Hail may not be far behind.

Photo credit: Weather.com

#8: Find a neighbor who shares a love for flowers and create a buddy system.

Let each other know when hail is coming.

#9: Think about what kind of mindset you want to have as a western gardener.

There are two ways to think about hail.

  1. You can be proactive in trying to prevent it, following tips like these to protect your flowers from hail.
  2. You can go with the flow. You can choose not to worry about hail, welcoming whatever Mama Nature throws at you — rain some days, hail some others. You’ll let Mama Nature do her thing and see what happens.

Full disclosure, I fall into the first category, but I have friends in the second category, and they certainly have a more carefree gardening experience.

It’s up to you!

If these tips were helpful, you may also like:

Friends don’t let friends take on hail alone

Please share these hail protection tips, so your friends are ready when Mama Nature brings on hail!

“Hail Destroyed My Garden. What Do I Do Now?”

“Hail Destroyed My Garden. What Do I Do Now?”

In my opinion, there is nothing that will suck the soul from your gardening body like hail

You can have your flowers looking SO DARN GOOD … And after a few minutes of hail, your Instagram-worthy flowers have become a sloppy, shredded mess.


Mama Nature doesn’t always play nice.

If hail destroyed your garden or your flowerpots, I’m so sorry. It’s demoralizing. You may be at a loss for where to even start cleaning up the hail damage.

If you’re wondering, “What do I do now?”, let’s chat about how to care for your plants after hail.

1) How to reduce your plants’ stress, so they perk up

Prozac for plants

It may be weird to think that your plants can get stressed, but they can. And a hailstorm counts as a VERY stressful event for your flower garden — not to mention, for you too!

Luckily, there are products that can help.

The micro-nutrients in seaweed and kelp can help your plants reduce stress. You may want to give your plants a mild, liquid plant food that contains seaweed or kelp, like Age Old Fish & Seaweed or Age Old Kelp.

Think of these products like Prozac for plants.

Your local, independent garden center should carry products that can help with plant stress too. If you visit your local store, ask them what they have in stock that they recommend for reducing plant stress.

I’m not an affiliate for any of these products. I’m simply sharing them for your convenience.

2) How to clean up your perennials after hail, so they stay healthy

Perennials are your plants that return every year

Let’s chat about the hail damage you may see on your perennials.

Is there a lot of debris on the ground?

Rake it up. If you leave it, it can be a home for disease or insects.
Hail clean-up tip: Rake up all the leaves and debris on the ground after a hail storm

Do your perennials have broken stems?

If yes, trim off those stems. Take your finger and run it down the stem BELOW the break. Stop just above the first set of leaves you reach or at the first intersection with another stem. This is where to make your snip.

Did the hail break or destroy your flower blooms?

If yes, trim them off too.

Similar to trimming off broken stems, take your finger and run it down the stem below the destroyed flower bloom. Stop just above the first set of leaves you reach or at the first intersection with another stem. This is where to make your snip.

(Are you familiar with “deadheading?” This is basically what you’re doing here.)

Do you see tattered or hole-y leaves?

If the leaves are really shredded or dangling, cleanly trim off.

But if your leaves have mild damage, you may want to leave them. Why? Because the leaves are where photosynthesis happens. This is where your plant is making food and energy for itself, so it can grow new leaves and/or return next year.

Are your perennials bent over, but the stems aren’t broken?

A few days of sun and water may help your plants perk up. (It depends on the plant.)

There are some perennials you can aggressively trim back, and they should grow new leaves and flowers.

Two examples are Salvia (Salvia sylvestris) and Catmint (Nepeta), pictured below.
Salvia is an example of a plant that does better in hail than others
Catmint is an example of a flower you can cut back after hail, and it may return.

You can cut these plants back to just above the first or second set of leaves from the ground. They should push out new leaves and flowers for you over the next 4 weeks or so.

Don’t shear (cut) straight across the plant, though. Instead, trim each stem just above a leaf — like you’re deadheading.

Keep these plants well-watered after you give them an aggressive haircut.

If you’re unsure whether to cut your flowers way back or not, take photos before you go to your garden center for “plant Prozac.” Show them your photos and ask whether you can aggressively trim back the plants in your garden.

3) How to clean up your annuals after hail

Annuals are your one-summer flowers

It depends on how bad the damage is with your annuals.

You can always follow the steps above to see if they help, and your plants may bounce back in a few days.
After a hail storm, it can feel like hail destroyed your garden, but if the plants aren't broken, they may bounce back after some clean-up, sunshine and water

If your annuals are mushy or they just don’t bounce back over the next few days, I’d pull them out.

Composting is a topic for another time, but if you do have a compost pile, you should be able to add these plants to the pile. To ensure you’re adding healthy plant remains to your compost pile, the key is to clean up soon after the storm.

If your hailstorm happens early in the summer…

You can plant new annuals.

Later in the summer…

The garden centers should have pretty flowers that look autumn-y. You can plant them if you’re really missing the color.

Otherwise, wait until next year and give it a fresh start.

4) Take photos

I know the last thing you may want to do is document the devastation, but we tend to have short memories as gardeners.

Or maybe we just block hail damage out of our memories!

It’s helpful to take photos of your plants before you clean them up, so you remember which plants did better in hail than others.

Then, create a folder on your phone called Garden Hail Damage. Put the photos in it, so they’re easy to find.

If you continue to get hail storms, you may want to transition to plants that are more hail-resistant.

A word of encouragement…

I have a budding gardener on my email list who closely followed all these tips after an unexpected and “heart breaking” hail storm last summer. She said her plants came back bigger and more beautiful than before the hail storm.

So, please know, there’s hope!

If these tips were helpful, you may also like:

Do you have friends who got hail too?

Help them take care of their plant babies. Please share these tips, so they know what to do with their plants after a hailstorm.

“What Do I Do With Tulips After They’ve Flowered?”

“What Do I Do With Tulips After They’ve Flowered?”

The tulips in your spring garden have given you gorgeous color. But what do you do with tulips after they’ve flowered?

They’re done blooming, and now your tulip leaves are turning yellow and flopping on the ground. They don’t look so great.

(This is normal, BTW! You haven’t done anything wrong.)

  • Should you leave the tulip leaves?
  • Should you cut the tulip leaves off?
  • And if yes, when should you cut the tulip leaves?

These are the things we’re going to talk about in today’s tip!

Tulips go through an awkward period when they’re done blooming.

After tulips have flowered, their leaves turn yellow and flop on the ground.
Tulip leaves turn yellow and flop on the ground when they are done blooming - this is normal

But those fading leaves can make a BIG difference in how well your tulips bloom next year!

Here’s why:

Tulips grow from a bulb.

Think of the bulb like a battery and the leaves like solar panels.

When your tulips finish flowering, those leaves are gathering sunlight and turning it into food (and energy). Those solar panels are hard at work, even though they don’t look great.

Your tulips will use that food to get through next winter and next year’s bloom season.

The bulb is pulling all that food from the leaves back down into the bulb and storing it.

It’s recharging its battery.

If you cut the tulip leaves, you’re cutting off the solar panels.

The bulb won’t be able to recharge properly.

This means your tulips may not bloom as well next year.

It also means you may get smaller flowers or lackluster blooms.

When your tulip leaves are turning yellow and brown, you have several options.

#1: If you want pretty tulips next year, DO cut off the stem the flower was on, but DON’T cut off the leaves.

When you trim off the stems, you’re telling your tulips to focus their energy on making food for next season — recharging the battery!
DO trim the flower stems on tulips after they're done blooming

Where do you trim the tulip stems?

Make your cut where the stem meets the leaves. You can wait until the petals fall off. Or you can cut the stems when the petals start shriveling up.
Where to trim stems on spent tulip flowers

But fight the urge to cut off the leaves, even if they don’t look great.

You can put a flowerpot in front of your tulips to hide them. Or, you can grow other plants nearby to mask the leaves.
Don't cut off tulip leaves.

Don’t pull out those leaves until you can give them a gentle tug, and they come right out.

The leaves will likely be very yellow and limp.

If you give the leaves a gentle tug and they resist, they aren’t ready to come out yet.

They’re still helping the bulb recharge.

Another tip, don’t “wrap” the leaves.

You may see neighbors wrapping a rubber band around the leaves, tying them up into a little ball so they look tidier. Don’t do that. Remember, we want the leaves to act as solar panels. Tying up the leaves defeats this purpose. 🙂

#2: You can dig the tulip bulbs out.

Yep, you can dig the entire tulip out, including the bulbs in the ground.

The tradeoff is, you won’t have tulips next year unless you plant new bulbs in the fall.

But, if you really want your garden to look tidy and you don’t mind replanting your bulbs in the fall, it’s a great option.

Hey, do you know your flowerpot personality?

Take this fun, 2-minute quiz to find out! You’ll also get personalized ideas for flowers, so growing flowers is relaxing — not taxing.

Take this fun quiz >>

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