July in the Garden: The Sunflower

BY Lori Murray

JULY’S FLOWER IS THE SUNFLOWER. To think of a sunflower and not instantly think of warmth and happiness is impossible. Reminiscent of the sun itself, this hardy flower conveys everything joyful and represents longevity.

In hot summer months Valley gardeners focus on watering, mulching, and weeding. Mulch helps the soil retain moisture, moderates soil temperature, and reduces weed population. Weeds are not only unsightly, but also compete with our landscape plants for available water. Mulch will make hand removal easier.

Make a special effort to remove weeds before they produce seed. Weeds that have gone to seed will greatly multiply your work in the following year or two.


Early in the month, pinch back an inch to encourage bushiness. Continue to water and fertilize.

Annuals planted early in the spring are probably waning in the summer heat. Evaluate them and make plans for replacing them with bedding plants from the nursery. If you keep a journal, note which plants did well and which did poorly. Include where they were placed and whether or not they were mulched.

Continue pinching back chrysanthemums. Continue deadheading.

Some annuals in pots may need to be watered twice a day.

Water flower beds well once or twice a week. Do not “sprinkle” flower beds; water deeply so that the soil is moistened 4 to 6 inches down.

Keep all flower beds and vegetable garden areas free of weeds so they don’t compete with your plants for moisture and nutrients.

If possible, add 1 inch of organic matter to your gardens and beds; work it in.