How to Revive Your Summer Garden

Garden tips to protect your plants from the stress of a dry, hot, buggy summer.

Summer Garden with mildew on rose leaves.


Powdery mildew is one of many diseases and stressors that can affect a summer garden. Photography by Mark Avery/Melinda Myers, LLC.


By Melinda Myers

Don’t let summer stressors ruin your garden and landscape’s good looks.  Instead give your plants’ natural defenses a boost and keep both vegetable gardens producing and flowers blooming.

Busy summer schedules can lead to plant neglect and less-than-picture-perfect gardens. When you team this with summer heat and drought that can lead to wilting, brown leaves, and poor growth, and add insects and diseases that can further weaken and damage plants, gardens can really suffer.

Organic plant strengtheners can act like vitamins or immunizations to boost natural defenses so plants are better able to deal with environmental challenges.

Scientists found that when plants experienced stress, they produced certain molecules that activated their defenses.  They isolated these molecules, applied them to other plants, and found that the treated plants were more stress-tolerant.  One such family of molecules is the jasmonates, originally identified in the jasmine plant, that increases hundreds of defense molecules in treated plants.

Proactively using a plant strengthener before healthy garden plants become threatened can help keep them vibrant. Some commercial brands include JAZ Sprays, Amino Treatment and Employ H&T Plant Health Promoter.

Yardwork Doesn’t Take a Vacation

Of course, you should also make sure you give your garden plants proper care throughout their lifetime.  Water thoroughly and as needed.  Then mulch the soil surrounding your plants with shredded leaves, evergreen needles, or other organic materials.  These conserve moisture, keep roots cool and moist, suppress weeds, and improve the soil as they break down in the summer.

And, if your summer garden experiences the same problems each year, it is time to make a change.  Move stressed plants to more suitable growing conditions.  Match the plant to the light, soil and moisture it prefers.  Replace diseased plants with resistant varieties and provide proper care.

By taking these steps and investing a bit of time and energy, you’ll be sure to create a beautiful, healthy and productive garden and landscape that thrives all summer long.

About our Guest Expert: Melinda Myers is a nationally known gardening expert, TV/radio host, author and columnist. She is a contributing editor to Birds & Blooms magazine and other publications, and maintains

Barbara Stanley 1 July 9, 2013 at 12:20 am

I transplant many flowers into my rock gardens each summer. I remove all flowers to give the plant a better chance of surviving the trauma of transplantation. I keep the roots wet for three or four days. By the fifth day, I have a healthy, happy plant that is ready to flower again.


Louise 2 July 8, 2015 at 6:50 pm

I seem to be loosing my petunias this year. Are they deceased this year or is it die to all our rain
We’ve had an abundance of rain. I’ve planted my super tunias twice and they have also died.
I’ve put granules down for earwigs that seem to be bad also. Never have had that problem.


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