Our favourite July plants

Sweet pea 'Cupani' flowers

July is peak flower time in the garden, and the team were spoilt for choice trying to narrow down the options to choose their favourite plants for this month. Here, we share the loveliest plants that are guaranteed to brighten up your garden this month. There’s something to suit every space, from flowering shrubs perfect for a cottage garden style, to tiny gems to treasure in pots. Our choices include recommendations from the Gardeners’ World team and across the gardening industry.


Zaluzianskya

The tiny flowers of Zaluzianskya ovata open at night to release their sweet scent

Chosen by Nick Bailey, Gardeners’ World presenter

Delicate night phlox folds its white petals inwards during the day, revealing the cherry red backs. But it comes into its own at night when the petals unfurl, releasing a sublime and heady, parma violet meets vanilla scent. There are annual varieties, which are easy to grow from seed, and Zaluzianskya ovata is perennial.


Zantedeschia aethiopica

The white calla lily, Zantedeschia aethiopica, is hardy outdoors in mild areas of the UK

Flo Headlam, Garden Rescue presenter

It’s hard not to love this show stopper. The flowers of calla lilies are a pure white and unfurl above lush heart shaped leaves, brightening any border, plus it’s super easy to grow – even thriving on neglect (apparently!)


Ipomoea tricolor ‘Heavenly Blue’

Morning glory is fast-growing and easy to grow from seed – you can even grow it in a pot

Chosen by James Alexander-Sinclair, BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine columnist

You might recall the Oasis track: “What’s the story, Morning Glory”. This is nothing at all do with that, but instead is a vigorous and free flowering annual climber. Every breakfast time until the weather gets cold, Ipomoea ‘Heavenly Blue’ will treat you to a spectacular display of blue trumpets.


Agapanthus africanus

Agapanthus are perfect for coastal gardens as they can survive salty sea winds

Chosen by Toby Buckland, director of Toby’s Garden Festival

I love everything about the flowers of Agapanthus africanus. The flowers rise above the leaves in plump buds and burst like azure fireworks, lighting up the borders. I grow it along path edges, where it basks in reflected heat and stops soil falling onto the paving.


Thalictrum delavayi Splendide White

Thalictrum delavayi Splendide White is perennial and makes a lovely cut flower. Photo of Hazel by Tia Talula

Chosen by Hazel Gardiner, floral designer

I’m always looking to create lightness in the garden, and this plant is fantastic for the back of borders . It grows to a striking height, but with its feathery, light foliage and plumes of white flowers, it’s a tall but gentle giant. I pair it with grasses, which creates a border full of movement and depth.


Verbena bonariensis

Verbena bonariensis is a magnet for pollinating insects and provides seeds for birds

Chosen by Kevin Smith, BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine deputy editor

For me, there’s no better plant than Verbena bonariensis. It’s completely slug proof, unfussy about growing conditions and self-seeds with ease, meaning you’re never without it. Best of all, it makes the perfect partner for virtually any other plant – I challenge you to find anything its delicate purple blooms don’t look good alongside.

 

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Pieris 'Forest Flame'

Alstroemeria ‘Indian Summer’

Alstromeria ‘Indian Summer’ is a hardy perennial that flowers from June to November

Chosen by Michael Perry, presenter and plant lover

I fell in love with this plant the first time I saw it. I’d known alstroemerias from my childhood, as my Nana grew orange and yellow ones, exotic like orchids. ‘Indian Summer’ brings all that, and more, with deep maroon foliage all summer long. Peruvian lilies flower for five months in a year – find me another plant that does that so easily. They also make great cut flowers.


Nigella

Nigella has decorative seed pods that look lovely dried and added to cut flower arrangements

Chosen by Isabelle Palmer, founder of The Balcony Gardener garden design

Nigella (love-in-a-mist) is one of my favourite flowers, and because it was one of the first flowers I grew, it holds an even greater place in my heart. The frothy delicacy of its foliage, topped by a velvety flower in shades of white, pastels or rich, dark tones never disappoints. It’s a hardy annual and it couldn’t be simpler to grow from seed.


Hibiscus

Tender, evergreen hibiscus like this one, make great house plants, while hardy, deciduous varieties make striking garden plants

Chosen by Gynelle Leon, owner of Prick succulent boutique

The hibiscus flower always makes me smile and reminds me of special moments in my grandparents’ garden in Saint Lucia; my grandad would break off a flower, much to my grandmother’s disapproval, and place it in my hair.


Rosa ‘Kew Gardens’

Rosa ‘Kew Gardens’ is an extremely healthy variety and will even grow in partial shade

Chosen by Catherine Mansley, GardenersWorld.com deputy editor

This shrub rose is a mass of flowers all summer long. My biggest challenge is keeping up with the deadheading. The flowers are good for bees and the near-thornless stems mean kids don’t get too scratched if they run into it.


Lavandula x intermedia ‘Grosso’

Lavandula x intermedia ‘Grosso’ is a tall lavender with large flowerheads that are loved by bees

Chosen by Cel Robertson, founder of Forever Green Flower Company

It wouldn’t be summer without these long stems and gracefully tapering flower heads. Like all lavender it has wonderful scent, but Lavandula x intermedia ‘Grosso’ is my favourite variety. Easy to grow, it is drought-tolerant and performs well for me on my sandy soil.


Sweet peas

Sweet peas are easy to grow from seed and come in an array of lovely colours

Chosen by Lily Middleton, content producer, GardenersWorld.com

I’ve recently started volunteering at Fulham Palace and one of my favourite jobs is to pick sweet peas and make posies. I’ve always had a soft spot for sweet peas, who can resist them, but they’ve captured my heart as I immerse myself in their heady scent each week. The best thing is, the more you pick the more flowers you get, so it’s not just a dreamy task – but a useful one too.


Ammi majus

Let this annual go to seed and you can collect them to sow again next year

Chosen by Adam Duxbury, features editor BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine

At ease everywhere, from a cottage garden or meadow scheme to a contemporary border, the billowing white umbellifers of ammi (Bishop’s flower) are a must in July.


Hollyhocks

Biennials, or short-lived perennials, hollyhocks are great for adding height to borders

Chosen by Lucy Felton, Gardeners’ World Magazine content coordinator

With spikes bursting up through the edges of lanes and pavements in our village, July really is Hollyhock territory in Oxfordshire. I’ll admit to strategically placing baby hollyhocks, in creamy whites and almost-blacks, by the doors of our woodstore and garden gates, as if they’ve randomly sprung from nowhere.

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