What to Plant in August: Expert Reveals The Best Plants to Grow
INSIDE: Wondering what to plant in August? Worried about the timing? Here are all the vegetables, flowers, and plants to sow and plant in your garden now!
It’s late summer. The sun is high in the sky, and the days are long.
And your garden feels like a partially completed canvas, brimming with untapped potential.
So, you’re itching to use that extra daylight to plant something.
But you’re also wondering…
What can I plant now?
What’ll withstand the heat and mature before my first frost?
With the right choices, you can enjoy fresh veggies and beautiful blooms even as summer starts to wind down.
I’ll take you through all your options – from fast-growing flowers to seasonal vegetables so you can easily finish your gardening masterpiece.
Read on to discover everything you can plant right now…
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Although fall feels far off, now is the time to plant your fall vegetable garden. By planting now, you’ll be able to enjoy fresh green salads and tender roasted vegetables before the fall frosts start.
What vegetables can I plant in August?
August planting in your vegetable garden is focused on fast-maturing warm-season crops and cool-weather crops like salad greens and root vegetables.
What vegetable seeds can be planted in August?
You’ll want to complete planting most of your fall vegetables this month. The last date you can plant depends on your average first fall frost.
And don’t forget to thin seedlings to appropriate spacing as needed. Or use square foot spacing to skip thinning altogether!
- Plant carrots or radishes if you’re in a hurry for a crop. They’re quick-growing and can be sown in August and into September.
- Direct-sow peas, mustard greens, beets, kohlrabi, kale, green onions, and snap beans early this month.
- Plant lettuce, arugula, and spinach late this month and early next month.
- Direct seed vacant vegetable beds with cover crops to improve your soil.
Pro-tip: Use succession planting to ensure a continuous supply of fresh produce into the fall growing season.
Here are some great fall crops to transplant this month that thrive in cooler temperatures:
- Brussels sprouts
- Chinese cabbage
- Swiss chard
And they’re packed with nutrients, too, making them a healthy addition to your meals.
If you want to maximize your yields at the end of the season, consider planting summer squash, winter squash, cucumbers, or bush beans that mature in less than 60 days.
These crops keep producing, so you’ll have plenty to harvest even as the weather starts to turn.
Order and plant garlic bulbs this month.
Move any strawberry daughters to blank spots in your strawberry patch.
August is the time to plant fast-growing annual flowers, fall-blooming perennials, and frost-tolerant vegetables.
- Plant cold-hardy herbs such as thyme and sage.
- Sow herb seeds like cilantro, dill, and parsley now to have fresh seasonings on hand later this year. These aromatic plants can keep producing throughout the fall (and winter with frost protection).
- Divide and replant perennial herbs like mint and chives, allowing them to establish new growth before winter.
Now that you know which vegetables to sow and grow in August, it’s time to add vibrant colors to your garden with flowers!
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While it may seem like the end of the growing season, there are still plenty of flowers to plant now.
So, what are the best flowers to plant in August?
What annuals can I plant in August?
While some annuals may have already peaked earlier in the season, you can fill those gaps by planting these flowers in August.
- Marigolds (Tagetes): Marigolds are popular annual flowers in various sizes and colors, such as orange, yellow, and red. They are easy to grow and can tolerate heat and drought.
- Zinnias (Zinnia elegans): Zinnias are beautiful annual flowers available in a wide range of colors, including pink, red, orange, yellow, and white. They thrive in warm weather.
- Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus): Cosmos are delicate and airy flowers that produce daisy-like blossoms in shades of pink, white, and lavender. They are sun-loving flowers. And they can add a lovely touch to your summer garden.
Include flowers that can withstand higher temperatures for a vibrant late-summer garden.
- Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus): Sunflowers are easy to grow. They’re impressive annual flowers. And they bring a cheerful and vibrant feel to your garden. Plant them in early August for fall blooms.
- Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum): Nasturtiums are quick-growing annual flowers. They bloom in shades of orange, red, and yellow. They have attractive round leaves and can tolerate heat well.
- Celosia (Celosia argentea): Celosia, commonly known as cockscomb, is a unique annual flower with velvety, flame-shaped blooms in vibrant colors like red, orange, and yellow. They thrive in the hot weather and can add an exotic touch to your garden.
And don’t forget to plant annuals that thrive in the milder temperatures of early fall.
This is a great way to add pops of color to your fall garden!
Plant these in late August for fall blooms.
- Pansies (Viola × wittrockiana): Pansies are popular flowers that delvier colorful blooms well into the fall. They come in a range of colors and have charming “faces” on their petals. Pansies prefer cooler temperatures and can tolerate light frost.
- Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum spp.): Chrysanthemums, commonly known as mums or fall mums, are classic fall flowers. They come in various colors and forms, including daisy-like or pompom-shaped blooms. Mums are sturdy plants and can add vibrant colors to your garden in the fall.
- Asters (Aster spp.): Asters are beautiful daisy-like flowers in shades of purple, pink, blue, and white. They bloom at the end of summer and fall. Asters prefer full sun to partial shade and can tolerate cooler temperatures.
These flowers will breathe new life into your garden. As a bonus, they also attract butterflies and other pollinators!
Plant perennials and shrubs with caution this month. Keep plantings moist and shaded. Plant near the end of the month, if possible.
- Consider planting mums, aster, Montauk daisies, and Japanese anemones for stunning fall blooms. Planting these in August ensures they establish robust root systems before winter.
- Plant fall-flowering crocus. They’ll flower in a month or so.
- Plant peonies at the end of this month. Bury their “eyes” no more than an inch or two beneath the soil surface.
August is a great time to divide and replant some perennial plants, allowing them to establish new growth before winter arrives.
Divide and replant columbine, bleeding heart, coral bells, daylily, hardy geranium, hosta, bearded iris, oriental poppy, ornamental grasses, garden phlox, and speedwell this month.
Learn how to divide Irises:
Boost your garden’s summer and fall appeal by sowing flower seeds directly in August.
Choose varieties of these flowers that’ll mature before your first fall frost:
Sow seeds of poppies, bachelor’s buttons (Centaurea cyanus), and sweet William (Dianthus barbatus) where you want their blooms next spring.
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Now is the time to design beds and order plants for autumn planting.
Wait until cooler weather next month to plant trees, including fruit trees.
Plant broad-leaved and needled evergreens at the end of the month, or wait until next month if the weather is hot and dry.
Order spring-flowering bulbs for fall planting.
- Place small stakes in your garden where tulips, narcissus, lilies, alliums, and other fall-planted bulbs will go.
- Note your plan for that area on the stake.
Mid-August through mid-September is the best time to seed bare lawn areas, overseed thinning grass, or lay down sod in areas that have a winter season.
- Broadcast grass seed. And apply a starter fertilizer. Follow the package directions for proper application rates.
- Cover the seeds with loose straw (or an erosion blanket for large areas) to prevent wind or bird damage to seeds.
- Keep the soil moist until the seeds germinate.
Consider hiring a professional or renting a slit-seeding machine to oversee an entire lawn. It automatically drops seeds into small slits it makes in the soil. Or wait until next month and overseed when you have your lawn aerated.
You’ll always know what to do when!
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What will you be planting this August?
Now that you know which vegetables, herbs, and seeds to sow and grow in August, it’s time to get your garden ready for a bountiful harvest!
You’ll enjoy sunflowers that reach for the sky and crunchy lettuce in no time!
Before you leave…
Did I miss any important August planting tasks?
Do you have any favorite seeds to sow in August?
Let me know in a comment below!
Hi, I’m Cheryl Spencer, a Certified Gardener.
Born with a plant addiction that has no known cure, I became a Certified Gardener to help ease the symptoms. Now I write articles and create gardening products that help you save time and money in your garden. I believe you can grow your dream garden and still have time to enjoy it. The good news? Anyone can do it. Start here »