August in the garden

By Lori Murray, Cameron County Master Gardener, Texas Superstar Specialist

August’s flower is the poppy. It represents peacefulness. August babies also have a connection with the gladiolus and its representations of strength and moral integrity. The gladiolus could rival the rose for its association with infatuation as well.

POINSETTIAS Pinch back an inch to encourage the plant to bush. OR If you have not been tipping your poinsettias, cut them back to half their height August 1st. If you have many poinsettias and they are in a bed, cut them two inches, three inches, and four inches to achieve a banked effect. The same thing could be done with poinsettias in pots after you arrange them as you want them. Continue to water and fertilize. (The last pruning or pinching should be done in late August if you want them to flower for Christmas.) Continue to use a systemic designed to ward off aphids and white fly.

PRUNE: Continue tipping chrysanthemums. Cut out sucker growth. Little else.

WATER: Keep plants well watered and mulched where possible to combat the heat.

PLAN: to start a compost heap and/or work compost into the soil now if you plan to have a fall vegetable garden. Refine the plans you’ve been thinking about all summer – make a list of what materials you’ll need.

PLANT: Cuttings of geraniums; zinnia, dianthus, palm trees and other container grown plants. Divide iris.

POSSIBLE BLOOM: ageratum, balsam, celosia, canna, daylily, esperanza, shrimp plant, many annuals, perennials, shrubs and vines.


  • When planting trees, shrubs, flowers and herbs use mulch around the base of the plant to conserve moisture, but keep it away from the trunk of the tree
  • Water anything recently planted once or twice a week and water deeply to get them established
  • Watch for grub worms in your lawns and gardens. Use a granular insecticide.
  • Regularly check for whitefly and aphids, control with a systemic designed to combat them. If you use soapy water be sure to spray the undersides of the leaves.