When planning a landscape, choosing the right plant for the right place is always a major factor in the success or failure of the design. In hot climates, designers look for plants that are not only attractive but also heat-tolerant. But not all heat is equal: Reflected or radiant heat from hardscape surfaces, such as streets, walls, driveways and decks, can damage many plants that would normally be considered “heat-tolerant”.
When you’re planting on a south- or west-facing exposure, especially areas surrounded by concrete or against a wall, plants will have to absorb a bigger heat load. Not all heat-loving plants can tolerate the extra heat radiated back to them by the concrete or brick. It’s important to consider plants for these locations that can take the extra heat and still look great.
If you’re looking for a heavy-blooming plant that can take hot sun and plenty of reflected heat, oleanders might be your perfect choice. Oleanders are growing evergreen shrubs that performs beautifully as a landscape anchor plants, natural screens, or planted along highway medians. Standard oleanders flower in shades of red, pink, and white, but other colors and varieties are available. Plants begin blooming in early summer and continue through mid-autumn.
For stunning tropical blooms that can take the heat, we often turn to Mexican Bird of Paradise. This is perfect summer-blooming tree for small urban lots, low-maintenance medians and even large patio planters that receive reflected heat. Their prolific yellow blooms form clusters at the end of the stems and reach up to 6-inches in diameter. The bright blooms attract hummingbirds and butterflies. In preferred climates this tree can reseed freely. Plants are particularly showy when planted en masse. Plants can be used as a small tree, large shrub or even a blooming annual in hot spaces.