What to Plant In August: 15 Food, Herbs, Flowers to Grow

Kasey Spencer
What to Plant In August: 15 Food, Herbs, Flowers to Grow

August is a pivotal month for gardeners. As the peak of summer passes, the opportunity to plant a variety of foods, herbs, and flowers arises, perfectly timing your garden to offer a bountiful harvest in the fall. Whether you’re looking to add fresh flavors to your kitchen or brighten your garden with late-blooming flowers, now is an excellent time to sow certain seeds.

In many regions, the weather begins to shift from the intense midsummer heat to milder days, which can be ideal for both plants and gardeners alike. This transition period allows for the successful cultivation of vegetables that thrive in cooler temperatures, aromatic herbs that can rejuvenate your autumn recipes, and vibrant flowers that will extend the colorful display in your garden right through to the first frost. Let’s explore some of the best plants to get into the ground during this promising month.

What to Plant In August

Best Foods to Plant in August

August might feel late in the gardening calendar, but it offers one last opportunity to plant a variety of vegetables for a final, fruitful yield before the year ends. Here’s a list of some top choices to consider:

1. Tomatoes

Tomatoes in the garden
Image: Envato Elements

For gardeners who missed spring planting, fear not—August is your last chance to plant tomatoes. Choose fast-maturing varieties that can develop before the first frost. Planting now can yield a satisfying late harvest, especially in regions with mild autumns.

2. Cucumbers

When to Harvest Cucumbers
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Cucumbers are a great choice for a quick payoff. They require about 50-70 days to harvest, making August a perfect time to start. Ensure they receive plenty of water and shield them from the intense late summer sun with light shading or strategic planting locations.

3. Peppers

Harvesting pepper
Image: Envato Elements

Peppers thrive when planted in mid-summer as they enjoy the warm soil and cooler evenings of late summer. Whether you prefer sweet or spicy, planting peppers now can lead to a robust harvest in the fall. Be mindful of the first frost dates in your area and choose quicker maturing varieties if needed.

4. Zucchini

Zucchini Vegetative Growth
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Zucchini can still be sown in August for those who desire fresh produce into the fall. These plants grow quickly and can produce large yields in a short period. Plant them in well-drained soil and keep them well-watered to ensure they reach their full potential before the cooler weather sets in.

5. Squash

Freshly butternut Squash
Image: Envato Elements

August is also suitable for planting varieties of squash, including butternut and acorn. These plants do well with the diminishing heat and can store beautifully through the winter if harvested before the first frost. Provide ample space for their vines to spread and enjoy their versatile use in autumnal recipes.

Herbs to Start in August

Herbs are not only culinary delights but also fast-growing plants that can quickly adapt to the timing of an August planting. Here are some herbs that can still flourish if planted now, providing fresh flavors right from your garden into the cooler months:

6. Basil

Harvesting basil
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Basil is one of the most beloved culinary herbs and planting it in August can extend its freshness into the autumn. Choose a sunny spot and keep the soil moist. Basil planted now will rapidly mature, allowing you to enjoy its fresh, aromatic leaves in your dishes as the season transitions.

7. Cilantro

Image: Envato Elements

Cilantro grows quickly and prefers the cooler temperatures that late summer and early autumn can offer. Planting cilantro now means you can enjoy fresh leaves within just a few weeks. It’s ideal for those who appreciate its fresh, tangy flavor in soups, salads, and sauces.

8. Parsley

Bunch of parsley
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Parsley is robust and can be planted in August with great success. It prefers full sun to partial shade and requires regular watering. With its deep green leaves and vibrant flavor, parsley can enhance dishes well into the fall and often survives mild winters, offering fresh greens year-round.

9. Dill

Dill growing
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Dill is another herb that can be sown directly into the garden in August. It prefers a bit of the summer’s residual warmth to kickstart its growth. Dill planted now will be ready for harvest in late autumn, perfect for pickling or adding a fresh touch to meals.

10. Mint

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Mint is vigorous and can easily be started in August. It thrives even as the temperature starts to drop and can quickly spread if not contained. Planting mint now ensures you have a steady supply of fresh leaves for teas, desserts, and garnishes throughout the fall.

Flowers to Brighten Your Garden in August

As the high summer heat begins to wane, August is an opportune time to plant flowers that will bloom beautifully into the fall. Here are some excellent choices to add a splash of color and life to your garden during this time:

11. Sunflowers

Image: Envato Elements

Sunflowers are not only quick to bloom but also a joy to watch as they grow. Planting them in August can result in a spectacular display of towering blooms within just a few weeks. They’re perfect for adding height and drama to any garden space, and their seeds can attract birds and other wildlife as the season progresses.

12. Marigolds

Marigolds with green stem
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Marigolds are hardy, and vibrant, and serve dual purposes: beautifying your garden and deterring pests with their potent scent. Planting marigolds in August ensures that their bright orange, yellow, and gold hues illuminate your garden into the fall. They are also excellent companions for vegetables, helping to keep harmful pests at bay.

13. Cosmos

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Cosmos are some of the easiest flowers to grow from seed and can quickly fill your garden with delicate blossoms. Even a late planting in August will yield graceful flowers that sway in the cooler autumn breezes. Their varied colors and heights make them ideal for any garden setting, requiring minimal care for maximum output.

14. Zinnias

Image: Envato Elements

Zinnias are perfect for late summer sowing. They germinate quickly and bloom heavily, providing continuous color and life in your garden until the first frost. With a range of colors and sizes, zinnias can brighten up any space, making it lively and vibrant as the season changes.

15. Asters

Dahlia blooms
Image: Envato Elements

Asters are the heralds of autumn, offering a burst of flowers when many other blooms are fading. Planting asters in August prepares your garden for a spectacular late-season display. They are essential for any fall garden, providing splashes of purple, blue, and pink, and attracting late-season pollinators like bees and butterflies.

Incorporating these flowers into your August gardening plans not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of your garden but also extends the blooming season well into the cooler months, ensuring your garden remains a colorful and inviting retreat.

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