This post was most recently updated on April 13th, 2020
If you live in a hot climate but still want to grow your own vegetables and herbs, don’t despair. There are plenty of crops that you can raise and enjoy even if you get super hot in the Summer. Some of the terms on seed packets or plant descriptions that you will want to watch for are “drought-tolerant” and “heat-tolerant” for the best varieties that can grow in hot climates.
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Here are some of our top recommendations of plants that can continue to thrive and produce even in hot and humid temperatures.
Vegetables That Tolerate Hot Climates
If you would like shelling beans and green beans through the summer, then you want to expand your horizons to a couple of different species.
The common green bean does not handle high temperatures and drought very well. However, there are still many other beans that you can grow in high heat.
Asparagus peas or Yard Long Beans love humidity and heat. They are longer and firmer compared to green beans and used quite often in Thai curries.
Lima beans and butterbeans tend to do quite well in humidity and heat as well.
Tomatoes that originate from the deep south of the USA are well suited for the heat.
A few varieties that do very well in hot, humid conditions are the Tropic VFN (bred by the University of Florida) and the Ozark Pink VG (developed by the University of Arkansas). These medium-sized tomatoes offer a very crisp and bright flavor.
Neptune is a medium-large red slicing tomato which was also developed by the University of Florida, is also reliable for humid, hot climates.
Take full advantage of the summer heat by growing varieties of eggplant that need the heat.
Two varieties that both do very well are the Black Beauty and Listada de Gandia. The narrow, long Asian eggplants such as Ping Tun Long produce well in intense heat also.
Bell peppers that are nematode resistant are the best choices for hot weather. Charleston Belle and Carolina Wonder are both great varieties to grow.
Generally speaking, hot peppers thrive in humidity and heat. try tabasco, cayenne or long hot red.
Disease resistance is something you should consider with growing cucumbers and make sure to grow disease-resistant varieties in the heat, as the extra stress can make them more susceptible to illness.
Little Leaf H-19, developed by the University of Arkansas, is well adapted to hot weather and has great disease resistance as well. It is a pickler, and also very delicious sliced in a salad. In places where diseases are an issue, Ashley is a recommended slicer cucumber.
6. Zucchini and Summer Squash
Moschata is a kind of summer squash that grows well in hot climates, especially if you have difficulties growing zucchini and summer squash.
Moschata types produce well right through the hot summer and have a better disease and pest tolerance as well.
7. Pumpkins and Winter Squash
In hot weather Moschata types of pumpkins and winter squash are best. Some of the most productive varieties include Tan Cheese, Waltham Butternut, and Seminole Pumpkin.
Cushaws is a type of squash that is very productive in hot summer weather and their seeds are tasty as well.
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Sweet Passion and Top Mark have extra pest and disease tolerance. Edisto 47 is especially recommended for humid, hot summers where fungal diseases are a problem. Missouri Gold produces very well in hot, dry conditions.
Strawberry Watermelon and Crimson Sweet are great choices where fungal diseases are a problem and conditions are hot and humid.
Select heirloom and older varieties of okra that has deeper root systems.
Those deep roots provide the plants with improved heat and drought tolerance and resistance to nematodes.
However, it also usually takes these varieties longer to mature. Some excellent heirlooms are Beck’s Big Buck and Stewart Zeebest that grow well in the heat.
It can be very hard to grow lettuce in the heat and spinach is practically impossible, however, there are still greens that can be grown in the heat for cooked greens and summer salad.
For cooked greens, turnip greens and Swiss chard are good choices for growing in the heat.
New Zealand summer spinach and sweet potato greens and the young shoot tips and leaves of squash all can be used as cooking greens.
For our salads, a different nutty flavor can be provided by buckwheat leaves.
Grain amaranths such as Mayo Indian are quite productive in humidity and high heat. There are also many heat-loving herbs that can add flavor to your salads, such as basil, dill, anise-hyssop, and Roselle.
Red Malabar summer spinach has slightly succulent crisp leaves that retain their mild flavor in high heat and continue their healthy growth throughout the summer. They are great for salad mixes and cooking greens.
Herbs That Tolerate Hot Climates
There are many herbs that thrive in hot, humid conditions. Here are some of the top ones.
This popular perennial herb that we all associate with Italian food. It comes from Eurasia and belongs to the Mediterranean branch of the mint family.
Oregon is also referred to as wild marjoram and is a relative of sweet marjoram. One of the most popular herbs worldwide, oregano is also a perennial herb that is grown in containers and pots.
This perennial, woody herb is grown all over the world and is among the best-known of all culinary herbs.
A native of the Mediterranean area of the world, in its native climate the only water that is around is the humidity coming from the ocean, which means Rosemary is very drought hardy and heat tolerant once established.
Thyme is another Mediterranean native that is a medicinal and culinary herb that has been used for a wide variety of purposes.
Thyme can grow practically anywhere as long as it gets enough water, even in hot climates.
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