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Advice From Franz Witte on Plants to Buy for Pollinators and How to Keep Both Happy During The Summer Heat

Last updated May 03, 2022 by Mariah Hebbeln

For over 50 years, Franz Witte has been southern Idaho's premier Garden Center  and plant educational resource. As summer ramps up, many Treasure Valley residents know that it’s the season for pollinators and the year's hottest temperatures. The heightened temps will also be the most stressful time for your plants. 


Thankfully Franz Witte shared the 3 most important tips to help gardeners care for the flowers, trees, shrubs, and more.   


With the vast and rapid growth throughout Boise, Meridian, Eagle, and beyond, the native ecosystem's natural pollination cycle has been disrupted. Pollination is an essential part of plant growth, and animals such as birds, bats, small mammals, butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, and most importantly, bees and wasps rely on that growth to survive. It's a beautiful yet vulnerable symbiotic relationship. 


If you're looking for plants you can add in your garden or yard to help these local pollinators, Franz Witte gave us an easy-to-shop plant guide that will have your landscaping absolutely buzzing.

Idaho Pollinator-Approved Plants

While humans have been the biggest intrusion on the pollinators who call this land home, there are a lot of simple actions we can take to help them gain back what they've lost. Pollinators and plants rely immensely on one another. The plant's nectar is a vital food source for the animals and bugs, and the flowers, trees, grasses, and bushes' reproduction cycle depends on the movement of the pollinators from plant to plant. 


Here's an easy-to-use shopping guide that you can pick up today at Franz Witte:

Ground Cover

Wild Oregano: 

Produces a pink or white flower, great for bees, great for cooking.


Common Thyme:

Produces a pink or purple flower, great for bees, a common cooking herb.


Agastache ‘Poquito’:

Produces an orange flower, great for bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies, has aromatic foliage, and is drought tolerant.


English Lavender:

Produces an iconic purple bloom, well-loved by bees, butterflies, and moths, has highly aromatic foliage, and blooms until fall.


Scarlet Beebalm:

Produces a striking red flower, great for bees, butterflies, moths, and hummingbirds, it doesn't take long to establish itself in a garden and adds height to your landscaping.


Purple Coneflower:

Produces a white, pink, or purple flower, great for bees, hummingbirds, butterflies, and birds, giving your garden a variety of colors and blooms for a long time. 


Mock Orange ‘Snow Whit’e:

Produces several tiny white flowers, loved by native Idaho bees and birds, and has aromatic foliage.


Butterfly Bush 'Blue Chip Jr': 

Produces blue or lavender blooms; bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies love them; foliage is aromatic, and flowers can last from early summer to mid-fall. 


Feather Reed Grass 'Karl Foerster':

Simple green foliage, great for birds, has excellent movement, and you do not need to cut it back until early spring, so it has winter interest.


Little Bluestem:

During spring and summer, it has a blue-green foliage that turns auburn in the fall, great for birds, butterflies, and moths; many butterflies and moths use this grass as a home for their larvae; it has excellent movement and winter interest. 


Switchgrass 'Shenandoah':

Striking green-burgundy color in the spring and summer that turns to a red-purple in the fall, great for birds, bees, and butterflies, and is a perfect overwintering home for bees and other small pollinators.


Muhly grass 'Pink Cloud': 

Green blade foliage with fluffy, full pink feather blooms, great for birds, bees, and butterflies and a habitat shelter for bees. 


Tips to Help Your Garden Beat the Heat


The average temperature in the Treasure Valley from June to August is 90 degrees, with plenty of 100+ degree days in-between. While many plants in the native Idaho ecosystem have evolved to withstand these conditions, some of the flowers, grasses, trees, etc., used in modern landscaping need extra care and attention through the heat. 


Sadly, Idaho, and especially southern Idaho, is projected to be in a drought in the summer of 2022. With a decrease in water paired with the memory of the historic heatwave of 2021, it's crucial to soak up what information you can to keep your outdoor plants and landscaping happy during the summer months. 


Franz Witte's experts had this advice to share on handling the Idaho heat:

Tip 1: How To Water

The best time to water is in the morning when the air is at its coolest. Water your plants for an extended time so the water can reach deep into the soil. Intentionally water where you believe roots are to not waste water, but also to accurately hydrate the plant. Idaho has a high clay content in the soil, which can be slow to absorb water. Before you begin watering, check the soil moisture levels with a Bond 3-way Soil Meter which tells you the moisture levels, pH, and the amount of light. These meters can be purchased at Franz Witte's nursery. 

Tip 2: How To Mulch

Applying a 2-3 inch layer of mulch helps your beds in many ways. It acts as a shade for the soil below, allowing its temperature not to fluctuate. It holds in the moisture longer from watering, so you do not need to water as often. Bark or mulch eventually decomposes and will add beneficial organic matter to the soil below that boosts its health and nutrient levels. 


These are the bulk and bagged products suggested by Franz Witte:

  • Cascade Compost (Bulk)

  • Supreme Walk-On Shredded Bark (Bulk)

  • Coarse/Regular Bark (Bulk)

  • High Desert Blend (Bulk)

  • EBStone Organics Planting Compost (Bagged)

  • Yard Care Mini Nuggets (Bagged)

Tip 3: Wait to Fertilize or Apply Chemicals 

Encouraging growth in plants with fertilizers and chemicals when temperatures are at their highest can unintentionally harm your plants. Spring is the ideal time to fertilize your outdoor plants.

Fertilizers you apply in the summer are the Osmocote® Smart-Release Plant Food Plus Outdoor & Indoor or the BioPlex® 12-8-8 BIO MYCORRHIZAL Fertilizer Tablets


You should also avoid treating pests and diseases in the hotter temps since the chemicals can further damage the plants that are already under stress. Before the heat comes on, Franz suggests using Bonide® Wilt Stop anti-transparent plant protector, KleenUp Weed 365 Weed & Grass Killer RTU, DuraTurf Crabgrass & Weed Preventer, as well as Monterey® Garden Phos. 


These products are readily available in the garden center at Franz Witte in Nampa. 

Keep Your Home Decor Fresh with Franz Witte

You won't just find plants at the new Franz Witte Garden Center in Nampa. They now offer an incredible line of home decor and gifts that change with the seasons. 


Head out there ASAP to browse their goodies!

Festivals and Workshops Happening This Summer at Franz Witte

The locally owned and operated nursery is passionate about their community just as much as they are about plants. Their in-house experts share their expertise with curious students of all ages every month. These classes range from seasonal topics to trending plant projects and more. They make for great group events, so send the list below to your friends or family to secure your seats before they sell out! 


  • June 18th & 19th - Father's Day Festival 

9 am - 6 pm

  • June 18th - Ancient Faux Pottery Gourd Bowl

$50 entry, 10 am - 12 pm

  • June 25th – Pollinator Month

  • July 30th - Idaho Firewise Class

  • August 13th – Car Show


Head to the Franz Witte events page to learn more about the upcoming festivals or purchase tickets to a workshop,

Franz Witte Events

Learn More About Franz Witte at Our Blog

We are big fans of Franz Witte. Their plant and home decor selection have us heading out to their Nampa location every season. Spring, summer, fall, or winter, Franz keeps an outstanding stock of inside and outside plants, rotating home decor, gifts, and more. They also host various events and workshops to educate you on all sorts of botanical topics. 


Franz Witte in Nampa

Buying Plants in Winter

5 Easy Ways to Care for Spring Plants




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