Top 10 Vegetables to Grow in Hot Summers

Top 10 Vegetables to Grow in Hot Summers

Apr 15th 2024

Vegetable gardening in hot climates can be challenging, especially if you need help understanding your local weather conditions and how your plants interact with your climate. Although summer is considered a gardening season, some veggies cannot withstand the sweltering heat of midsummer. Vegetables like spinach, lettuce, and broccoli love the cool days of spring and fall.

Gardeners who live in the South of the United States or other regions with scorching summers should know which vegetables can tolerate heat. Dry and hot conditions can significantly affect the plant's health. However, by choosing heat-tolerant plants and giving them proper care, you can create a thriving vegetable garden in hot weather.

Thankfully, there are many heat-loving vegetables to grow during summer. In this summer gardening guide, we will discuss the ten best and most common summer crops that thrive in heat and give tips on growing a bountiful vegetable garden.

10 Heat-Loving Vegetables for Your Summer Garden

The key to successful summer gardening is to know what and when to plant. Growing summer vegetables may mean replacing white potatoes with sweet potatoes and switching out spinach for Malabar spinach. Here are the top vegetables that like to soak up the sun in summer and provide bountiful harvests throughout the summer and fall. These vegetables require consistent, deep watering to stay hydrated, so use a drip irrigation system to ensure they receive the adequate moisture they need.

1. Sweet Potatoes

Soil Conditions: Loose, well-drained soil.

When to Plant: March through June or 2-3 weeks after the last frost in your area.

Watering Needs: Water regularly and deeply during dry periods. Avoid excess watering.

Harvesting: 85-120 days

Sweet potatoes are one of the most heat-loving vegetables you can plant in your garden. They are beloved for their delicious flavor and nutritional richness. Plant them when the weather is warm and pleasant for best results. Sweet potatoes also require minimal cultivation when the vines spread across the garden.

They love hot weather and are sensitive to cold. Sweet potatoes are grown from transplants called slips, which are small pieces of rooted tubers. This summer vegetable will grow throughout the hot season until the first frost.

2. Cucumbers

Soil Conditions: Fertile, well-drained soil with a pH of 6-7.

When to Plant: Late February through July.

Watering Needs: Water consistently, about 1 inch per week. Use drip irrigation to avoid overwatering and wetting the leaves.

Harvesting: Harvest when they develop a rich green color and grow six to nine inches long.

Cucumbers are one of the most favorite warm-season veggies among gardeners. They love full sun, and their seeds can germinate and sprout in even three days in hot summer months. When the weather gets scorching, mulching, and maintaining soil moisture is essential.

Plant cucumbers in the summer to eat in salads or make pickles. They are great for cooling and refreshing on a hot day.

3. Peppers

Soil Conditions: Well-draining, moist soil.

When to Plant: Sow seeds indoors two months before the last frost date. Plant outdoors 2-3 weeks after the last frost date.

Watering Needs: Water deeply and infrequently.

Harvesting: Harvest once the fruit reaches its full size and color.

Peppers are another perfect heat-tolerant crop for sweltering gardens. They need warm temperatures to grow and thrive in Hardiness zones 9-11. Thankfully, some pepper varieties can be planted as late as July.

Also, peppers are easy to grow. A few plants can provide a large number of peppers, perfect for homemade salsa or pizza toppings. Avoid overwatering these plants. However, if they start wilting, you can give a gallon of water to each plant.

4. Tomatoes

Soil Conditions: Well-drained, rich soil with pH around 6-6.8.

When to Plant: Start seeds indoors a few weeks before the last frost date.

Watering Needs: Water generously in the first few planting days. Then, water 2 inches per square foot each week during the growing period. Avoid overwatering.

Harvesting: 60-100 days. Harvest when they are firm and turn the right color.

Nothing is more exciting than picking fresh, red, home-grown tomatoes from your garden. Tomatoes need several hot months to produce a delicious harvest. Mulch plants to prevent roots from drying out. They also need consistent watering.

Avoid overwatering because it can cause tomato splitting or cracking. Tomatoes in summer will not turn as red, so pick them when they are orange and allow them to ripen fully on the windowsill.

Related Post: Why Tomatoes Split and How to Prevent It

5. Eggplants

Soil Conditions: Well-draining and well-aerated soil with pH between 5.5-7.5.

When to Plant: Late spring.

Watering Needs: Water frequently.

Harvesting: Harvest when they reach their mature size.

Eggplants love the heat. Like tomatoes and peppers, eggplants thrive in summer and are easy to grow. They need plenty of water, full sun, and moist soil.

Japanese-style eggplants are as delicious and more heat-tolerant. Their purple flowers will add a gorgeous color to your summer garden. If you love eggplant dishes, you must grow your eggplant in the garden. You can plant eggplant with beans, peppers, amaranth, or spinach as a companion.

6. Green Beans

Soil Conditions: A slightly acidic soil with a pH of around 6.0.

When to Plant: March through early July

Watering Needs: Give at least two inches of water per week.

Harvesting: Bush beans mature within 50-55 days, and pole beans reach maturity within 55-60 days.

Green beans are another heat-loving crop that does well in summer and needs full sun to reach full glory. They are easy to grow from seeds and seedlings and quick to mature.

Consider planting bush varieties directly into the garden if you have limited space.

7. Okra

Soil Conditions: Rich, well-drained soil with a pH of around 6.5 to 8.

When to Plant: Late March through May.

Watering Needs: Water in the morning.

Harvesting: 45-50 days after planting.

Okra, also known as lady's finger, is a hot-weather vegetable that grows best in hot and dry conditions. It is easy to grow and super delicious if you harvest it before it becomes woody.

Okra is so heat tolerant that it has become a staple in Southern cuisine. Its plant boasts tall stems with green, finger-like, nutrient-rich pods. Its heat-resistant qualities make it a great addition to the summer garden. It is best to choose a spineless variety to avoid difficulty in harvest. Even with these varieties, it is recommended to harvest okra with garden gloves.

8. Summer Squash

Soil Conditions: Well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. Slightly acidic soil with a pH of around 6-6.8.

When to Plant: Sow seeds indoors 2-3 weeks before the last frost date. Transplant seedlings outdoors when the soil temperature reaches 60 F.

Watering Needs: Water consistently and deeply to maintain even soil moisture. Sandy soils need frequent watering.

Harvesting: 50 days. Pick summer squash when they ripen and reach the size you desire.

Summer squashes, like zucchini, are known to soak up the sun well. Other varieties include patty pan squash, yellow squash, cousa squash, and chayote. All these varieties love the heat and withstand southern summers.

Additionally, summer squashes are known to be prolific producers. They grow fast from both seeds and seedlings, allowing you to harvest a lot of produce before the fall. Due to their high yield, you will have to give them to neighbors at the peak of the season.

9. Southern Peas

Soil Conditions: Loose, well-drained soil and sandy, loamy soil.

When to Plant: Sow seeds outdoors four weeks after the last frost date.

Watering Needs: Water the plant's base and keep the soil moist.

Harvesting: 60-90 frost-free days.

Southern peas, also called cowpeas or field peas, are versatile crops. Originating in Africa, they have adapted to thrive in hot conditions. This vegetable is both heat-resistant and drought-resistant, making it a hardy choice for gardening in hot climates.

Southern peas are eaten like beans when the pods are young before peas mature. Green-shelled peas make an excellent salad topping or delicious side dish. You can store mature and dried peas for months and cook them faster than dry beans.

10. Herbs

No garden and meal are complete without some delectable herbs. Many herbs thrive in hot weather and attract pollinators to the garden. Heat-resistant herbs include Basil, mint, oregano, rosemary, thyme, chives, and cilantro. These herbs are visually appealing and ideal for growing throughout the summer. You can sow seeds directly or purchase potted plants of herbs and grow them in your garden beds. They'll have a lot of time to settle before the cool temperatures arrive.

Related Post: How to Grow Herbs Indoors

Tips to Grow Healthy Vegetables in Hot Climates

These warm-season veggies love the heat but have basic plant needs and require some TLC. When gardening in hot climates, you need to balance regular watering, providing ample sunlight to plants, and not overwatering. Here are some tips for growing successful summer crops.

Consistent Watering

During hot weather, watering your garden twice a day is essential. The best time to water is in the morning and evening to prevent evaporation. Avoid overwatering as it can cause rot and mold or reduce the flavor of some crops.

Use a drip irrigation system to irrigate your vegetable garden. A drip system delivers water directly to plants' root zones and prevents evaporation or runoff. DripWorks carries a vast collection of irrigation products for vegetable gardening.


Apply the layer of mulch at the roots when the seedlings reach at least 4-6 inches tall. Mulch improves water retention, keeps the soil moist, blocks weeds, helps with erosion, and protects plants against pests. It also makes your vegetable beds look aesthetically pleasant.


If plants receive a lot of direct sunlight, you can use row covers or fabric to create shade. If you grow in containers, you can move your garden to receive more shade or light.

Harvest Regularly

Pick the produce as soon as it is ready to help plants produce more fruit and stay productive. When plants are overloaded with fruit for a long time, they get stressed and draw nutrients from new fruit.

The Bottom Line

Grow some of these heat-tolerant veggies to diversify your garden, extend your harvest season, and experience the joy of eating fresh home-grown vegetables all summer. If you're gardening in hot climates like Texas, Arizona, or Southern Florida, you must focus on growing vegetables in your garden that thrive in hot weather.

If you just planted your spring crops, now is the time to go one step ahead and prepare for the hot months. In addition to enjoying spring crops now, start planting your summer crops, too, so you're ready to reap your rewards when summer comes.

For more summer and vegetable gardening tips, read our Gardening Blog.