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Heirloom Seed Varieties for Extreme Heat Conditions

Q. I’m in Southern California, and it is HOT here, I’m looking for some heat tolerant greens. I saw you have the Malabar Spinach and that’s supposed to be pretty good for zone 9/10… Do you have any recommendations of heat tolerant varieties lettuce, spinach, cucumbers etc. Anything else you can  recommend based on what you’ve seen growing in your garden?

A. Thank you for your patience in awaiting the list. 🙂 We took your requested varieties and expanded our search, deciding to make it a topic to share with all customers who live in extreme heat areas. Thank you for sparking this research! Below the lists, we also have added some links to articles you may find helpful, and some tips that are helpful when gardening in high heat. We hope you find this helpful. May God bless your gardening efforts!

Cucumbers that tend to do better in the heat are:

For lettuces, the most heat tolerant varieties we have are(but should still be planted outside the hottest part of the year in extreme heat climates) :

The other greens that do well( a couple of them you already know) are:

Herbs that do well in the heat are:

Pole beans also do better than most beans in the heat:

Cowpeas do well in hot climates:

Okra loves heat, having originated in Ethiopia:

Eggplant does great in the heat, as well, coming from Asia and India where eggplant is the basis of many delicious recipes:

Tomatoes like heat, too, but some varieties don’t set fruit in higher heat conditions. These varieties tend to handle more extreme heat better:

Radishes can tend to do well in high heat, varieties that are known to be heat tolerant are:

Some beets stand well in more heat:

Many gardeners in extremely hot climates find summer squash/zucchini don’t do well in the high heat. A trick to try is growing moschata winter squash varieties and harvesting them early as a summer squash. You can also use the young leaves and shoot tips of squash for cooking greens. A great variety of winter squash to use as a summer squash is:

For veggies that love heat and all varieties should do well, we recommend:


Other tips that are important for the heat of Summer, most especially in regions with the hottest summers are:

  • Keep soil moist by mulching. A few inches of bark chip, wood chip, pine needles, or leaf mulch bagged in autumn are all good organic choices for feeding the soil as well as conserving water.
  • Vegetables are thirsty, so water regularly yet deeply. Also, water in the early morning or evening to avoid condensation loss at hotter times of day.
  • Remove competition for water by weeding regularly.
  • Don’t overstimulate plant growth by fertilizing during hot weather. Plant roots won’t be able to support the foliage.

13 thoughts on “Heirloom Seed Varieties for Extreme Heat Conditions

  1. Thank you for a wonderful article. I just shared it with a FB group called Zone 9 Northern California (although we get members from all over). I hope more people discover what great service you offer.
    God bless. ❤️

    1. +
      HI Julie,
      Thank you for your comment, encouragement, and sharing our article. We love serving our customers.
      God bless,
      John, Sarah, and Family

  2. I am in a zone 4 area. I wondered what type of veggies are good for my area. We are on top of a mountain and last year was disastrous for all the neighbors I talked to. Too much rain and needed more heat and sun.
    Thank you for anything you can share with me.


    1. +


      Hi Deborah,

      Here is a link that should have some helpful articles in figuring out what you can grow successfully in your area:

      We hope this helps! Thank you, and God bless!
      John, Sarah, and Family

  3. I think this was a very good article! I have planted many of the suggested seeds, with lots of success. And things like cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, iceberg type lettuces, cooler whether plants, and the head lettuce love the cooler nights, it helps them form nice heads. I occasionally will use shade clothes. I plant in spring (mid February for me) and again in September. One of our new favorites is white sweet potatoes. I don’t use any store bought fertilizer or insecticides. My husband munches up the fall leaves and I have chickens, along with composting is all the fertilizer they get! Happy gardening everyone! Zone 9 in Florida.

  4. I struggle every year to grow a few veggies and herbs in the Mojave Desert of Southern California, between Palm Springs and Las Vegas. High desert, snow in winter, 115-120F in May, June, July, August, very poor soil. Rainfall, 4 inches/year. Will be facing water rationing in 2 more years. I am committed to saving my bathing water for my vegetable garden .But every year I learn new ways to coax more food out of the soil. I hand-pollinate the tomato blossoms with an electric toothbrush, otherwise, no fruit would set (Black Krim). I look for seeds that do well in Iraq or Iran, such as a tomato whose skin will not crack in extreme heat. My rule of thumb is ‘If it will grow in Afghanistan or West Texas, it will grow here in the Mojave.’ It is even possible to grow short season veggies and harvest before May 1st, when the extreme heat puts an end to home gardening For the most part, fall/winter gardening is my mainstay.
    Every year a new, helpful trick makes itself known. And then, once in awhile, a fantastic article like yours, St. Clare, comes along to keep me going for another few years! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Any and all knowledge is welcome, from anyone. Thank you much.

  5. […] St. Clare Seeds suggests that the Black Beauty Eggplant is a classic heirloom variety that is well-adapted to drought conditions. This variety produces large, glossy fruits that are perfect for grilling, roasting, or frying. The plants are also resistant to many common eggplant pests and diseases. […]

  6. This article is great! It would be wonderful if you could publish an article like this for extreme heat and drought for perennial flowers, zone 9. We are in Central Florida, with 10 acres, and it gets discouraging to keep trying plants and failing. All areas with irrigation are completely landscaped, however we have a large pond that we are now able to enjoy. We are in the process of removing the invasive wild grape vines, and would like some flowers that are not toxic to fish. The banks of the pond are quite high, so drainage is not an issue. We don’t plant lower near the water because of the increase and decrease of the water depth with our droughts and hurricane rains.

    Thank you!

    Kind Regards,
    Deborah T.

  7. Molokhia is a green very popular in the mid east. Also try lamb’s quarter. Oregano, green onions, mint family all have done well taking care of themselves reseeding and coming up again in triple digit dry conditions. The lambs quarter is the only leafy green that survives heat where I am. If you can get a grape vine to grow you can use grape leaves in cooking.

    1. Study what people have been growing in conditions like you have. In the SW, Mexico, mid east, Greece, Sicily, north Africa, Iran, India, etc. My guess is you don’t have a lot of water to work with so whatever hot dry places like yours have had success with.

  8. Wanted to thank you for the wonderful service. Received my order in just a couple of days. Also thank you for the free gift.
    God bless

  9. The Diva cucumber also does very well in extreme heat. I have also had luck with the jarrahdale pumpkin!

  10. Thank you for the great info for southern gardens, i’m just getting started!! God bless!

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