The Best Long-Flowering Plants for Summer Gardens
When it comes to Southern gardens, we’re often searching for plants that can bring an injection of garden color while also standing up to the sweltering summer heat. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite perennials, some of which can also be grown as annuals, that bloom out during the summer months. These plants can be relied upon for garden color when the temperatures heat up, and, as a bonus, their blooms are hardy and long-lasting. Whether you want to see the flowers when you gaze out your window at the garden or you’re looking for great options for cutting and displaying in vases indoors, we have a few options for you. These are our favorite long-flowering plants for summer gardens throughout the South; some are perennial classics and others are a little more unexpected, but all offer garden color that can’t be beat. Still looking for the right plant for your garden? (Of course, you could always just plant roses.)
Begonias can be grown as annuals or perennials. They produce colorful blooms from spring through fall, often flowering until the first frost. Some cane-type begonias are everblooming.
Learn more about begonia.
This plant, which is also known as yellow coneflower and Rudbeckia fulgida sullivantii 'Goldsturm', blooms throughout the summer months with cheery clusters of bright yellow flowers. Plant these en masse for a wave of vibrancy in the garden.
Learn more about black-eyed Susan.
Also known as Asclepias tuberosa or butterfly milkweed because its flowers attract butterflies, this plant has a long blooming period that extends through the spring and summer months.
Learn more about butterflyweed.
Many varieties of catmint (Nepeta species) bloom from spring to fall and produce small lavender blossoms with aromatic foliage. They are heat- and sun-tolerant additions to herb gardens and cottage-style gardens, plus, they're resistant to most pests.
Learn more about catmint.
Clematis florida 'Sieboldiana’ has long-lasting white and purple blooms in summer, Clematis tubulosa has fragrant blue flowers during the summer months, and Clematis lanuginose blooms in spring and again in summer.
Learn more about clematis.
Coneflowers bloom throughout the summer, often over a lengthy period of time, with some coneflowers beginning to bloom in spring and others producing blooms until the first frost.
Learn more about coneflower.
Coreopsis has a very long blooming (and re-blooming!) season and produces flowers in vibrant yellow, orange, and red hues. It's an easy-care planting that packs major garden color with minimal garden effort.
Learn more about coreopsis.
Dahlia blooms are beautiful and long-lasting. Most varieties begin to flower in the mid- to late-summer months and last through autumn, making them a perfect addition to cutting gardens and a great transition planting for dramatic garden color.
Learn more about dahlia.
Geraniums, also known as pelargoniums, are favorite sources of garden color in the summer. While some wilt in the heat, pelargonium hybrids like the Calliope and Caliente series can stand up to Southern summer swelter. Pelargonium peltatum also has a gorgeous show of summer flowers.
Learn more about geranium.
Hibiscus blooms over a long period during the summer months, and its flowers attract garden visitors such as butterflies and hummingbirds.
Learn more about hibiscus.
The big, bright flowers of the hollyhock (Alcea species) appear in summer. The plant produces funnel-shaped blooms in a wide variety of shades—including bubblegum pink and buttercream yellow—and it can reach heights ranging from 6 to 9 feet tall.
Learn more about hollyhock.
The Southern-favorite hydrangea produces big eye-catching blooms come summertime. The flowers appear in shades ranging from pink to blue—and the hues change depending on the pH of the soil in which the hydrangea is planted.
Learn more about hydrangea.
Bright and cheerful marigolds flower in summer and appear in shades of orange, yellow, and burgundy. Marigold flowers last a long time when cut and kept in vases too. The bloom season is even longer when marigold is grown as an annual.
Learn more about marigold.
New developments in landscape petunia hybrids ensure that these bloomers can withstand the heat of Southern summers. Across the region, they can be relied upon to bloom from spring to fall, no deadheading needed.
Learn more about petunia.
Both Phlox nivalis and Phlox paniculata flower throughout the summer months, producing small pink and white blooms in large domed clusters.
Learn more about phlox.
Step into a Southern garden, and you’re likely to spy eye-catching snapdragons. Their spiky summertime blooms can usually be relied upon for summer color in the mild climates of the Middle and Upper South, though they can bloom in winter and spring in other areas.
These bloomers fill fields and grow up tall and towering in the summer months, their cheery yellow faces stretched up to the sun. While annual sunflowers are the most popular variety, there are also perennial sunflowers you can plant to ensure blooms year after year. Check out our how-to for growing sunflowers in your garden this season.
Learn more about sunflower.
Drought-tolerant yarrow blooms in white-and-yellow clusters in summer. This garden color appears alongside the plant’s pleasingly aromatic foliage.
Learn more about yarrow.
While often grown as annuals, some zinnias are perennial in the South. Their distinctive blooms appear in spring and fall and add a rainbow of color to the garden.
Learn more about zinnia.