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15 Best Flowers for Summer

Plant these long-lived annual flowers that thrive in heat and humidity.
By Katie Savannah Amos

Angelonia

Angelonia adds a refreshing touch to your summer garden with its lovely spires of bright blooms. This annual (which is actually a perennial in frost-free areas) grows best in full sun and well-drained soil, but tolerates drought like a champ. Because it takes heat and humidity well, angelonia is perfect for beginner or on-the-go gardeners

Trial Garden Tip: Not sure how to incorporate angelonia into your garden? Pair it with mounding partners such as verbena and pentas for fun visual contrast.

Angelonia: Learn more!

Begonias

Give your yard an upgrade with begonias’ beauty and texture. These plants are long-blooming flowers that feature waxy leaves and thick clusters of pink, red, or white blooms nonstop throughout the summer. Many varieties grow equally well in sun or shade. Their resistance to drought and critters such as rabbits make begonias an ideal choice for low-maintenance landscapes.

Trial Garden Tip: Don’t have room for more flowers in your yard? No problem! Begonias look great in hanging baskets and containers.

Coleus

Add depth and texture to shaded beds in your backyard with coleus. Its eye-catching watercolor-style variegation creates beautiful patterns in shades of green, burgundy, scarlet, fuchsia, gold, purple, and red. Coleus creates dimension without a lot of tending. For a coordinated and layered look, plant it with flowers that complement or contrast its leaves.

Trial Garden Tip: Coleus wilts easily when it dries. But don’t worry: it springs back quickly with a little water.

Coleus: Learn more!

Elephant’s Ear

Make a bold statement in your yard with tropical elephant’s ear. It comes in a range of varieties; some love sun and others need shade. Likewise, some like moist soil and others prefer well-drained ground.

Trial Garden Tip: Moisture-loving, elephant’s ear varieties can live in up to 6 feet of water making them fresh additions to backyard ponds.

Elephant's ear: Learn more!

Evolvulus

Evolvulus is one of the few plants that shows off true-blue blooms. Also called blue daze flower, it grows best in full sun and well-drained soil, and flowers throughout the summer. Though evolvulus is a champ at tolerating drought, you may find it flowers even more if given a little water during dry spells.

Trial Garden Tip: Backyard feeling a little bare? Evolvulus is lovely perennial groundcover in frost-free climates.

Euvolvulus: Learn more!

Graptophyllum

Give your garden a regal, exotic look with graptophyllum. Its lush foliage comes in an endless combination of greens, pinks, silvers, and purples -- making it as versatile as it is easy to grow. Plant graptophyllum in full sun or part shade and keep the soil moist. Encourage new growth by pruning graptophyllum every few weeks.

Trial Garden Tip: You can grow graptophyllum indoors by placing it near a sunny window.

Graphytophyllum: Learn more!

Lantana

From the time I started gardening, I’ve gravitated toward lantana’s tropical-colored flowers. This heat-loving charmer features clusters of blooms in shades of red, pink, orange, yellow, and white. Plant lantana in full sun and water when the soil dries (if you forget to water every once in a while, don’t worry! Lantana is drought tolerant.). Lantana’s cowboy-tough attitude and southern belle style make it an ideal pick for yards and gardens.

Trial Garden Tip: Butterflies love its nectar-filled blooms. Plant lantana by your windows so you and your family can enjoy these visitors from indoors!

Lantana: Learn more!

Mandevilla

Why wander when you can plant a paradise in your own backyard? Mandevilla is a tropical vine that shows off large blooms in red, pink, and white. It grows in well in full sun or part shade and appreciates moist soil (but tolerates drought well). This colorful climber is perfect for planting near trellises or fences; it makes for a beautiful living privacy screen, too!

Trial Garden Tip: Mix and match mandevillas with hibiscus and palms for an exotic porch or pool space.

Take a look at some of the best Mandevilla varieties available in our Tropic Escape Collection!

Pentas

Add color to your garden with pentas. This lovely little plant offers hydrangea-like clusters of blooms in shades of red, pink, lavender, and white. Plant pentas in full sun and water when soil starts to dry. This hardy heat-lover blooms from spring until fall without much tending.

Trial Garden Tip: Pair your pentas with lantana and butterfly bush to attract lots of butterflies and bumblebees to your yard!

Pentas: Learn more!

Portulaca

Portulaca is a sure winner for your landscape because of its pretty, colorful blooms and drought-tolerant nature. This easy-to-grow plant features bowl-shaped flowers in shades of red, fuchsia, orange, lavender, pink, yellow, and white. Plant portulaca in an area that receives full sun, and water during extended drought. This fast-growing annual appreciates heat and humidity too, and is a reliable summer performer in our Trial Garden in Miami.

Trial Garden Tip: Plant portulaca in containers to make your front porch or steps more welcoming

Portulaca: Learn more!

Scaevola

Commonly used in yards across the country, scaevola is a heat-lover that brightens any bed or container with color. Grow scaevola in full sun or part shade and dry- to- moist soil. This annual is particularly drought tolerant (or forgetful gardeners like myself!).

Trial Garden Tip: White and purple scaevola is the perfect accent to red flowers, such as geraniums.

Scaevola: Learn more!

Persian Shield

Love the exotic? Persian Shield may be for you! It’s sure to make a fantastic addition to your garden. Known for its rich purple leaves, Persian shield is a must-have for choice if you want drama in your beds, borders, or containers. It grows best full sun or part shade and well-drained soil. This tropical is not drought tolerant, so don’t forget to water.

Trial Garden Tip: Persian shield is especially useful because the color comes from the leaves, not the flowers, so you don’t have to worry about it going in and out of bloom.

Impatiens SunPatiens

SunPatiens have been developed specifically to thrive in sun and heat, making them a versatile plant for color in sun or shade. Not sure how to incorporate SunPatiens into your landscape? No worries! Their blooms come in all different shades of coral, red, pink, orange, lilac, lavender, and white, so they fit any color scheme.

Trial Garden Tip: While SunPatiens tolerate sun and heat, they can’t take drought. Keep these beauties evenly moist all the time.

SunPatiens: Learn more!

Sweet Potato Vine

Sweet potato vine is a vigorous grower and a common container plant for gardeners everywhere. Favored for its colorful foliage in a variety of purples and greens, sweet potato vine looks good paired with just about anything. Plant it in full sun for best color, although it also grows just fine in shade. This tropical can withstand dry soil, making it a quick and easy groundcover for busy gardeners.

Trial Garden Tip: Don’t have enough room in your garden or yard for another plant? Sweet potato vine is a great ‘spiller’ in container gardens and hanging baskets.

Vinca

Vinca is another of my all-time favorite annuals! It charmed me with its colorful blooms, as well as its heat and drought tolerance. Use vinca in areas with full sun or shade. It shows off attractive flowers in a wide range of colors, including reds and pinks, lavenders, whites, and even coral.

Trial Garden Tip: Because it’s poisonous, vinca is deer and rabbit resistant.

Vinca: Learn more!


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