The brightest flowers of the summer season wait until temperatures rise above 90 degrees to do “their thing”. Like sunbathers on a golden California beach, summer-blooming varieties are best planted when the sun is bright and temperatures are hot. Here are my top 11 flowers that outpace the rest in fragrance and in their ability to flower through the heat of summer.
Black-eyed Susan – The plants thrive in full-sun containers and beds. Their yellow or rusty red flowers with black centers bloom summer through fall and attract birds, butterflies, and beneficial insects.
Butterfly Weed – A hardy plant with beautiful red and yellow flowers that sit atop bright green foliage, butterfly weed is a must-have to attract butterflies to a garden. It can tolerate heavy clay conditions, and is the perfect plant for full- sun areas.
Coneflower - Coneflowers are available in a multitude of colors, from purple to pink, orange, red, yellow, and white. Typically the daisy-like flowers consist of petals surrounding an orange dome-shaped cone. They bloom from spring to fall in full sun, all the while attracting butterflies and bees.
Coreopsis - This is another daisy-like flower with smaller blooms than the black-eyed-Susan and coneflower. It's easy to grow and guarantees an abundance of flowers spring through fall. There are many colors of coreopsis - yellow, orange, pink, maroon, red, and chocolate. The blossoms are like magnets to butterflies, the seeds attract birds.
Dahlia - These blooms are show-stoppers! They have a broad range of flower types, shapes, and many different colors. Dahlias are as tough as they are beautiful. In the hottest areas they should be planted in light shade.
Impatiens – These ever-popular beauties are the workhorses of the shade garden. Their mounding habit can attain a height of 2 feet as they enjoy full to partial shade with regular watering. Impatiens are beautiful when planted in mass plantings in beds, in pots, or in baskets.
Lantana – Clustered atop dark green foliage, these fragrant blossoms bloom in yellow, orange, red, lavender, white and bi-colors. Birds and butterflies love lantana. It needs to be planted in full sun and requires little water once established. Cute as a shrub, ground cover, or in pots.
Lemon Slice Calibrachoa - Calibrachoas are closely related to petunias, and because their profuse blossoms look like mini petunias they commonly are called Million Bells Petunias. The plants become so covered with blooms that their foliage is almost invisible. Lemon Slice has unique yellow and white striped blossoms. Its neat mounding habit makes it perfect for container gardens as well garden beds. Plant in full sun, and it will bloom abundantly all summer.
Salvia - There are many different types of salvia in various sizes and many different colors. All are easy to grow, with most varieties preferring full sun. They attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
Sun Parasol Mandevilla - These new mandevilla vines are bred for their vibrant red, long-lasting blooms. They are extremely easy to grow in full sun, and once established require very little care. Hummingbirds love 'em! The vines are 12 - 15 feet long and are perfect for trailing from hanging baskets and window boxes, and for climbing over trellises and arbors.
Zinnia – Generations of gardeners have been passionate about this favorite summertime flower. The big flowers come in many different colors and are really tough summer blossoms. Plant in full-sun beds and containers where they will attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
Until next issue, I'll see you among the summer-loving flowers here at Watters Garden Center.