Here are seven of my favorite summer flowers that also happen to be fairly easy to grow. If you grow a few of these, you will have a beautiful yard AND flowers to cut and bring inside with only basic maintenance from you!
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The flowers of spring beckon us with their show after months of rain, snow, and gray days – they get our hearts revving up for sure. And the flowers of fall with their rich colors and promise of extending our gardening season definitely have a place, too.
But summer flowers? They get us through the summer doldrums – when we think it’s too hot and nothing outside can tempt us. Oh, but they can. Flowers that power through the summertime help us continue to feel excited about our yards and gardens, allowing us those sweet memories of watering or clipping off spent blooms in the early morning coolness.
So what are the best flowers to grow, then, that will provide blooms in the hottest months? I went back through my garden journal and flower photos and chose seven varieties that I have enjoyed growing. These include a shrub, an annual, and perennials, as well as summer-blooming bulbs, but all have one major selling point – they are E.A.S.Y. to grow.
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Some of these flowers start blooming in the spring and continue through the summer, some bloom in summer only, and some are late-summer into fall bloomers, but all will give you blossoms to see you through.
These are not all the flowers that bloom in summer – most annuals are many people’s backbone of the summer garden – but these are close to set-it-and-forget-it types of flowers. My favorite.
Beautiful Summer Flowers
Daylilies are such a great garden plant. They come in a huge variety of colors – this yellow blossom with a burgundy throat is particularly eye-catching, don’t you think? They’re also plants that provide a grass-like foliage that’s a nice counter-point to other shrubs with broader leaves. Plant them once and they’ll grow and produce blossoms for you for years afterwards.
Unfortunately, I can’t find the name of this variety pictured, though this one is similar. I now mainly will grown the reblooming daylilies like Stella d’Oro and the cultivars they’ve created from this in purple and pink.
Buddleia (‘Butterfly Bush’)
The one shrub I included on the list (because how many lists can I have hydrangeas, lol!) because it’s really known for it’s summertime blooms. I know that in some areas (like us in the PNW), this shrub has been declared a noxious weed for it’s ability to reproduce abundantly. BUT, I grew two bushes in relatively dryer areas of my yard and I never had volunteers. They also tend to die off in cold winters (or older stalks do at least), so I never found them to be invasive.
Also, breeders have come out with nicer-behaved varieties now, including some that are shorter and even ground-cover-like. These include non-invasive dark pink ‘Miss Molly‘ and the ‘Lo & Behold’ series with blue, white, pink, or purple blossoms.
Even though gladiolus always seem a bit gaudy to me, they are one of the quintessential summer flowers. I grew them for a nice tall element in a vase of flowers. Grown from bulbs, I left them to overwinter in my zone 8 garden and they came back stronger ever year.
If not grown around other plants to hold them up, they might need a bit of staking. If you’re not into that (hand raised…), grow them in a cutting garden and clip off the blossoms for indoor blooms and not worry about staking at all!
I love, love, love, sunflowers! They are the one annual that makes the summer list because in my mind it’s just not summer without some sunflowers somewhere, right?
One of my favorites to grow for cutting to bring inside is this ‘Italian White’ pictured above (the petals are actually creamy yellow…). I try to grow them each year but they’re not easy to find, so this is one flower you want to add to your seed starting schedule.
Unfortunately, they aren’t as easy to grow from seed as regular sunflowers. They are a bit fragile and persnickety so sometimes only a couple plants make it to maturity. Just one plant, though, really puts out a lot of flowers so it’s worth it.
I grow classic sunflowers, too, the kind that you can harvest the black seeds from for the birds. I just plant these seeds in the ground in spring and they do the rest of the work by themselves with just water from me when needed.
The bees love the sunflowers and I’m so happy to see them, the sweet little workers!
If you plant the right kind of rose, it can bloom for you spring, summer, and fall. If it’s a landscape rose, you may not even have to deadhead them except to clip blooms for vases. I love a pretty rose, but some are too high-maintenance for me, so if you’re like me make sure to do your research before planting and get one that blooms prolifically, is disease-resistant, and pretty much takes care of itself.
I grew the rose pictured above, ‘Abraham Darby,’ because it was too pretty to resist. It’s a David Austin English Rose that was supposed to combine the best of old (lots of petals and a nice fragrance) with the best of the new (many repeat blooms and disease resistant). It wasn’t resistant to black spot (though I have yet to find a rose that is in the PNW…) and it bloomed on thin canes that drooped with the weight, so I won’t grow this variety again.
What will I grow instead? The Easy Elegance line of roses that were bred to need no chemical treatments like this pretty pink variety and Knockout landscape roses that do not need deadheading and bloom prolifically throughout the entire season.
Sometimes, though, old fashioned roses prove to be pretty low maintenance too. This rose pictured above is a nameless climbing rose that came with our ranch-cottage. It has classic tea-rose like petals and canes that grow to 15-20ft, making it a climber, though with really sturdy stems.
This poor rose was mowed down a couple of times by accident, never watered, dug up and left in a pot with no soil when we built our garage, and still sent out new shoots. I thought anything that determined to live should get a new chance, so I planted it next to the new garage when it was ready. And there it thrived, putting out tons of new blooms every year, spring through fall, as long as I kept it deadheaded.
Dahlias are another summer bulb, though these come in lots of different sizes and shapes (from dinner-plate to patio sized) and even more colors. If you want to mix these in with cut flowers, grab a few neutral colors like the white one pictured – they make great filler flowers.
This particular variety must’ve been a “patio” type, because it was only about 2-1/2 feet tall, but I didn’t pay attention when I bought it. It was showstopper in our front flower bed for a few years because it flowered nonstop from July to October. Pretty much everyone asked about it. Here is a similar one that I found.
The thing with dahlias is that if you live in cold or marginal cold areas you are told to dig up the tubers in the fall to protect them from frost since they will turn to mush if you don’t. I, of course, never bother with that. I mulch them and hope they return, but if they don’t I just buy a few more tubers and treat them as annuals.
This white one lasted about four years I think before being knocked out by a really cold winter (record -11 degrees at one point!). But I still grow them for their one-of-a-kind flowers!
Rudbeckia (‘Black-Eyed Susan’)
I think I like Black-Eyed Susan plants so much because the blossoms remind me of little sunflowers. The perennial plant spreads, but just nicely filling in in my gardens. And it blooms for a good 2 months or more starting in July.
The one thing I found is that they really aren’t very drought resistant like advertised. The leaves drooped in a western-facing flower bed before any of the other plants showed signs of needing water. The plant pretty much grows anywhere, though, even dappled shade (with less blossoms). This is touted to be deer-resistant, so I think it will find a place in our new farmhouse garden – at least I’ll try it!
What are some of your favorite summer flowers?
Other gardening tips to help you through the summer:
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