The dog days of summer are hot, too hot for many flowers. Depending on where you live and the local climate, it may be tough to keep things growing in summer. The grass turns brown and a lot of plants refuse to flower in the heat. If this is a problem you face yearly in your garden, you may just need to find the right plants for hot weather color.
Growing Heat Tolerant Flowers
Growing colorful flowers in hot climates poses certain challenges. A lot of plants go into a type of dormancy when the temperatures soar. An occasional hot day or even week is not that bad. When you live somewhere with extreme temperatures for months though, flowering plants may wilt and dry. When there is no respite from the heat at night, as in regions that are both hot and humid, the effects are even more severe.
If you choose specific flowers for their ability to tolerate heat and provide adequate water, you’ll have much more success in keeping garden color going all summer. Some of the most heat tolerant species are perennials in other climates, but you can use them as annuals just for the summer months when other plants stop flowering.
Choosing Flowers for Hot Weather
Choose flowers to grow during those months that tolerate and even thrive when the temperatures rise such as:
- Lantana – This is a tropical native, so lantana will do well in the hottest, most humid times of the year. You’ll get pretty clusters of small red, orange, yellow, white, and pink blooms that attract pollinators.
- Verbena – Several species of verbena will grow well throughout the summer, providing constant, colorful blooms. It grows in low clumps and spreads vigorously.
- Mexican butterfly weed – Don’t let the name fool you; this is a gorgeous flowering plant. A cousin to the more common butterfly weed, this tropical milkweed plant grows up to 4 feet (1 m.) tall and produces red and gold flowers.
- Vinca – This makes a great annual for hot summer climates. Vinca loves heat and full sun and comes in red, pink, white, and purple shades on stems up to a foot (31 cm.) high.
- Begonia – For shadier spots in the heat, try all types of begonias. These tropical plants love heat, humidity, and dappled sunlight. They come in a range of colors with different foliage and even flower shapes.
- New Guinea impatiens – Like begonias, New Guinea impatiens thrive in shadier parts of the garden and tolerate the heat. Unlike traditional impatiens, they resist mildew diseases and grow into bushier shapes.
- Coleus – The leaves of this plant are the showstoppers, not the flowers. Coleus varieties grow well in the heat and provide a wide variety of colors and patterns.
Other flowers that can tough out the heat while providing show-stopping color include zinnias, petunias, calibrachoa, and cockscomb.