Top 10 Heat Friendly Flowers: Flowers for Hot Weather

Pink pentas flowers blooming on a plant
(Image credit: Dani VG)

When summer temperatures soar, heat-loving flowers will continue to thrive. Even heavy humidity won’t get them down. If you live in a warm climate, heat-friendly flowers are a necessity. If time is an issue, choose low maintenance, heat-tolerant flowers that don’t need deadheading or lots of water.

From annuals to perennials, here’s a list of the best flowers for hot weather.

Top 10 Heat Friendly Flowers: Flowers for Hot Weather

Give your heat-loving flowers a head start by working plenty of compost into the planting bed before setting them out. Include a well-balanced fertilizer like 10-10-10 in slow-release granules at planting time.

Here’s our list of the top 10 heat-tolerant flowers for show stopping color all summer:

  1. Butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) – Hardy in USDA zones 3-9, this perennial wildflower is native to the Eastern and Southern United States. Bright orange clusters of flowers bloom off-and-on all summer, attracting pollinators. Milkweed is the only host plant for Monarch butterfly caterpillars. It tolerates drought and poor soils.
  2. Celosia (Celosia plumosa and Celosia cristata) – Annual in USDA zones 2-11, it blooms continuously from June to frost in plume-like flowerheads or cockscomb shapes in orange, red, purple, yellow, or pink. Celosia thrives in hot and humid weather.
  3. Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus and Cosmos sulphureus) – Annual in USDA zones 2-11, cosmos blooms quickly from seed in red, pink, or white with yellow centers, or in shades of yellow, gold, orange and scarlet. Cosmos flowers thrive in heat, drought, and in well-drained, poor soils.
  4. Garden phlox (Phlox paniculata) – Hardy in USDA zones 4-8, phlox is a stalwart in the perennial garden. Blooming from June till frost, this Eastern U.S. native sports pink, purple, lavender or white flowers in compact spheres that attract pollinators. Look for disease-resistant cultivars in humid areas where powdery mildew may be a concern.
  5. Lantana (Lantana camara) – Since it can be invasive, look for sterile varieties of lantana such as the Bloomify series, which don’t produce seed or viable pollen. Hardy to USDA zone 8, all lantanas prefer full sun and heat and can stand up to salt and occasional drought. The multi-colored flower clusters bring butterflies and pollinators to the garden.
  6. Madagascar Periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus) – Hardy in USDA zones 10-11, Madagascar periwinkle is a popular summer groundcover and blooms nonstop in vibrant colors of red, pink, white and lilac with contrasting throats. Thrives in hot, humid weather but needs consistent moisture.
  7. Moss Rose (Portulaca grandiflora) – Annual in USDA zones 2-11, moss rose produces orange, pink, purple, red, yellow, and white rose-like flowers from summer to frost on succulent, creeping stems. It thrives in dry, sandy soil and blooms when other plants struggle in the heat.
  8. Pentas (Pentas lanceolata) – Hardy in USDA zones 10-11, pentas flower best in fertile soils in full sun to part shade. The star-shaped clusters bloom in red, white, pink, and lilac and are a favorite of butterflies and hummingbirds.
  9. Wax begonia (Semperflorens-Cultorum Group) – Hardy in USDA zones 10-11, wax begonias bloom prolifically till frost in red, pink, or white flowers on thick-leaved, compact foliage. Performing well in sun or shade, they are trouble-free and drought tolerant.
  10. Zinnia (Zinnia species) – Annual in USDA zones 2 to 11, zinnia grows quickly from seed in a variety of bright colors, types, and styles including dwarf and giant. Humidity can bring on powdery mildew, so plant disease-resistant varieties. Cut flowers last long in a vase.
Susan Albert

After graduating from Oklahoma State University with a degree in English, Susan pursued a career in communications. In addition, she wrote garden articles for magazines and authored a newspaper gardening column for many years. She contributed South-Central regional gardening columns for four years to While living in Oklahoma, she served as a master gardener for 17 years.