53 Summer Flowers: Your Guide to a Vibrant Garden

Caroline Gilbert
Written by Caroline Gilbert
Updated July 21, 2021
gardening summer flowers outdoor table
LukaTDB / E+ / Getty Images

These flower recommendations are exactly what you need to create the summer garden of your dreams

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

Adding a variety of summer flowers to your garden is an ideal way to not only enhance your garden’s look but also to support your ecosystem in hot summer months. Heat-tolerant flowers come in a wide range of beautiful and fragrant varieties that can help boost your curb appeal and backyard aesthetic.

Depending on your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone, certain flowers will make more sense than others. Consulting a local landscaping professional can be helpful, but it’s always preferable to have an idea of what you want in advance. 

The flower suggestions below revolve around summer perennials and annuals you’ll be able to enjoy year after year. There are also helpful tips for flower planting and maintenance. Like any gardening endeavor, it’s helpful to have a solid plan to keep your flower beds blooming in the heat all summer long.

Full Sun Perennials for Summer

When selecting your summer flowers, consider varieties that thrive in direct sunlight and come back year after year. Below, you’ll find a mix of flower styles with various bloom times so you can enjoy some color all summer long.

1. Lemonjade Sedum

lemonjade sedum
Zawinul / Shutterstock

This low-maintenance flower has a beautiful creamy white and yellow bloom, and lasts well beyond the summer. These plants cover a lot of ground but can also reach a generous height. 

  • Scientific name: Sedum acre

  • Climate zone: Zones 3 to 9

  • How often to water: Every 7 to 10 days

2. Black-Eyed Susan

black eyed susan
Eileen Kumpf / Shutterstock

This daisy-like flower handles the heat well and grows quite large with a generous number of blooms. There are multiple varieties, including Cherry Brandy, but the most popular is the vibrant yellow species.

  • Scientific name: Rudbeckia goldsturm

  • Climate zone: Zones 3 to 9

  • How often to water: Every 7 days

3. Russian Sage

Russian sage
loflo69 / Shutterstock

This hearty and dense flowering plant is deer- and rabbit-resistant. The denim and lace variety of Russian sage is especially appealing, with bold, deep blooms that start around mid-summer.

  • Scientific name: Perovskia atriplicifolia

  • Climate zone: Zones 3 to 9

  • How often to water: Every 7 to 10 days

4. Coneflower

cone flower
photoPOU / Shutterstock

By mixing early- and late-blooming flower varieties, you can enjoy these colorful flowers for up to six months. Green Envy, Double Scoop Cranberry, Yellow My Darling, and Tennessee Purple are all bright, fun varieties.

  • Scientific name: Echinacea 

  • Climate zone: Zones 3 to 9

  • How often to water: Every 7 days

5. Speedwells

speed wells
Mike Russell / Shutterstock

Purple Illusion, Pink Potion, and White Wands are just a few of the most popular varieties that can brighten up your garden. These flowers have a tendency to attract beneficial insects and pollinators, which is a great way to help your backyard ecosystem thrive.

  • Scientific name: Veronica spicata

  • Climate zone: Zones 4 to 8

  • How often to water: Every 7 days

6. Delphinium

delphinium
andersphoto / Shutterstock

The height and color of the many varieties of this plant will stand out in any garden, especially Pacific Giant, which can grow up to 5 feet tall. You can expect light blue, mauve, purple, and white blooms in early to mid-summer.

  • Scientific name: Delphinium elatum

  • Climate zone: Zones 3 to 7

  • How often to water: Every 7 to 10 days

7. Pincushion Flower

pin cushion flower
alybaba / Shutterstock

These button-like flowers bloom from wiry stems and attract plenty of pollinators like bees and butterflies. You can’t go wrong with flowers like these.

  • Scientific name: Scabiosa 

  • Climate zone: Zones 3 to 7

  • How often to water: Every 7 days

8. Texas Bluebell

Texas Bluebell
© Suphachai Sinsuebpho

Also known as Prairie Gentian, this flower is similar to a rose but comes in beautiful shades of blue, purple, pink, white, and even pale green. Some varieties are white with a darker shade of blue/purple toward the center of the bloom.

  • Scientific name: Lisianthus

  • Climate zone: Zones 8 to 10 

  • How often to water: Every 7 to 10 days

9. Tickseed

tickseed
weha / Shutterstock

The gorgeous, tiny yellow flowers of tickseed will add life to any garden. It’s also a super easy plant to care for since it thrives in poor-quality soil.

  • Scientific name:  Coreopsis

  • Climate zone: Zones 4 to 10

  • How often to water: Every 7 to 10 days

10. Peony

peony
Elena Elisseeva / Shutterstock

Even though peonies have a short blooming season, their beauty and fragrance are well worth the effort. There are many varieties to choose between—including the Moutan peony, Chinese peony, and wild peony.

  • Scientific name: Paeonia

  • Climate zone: Zones 3 to 8

  • How often to water: Every 10 to 14 days

11. Goldenrod

goldenrod
FamStudio / Shutterstock

These upright perennials are in the same family as sunflowers and have an enticing yellow color perfect for summertime. You’re bound to appreciate the vibrancy of these low-maintenance summer options. 

  • Scientific name: Solidago

  • Climate zone: Zones 3 to 9 

  • How often to water: Every 7 days

12. Snow in Summer

snow in summer flowers
photoPOU / Shutterstock

These delicate white flowers add an irresistible charm to any garden. They’ll likely look best when planted in a large plot of dirt where they can take up space, adding a whimsical feeling.

  • Scientific name: Cerastium tomentosum

  • Climate zone: Zones 3 to 7

  • How often to water: Every 5 to 7 days

13. Jupiter’s Beard

Jupiter's beard
Peter Turner Photography / Shutterstock

This durable wildflower has eye-catching clusters of tiny dark red flowers and thrives with minimal care. You’ll find yourself anxiously looking forward to this perennial every year.

  • Scientific name: Centranthus ruber 

  • Climate zone: Zone 4 to 9

  • How often to water: Every 7 to 10 days

14. Sweet William

Sweet William
Kao BinChun / Shutterstock

This fragrant flower has a stunning blossom that is sure to become a highlight of your garden.

  • Scientific name: Dianthus barbatus

  • Climate zone: Zones 3 to 8

  • How often to water: Every 7 to 10 days

15. Monkshood

Monkshood
Josie Elias / Shutterstock

Naturally found growing in mountain meadows, this dainty wildflower’s purple petals will add a fun splash of color.

  • Scientific name: Aconitum napellus

  • Climate zone: Zones 3 to 7

  • How often to water: Every 7 days

16. Iris

iris
Krzysztof Bubel / Shutterstock

One of the most popular flowers because of its unique petals and rich hues, the iris is also conveniently deer-resistant. Whether you prefer a pink-violet shade or a crisp white with deep purple accents, you’ll be pleased to see this flower appear year after year.

  • Scientific name: Iris germanica or siberica

  • Climate zone: Zones 2 to 10

  • How often to water: Every 7 to 10 days

17. Salvia

salvia
Mojijung / Shutterstock

Whether it’s blue or red salvia, you really can’t go wrong when you group multiple plants together to create a colorful cluster. These plants thrive in full sun and well-drained soil, too.

  • Scientific name: Salvia officinalis

  • Climate zone: Zones 5 to 10

  • How often to water: Every 5 to 7 days

Partial Sun Perennials for Summer

Below, you’ll find shade-loving perennials that benefit from just about four hours or fewer of sunlight a day. These ideas are especially great if you're working with a shaded backyard or a small patio.

18. Hosta

hosta
Sokolova V / Shutterstock.com

There are hundreds of hostas in different sizes and leaf structures. The Coast to Coast and Empires Wu hostas are super hearty.

  • Scientific name: Hosta spp.

  • Climate zone: Zones 3 to 9

  • How often to water: Every 7 to 10 days

19. Blue Wave

blue wave
Mamsizz / Shutterstock.com

This flower, which is reminiscent of a lily, has a captivating color and works well alongside multiple plant species. Plus, it’s animal-resistant, so you won’t have to worry about local wildlife taking a bite out of the blooms. 

  • Scientific name: Agapanthus

  • Climate zone: Zones 6 to 11

  • How often to water: Every 5 to 7 days

20. Hardy Geranium

hardy geranium
Flower_Garden / Shutterstock.com

The two main varieties of geraniums you can choose from include Ann Folkard and Johnson’s Blue. Both have a striking appearance that will stand out from other flowers in your garden.

  • Scientific name: Geranium magnificum 

  • Climate zone: Zones 4 to 9

  • How often to water: Every 7 to 10 days

21. Foxglove

foxglove
NadyaRa / Shutterstock.com

The unique shape of this flower species is sure to be a highlight of your summer garden. Camelot Mix foxglove is one of the most beautiful varieties. 

  • Scientific name: Digitalis

  • Climate zone: Zones 4 to 10

  • How often to water: Every 7 days

22. Japanese Anemone

Japanese anemone
Viktoriia Adamchuk / Shutterstock.com

Like most anemone flowers, the Japanese anemone performs best in evenly-moist, well-drained soil. You’ll find yourself captivated by the dainty yet bold presence of these bright pink blooms.

  • Scientific name: Anemone hupehensis

  • Climate zone: Zones 3 to 8

  • How often to water: Every 7 days

23. Beardtongue

beardtongue
Stanley Ford / Shutterstock.com

Thriving in hot, sunny environments, these wildflowers grow and bloom quickly when planted. Whether you like a deep, saturated magenta or a pale lavender, you have a wide variety of colors to choose between. 

  • Scientific name: Penstemon

  • Climate zone: Zones 3 to 8

  • How often to water: Every 5 to 7 days

24. Lady’s Mantle

Lady’s Mantle
Bankiras / Shutterstock.com

The appealing gray-green foliage of this flower, with its partially round scalloped edges, makes it a summer garden staple.

  • Scientific name: Alchemilla mollis

  • Climate zone: Zones 3 to 7

  • How often to water: Every 7 days

25. Gomphrena

gomphrena
Skyprayer2005 / Shutterstock.com

If you’re looking for a round, visually dominant flower in a wide range of bright, saturated shades, look no further. Keep an eye out for colors like magenta, purple, red, orange, white, pink, and lilac.

  • Scientific name: Gomphrena globosa

  • Climate zone: Zones 7 to 10

  • How often to water: Every 7 days

26. Hydrangea

hydrangea
ryota.www / Shutterstock.com

The clusters of small flowers surrounded by a ring of more prominent flowers make the hydrangea one of a kind. Colors range from white and magenta to sky blue and violet.

  • Scientific name: Hydrangea macrophylla

  • Climate zone: Zones 3 to 9

  • How often to water: Every 7 to 10 days

27. Bleeding Heart

bleeding heart
shutternelke / Shutterstock.com

This flower’s dainty petals truly do resemble a heart and dangle beautifully from lush green stems. These are a popular choice for any yard because they add a pop of memorable color and are a great conversation piece. 

  • Scientific name: Lamprocapnos

  • Climate zone: Zones 3 to 9

  • How often to water:  Every 7 days

28. Tiger Lily

Tiger Lily
elegeyda / Shutterstock.com

The striking orange hue and unique shape of the tiger lily will make it stand out from others in your garden. These are commonly planted in front yards to boost curb appeal with their eye-catching color. 

  • Scientific name: Lilium lancifolium

  • Climate zone: Zones 3 to 9

  • How often to water: Every 7 days

Full Sun Annuals for Summer

Below, you’ll find sun-loving annuals that thrive when exposed to direct sunlight the majority of the day.

29. Verbena

verbena
Kate-Nick / Shutterstock.com

With over 150 different species, verbena is a square-stemmed creeping plant with beautiful, small flowers that bloom from July to September.

  • Scientific name: Verbena officinalis

  • Climate zone: Zones 7 to 11

  • How often to water: Every 7 to 10 days

30. Summer Snapdragon

Summer Snapdragon
klaikungwon / Shutterstock.com

This upright plant is a tropical bush with a long blooming period of its alluring flowers. The curl of the petals is different from any other flower, and the vibrant colors are unforgettable. 

  • Scientific name: Angelonia angustifolia

  • Climate zone: Zones 9 to 11

  • How often to water: Every 7 days

31. Lantana

lantana
ninekrai / Shutterstock.com

This flower species is a part of the verbena family and thrives in extremely hot climates since it’s native to tropical America and Africa. You’ll want to plant these in your front yard to show them off. 

  • Scientific name: Lantana camara

  • Climate zone: Zones 7 to 11

  • How often to water: Every 7 to 10 days

32. Million Bells

million bells
Christynat / Shutterstock.com

This compact plant produces flowers that resemble small petunias and come in a variety of colors. You’ll likely want to plant these in a pot and keep a close eye on soil moisture to make sure you aren’t overwatering or neglecting them.

  • Scientific name: Calibrachoa

  • Climate zone: Zones 2 to 10

  • How often to water: Every 7 days

33. Dahlia

Dahlia
Paul Maguire / Shutterstock.com

In the same family as sunflowers, daisies, and zinnia, the dahlia is one of the most dazzling garden flowers, especially in a rich red or magenta color. The layered petals on the flower make it a summer favorite. 

  • Scientific name: Dahlia pinnata

  • Climate zone: Zones 3 to 7 

  • How often to water: Every 7 days

34. Sweet Alyssum

sweet alyssum
Yui Yuize / Shutterstock.com

Not only do these flowers have a pleasant aroma, but they also provide small, tasteful blooms that make a great addition to a bouquet.

  • Scientific name: Lobularia maritima

  • Climate zone: Zones 7 to 11

  • How often to water: Every 5 to 7 days

35. Begonia

Begonia
Vera Konkevich / Shutterstock.com

Annual begonia care is pretty simple—the main thing you need to do is make sure the soil stays moist. Begonias look especially beautiful when planted in clusters. 

  • Scientific name: Begonia x semperflorens-cultorum

  • Climate zone: Zones 3 to 9

  • How often to water: Every 5 to 7 days

36. Pentas

Pentas
TualekPhoto / Shutterstock.com

These interesting flowers feature fuzzy green leaves and clusters of red, white, pink, and purple blooms. You’re bound to fall in love with the tiny five-pronged petals.

  • Scientific name: Pentas lanceolata

  • Climate zone: Zones 9 to 11

  • How often to water: Every 7 days

37. Ageratum

Ageratum
EQRoy / Shutterstock.com

Ageratum flowers bloom from spring until fall with the right care and attention. The breathtaking periwinkle color of the petals is enough for anyone to want to replant them year after year.

  • Scientific name: Ageratum houstonianum

  • Climate zone: Zones 3 to 7 

  • How often to water: Every 7 to 10 days

38. Zinnia

Zinnia
Iulianna Est / Shutterstock.com

Zinnias are resilient in many conditions, but ideally, they’re planted in rich, well-drained soil. Be sure to try deadheading, or removing dead flowers from plants, to allow the plant to bloom more frequently.

  • Scientific name: Zinnia elegans

  • Climate zone: Zones 2 to 11

  • How often to water: Every 7 days

39. Sunflower

Sunflower
ahorizon / Shutterstock.com

Sunflowers just scream summer. They often grow up to 8 feet tall, depending on the variety and their soil and water conditions.

  • Scientific name: Helianthus annuus

  • Climate zone: Zones 4 to 9

  • How often to water: Every 7 to 10 days

Partial Sun Annuals for Summer

The annual flowers below benefit from about four hours of sunlight exposure per day but don’t do well under relentless heat.

40. African Marigold

African Marigold
suprabhat / Shutterstock.com

Marigolds have pom-pom-like blooms in bright colors such as orange, so they’re sure to be a bold addition to any summer garden.

  • Scientific name: Tagetes erecta

  • Climate zone: Zones 2 to 11

  • How often to water: Every 5 to 7 days

41. Pansy

Pansy
nadia_if / Shutterstock.com

Pansies are in their prime in late spring/early summer. Their eye-catching color patterns make them perfect for adding curb appeal. 

  • Scientific name: Viola tricolor

  • Climate zone: Zones 6 to 11

  • How often to water: Every 7 days

42. Gerbera Daisy

Gerbera Daisy
Note On The Earth / Shutterstock.com

These bright yellow flowers love the sun but need a break from the direct heat. They also thrive when they are 12 to 18 inches apart—this gives them some breathing room. 

  • Scientific name: Gerbera jamesonii

  • Climate zone: Zones 8 to 11

  • How often to water: Every 7 days

43. Fuchsia

Fuchsia
PaulSat / Shutterstock.com

The characteristic color of these flowering shrubs will stand out from the rest of your summer garden. Be sure to plant them in well-draining soil.

  • Scientific name: Fuchsia magellanica

  • Climate zone: Zones 6 to 7

  • How often to water: Every 7 days

44. Impatiens

Impatiens
Try_my_best / Shutterstock.com

These small, extremely colorful annuals are sure to add streaks of color to your summer flower bed. These flowers are planted as annuals in most regions except tropical, warm regions.

  • Scientific name: Impatiens walleriana

  • Climate zone: Zones 2 to 11

  • How often to water: Every 5 to 7 days

45. Cosmos

Cosmos
nipastock / Shutterstock.com

This small-to-medium-sized flower is a part of the daisy family. White, yellow, lavender, magenta, and orange are all common color varieties that pop in any summer garden.

  • Scientific name: Cosmos bipinnatus

  • Climate zone: Zones 2 to 11

  • How often to water: Every 5 to 7 days

46. Periwinkle

Periwinkle
Akhilesh Sarfare / Shutterstock.com

These hardy, low-maintenance light blue-lavender flowering plants are conveniently pest-resistant. 

  • Scientific name: Vinca minor

  • Climate zone: Zones 7 to 9

  • How often to water: Every 7 days

47. Mexican Sunflower

Mexican Sunflower
KAMChokE / Shutterstock.com

If you’re a fan of bright, saturated yellows and oranges, you won’t be able to resist the daisy-like blooms of the Mexican sunflower.

  • Scientific name: Tithonia rotundifolia

  • Climate zone: Zones 9 to 11

  • How often to water: Every 7 to 10 days

48. Four O’Clocks

Four O’Clocks
tamu1500 / Shutterstock.com

Also known as “Marvel of Peru” plants, four o'clocks march to the beat of their own drum and don’t open until late in the day. They are most frequently bright purple, pink, or red.

  • Scientific name: Mirabilis jalapa

  • Climate zone: Zones 7 to 10

  • How often to water:  Every 7 days

49. Sea Holly

 Sea Holly
M.5thier / Shutterstock.com

This summer flower features steel-blue, thistle-like blooms on branched stems. Sea holly is a great choice as the foundation of a flower bed with other similarly colored larger flowers in the forefront.

  • Scientific name: Eryngium

  • Climate zone: Zones 4 to 9

  • How often to water: Every 7 days

50. Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon
jongholee / Shutterstock.com

These small flowering shrubs have an almost tropical look with multicolored petals that are usually variations of white, red, and pink.

  • Scientific name: Hibiscus syriacus

  • Climate zone: Zones 5 to 9

  • How often to water: Every 7 to 10 days

51. Queen of the Prairie

Queen of the Prairie
Tracy Immordino / Shutterstock.com

This gorgeous flower’s bloom resembles a pink cloud or a handful of cotton candy. These clusters of flowers can blend nicely with a wide variety of other colorful flowers, too.

  • Scientific name: Filipendula rubra

  • Climate zone: Zones 3 to 6

  • How often to water: Every 7 to 10 days

52. Poppy

Poppy
Rhoenbergfoto / Shutterstock.com

Poppies are lovely additions to any summer garden, thanks to their signature red-orange hue. They tend to grow well in almost any type of well-drained soil.

  • Scientific name: Papaver rhoeas

  • Climate zone: Zones 3 to 8

  • How often to water: Every 7 days

53. Gaillardia

Gaillardia
Cristina Ionescu / Shutterstock.com

These small flowers are drought-tolerant and showcase a radiant blend of colors on their petals.

  • Scientific name: Gaillardia aristata 

  • Climate zone: Zones 4 to 8

  • How often to water: Every 7 to 10 days

The examples above are by no means an exhaustive list of flowers, but we hope they at least served as food for thought as you start your summer gardening journey. You might even consider hiring a landscaper who is well-versed in various flower species and how they interact and grow in different regions. 

As you brainstorm ideas for the quintessential summer flower bed, enjoy the infographic below with the top highlights from the flower gardening guide above.

summer flowers guide infographic

(Photos by Elena-Grishina / Shutterstock.com; Alliance Images / Shutterstock.com; kazoka / Shutterstock.com; Molly Shannon / Shutterstock.com; Mariia Boiko / Shutterstock.com; Electric Egg / Shutterstock.com; Flower Studio / Shutterstock.com; Pelevina Ksinia / Shutterstock.com; Scisetti Alfio / Shutterstock.com; Richard Griffin / Shutterstock.com; Mark Herreid / Shutterstock.com; Istomina Olena / Shutterstock.com; Venus Kaewyoo / Shutterstock.com; de2marco / Shutterstock.com; Alena Brozova / Shutterstock.com; Michael C. Gray / Shutterstock.com; Picture Partners / Shutterstock.com; Vilor / Shutterstock.com; Svetlana Foote / Shutterstock.com; Ian 2010 / Shutterstock.com; Stephen B. Goodwin / Shutterstock.com; Vilor / Shutterstock.com; aleksandr shepitko / Shutterstock.com; Scisetti Alfio / Shutterstock.com; haru / Shutterstock.com; AN NGUYEN / Shutterstock.com)

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.