Every item on this page was hand-picked by a House Beautiful editor. We may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.
Sure, summer can be hot and muggy, but that doesn't mean your garden has to look drab and wilted. Many summer flowers are perfectly suited to the soaring temperatures, and they're easy to grow, too. Whether you plant in garden beds, containers, or window boxes, adding flowers to your landscape attracts pollinators such as hummingbirds, creates instant curb appeal, and will make you happy every time you pull into your driveway or sit on your balcony.
You should include both annuals (plants that grow for one season) and perennials (plants come back for many years) in your garden for season-long color. When shopping, read the plant tag or description so you know what you're buying, and then give it the right conditions. For example, full sun plants need six or more hours per day, while part sun is considered about half that. Shade plants require no direct sunlight or only a little morning sun.
With perennials, make sure to choose those in your USDA Hardiness zone (find yours here). And if you’ve planted in containers, check pots daily during dry spells, especially as the plant gets bigger and uses more water. Containers, especially porous materials such as clay or ceramic, dry out more quickly than plastic, so there may be times you'll need to water more than once a day during the height of the summer.
Ahead, our favorite annuals and perennial summer flowers for show-stopping color all growing season:
If you choose just one summer flower, make it calibrachoa. This vining annual loves the sun, comes in tons of colors, and attracts hummingbirds. It's great in planters, hanging baskets, or window boxes.
These tiny flowers love sun! You can plant them in your garden, or use them to fill in cracks in walkways. The low-growing flowers come in pink, salmon, purple, white, and yellow. Bonus: They boast a honey-like fragrance. They'll tolerate some afternoon shade.
This tough-as-nails annual comes in bright pink, yellow, purple and pink or a combination of sunny colors. It's heat and drought tolerant, and butterflies and hummingbirds like it, too! In warm climates, lantana may survive winter and become a small shrub. Plant it at the front of sunny borders or in window boxes and planters.
Nothing can beat cannas for sheer visual impact. Their gorgeous leaves and striking flowers in bold colors bloom all summer in full sun. This tropical plant grows well in containers or in the landscape. Their rhizomes (bulb-like structures) may be hardy in zones 8 and warmer, but in other regions, you’ll have to lift them from the ground in fall, store over the winter, and replant in spring.
This low-growing annual succulent, also called moss rose, comes in jewel-tones and flowers and flowers all summer long, even in the driest, hottest weather. Its fleshy leaves make it heat and drought tolerant. Plant it in rock gardens or in the front of borders in full sun.
Spikes of pink, purple or white flowers top fragrant foliage. Pollinators love this full-sun perennial! Salvia is ideal for adding height to containers or when planted in the middle of borders.
Caladiums, which need mostly shade, are grown for their cute pink and green heart-shaped leaves. They look equally striking in the landscape or in containers. Bonus: This tropical plant can be brought indoors in the fall to enjoy as a houseplant.
This sun-loving perennial works in any garden setting, and its silvery foliage is attractive even before the fragrant purple spikes of flowers appear. There are many different varieties, so be sure to read the description and choose a type of lavender that will survive in your USDA hardiness zone.
It's no wonder sunflowers attract bees—they're gorgeous. They require full sun and are drought tolerant. Put them in patio containers, garden beds, or along borders. Yellow sunflowers are iconic, but they're available in many different varieties and colors, including red, orange, salmon, and pink.
Daylilies are as hardy as they come. Their flowers are found in every color of the rainbow, some with ruffled or double petals. As the name suggests, the flower lasts one day, but there are multiple blooms on each plant. Plant in full sun in masses for a spectacular swath of color in mid to late summer. But be aware: They're like deer candy, so don't plant if Bambi visits your garden often.
Brilliant red or orangey-red tubular flowers cover this hardy annual. Cuphea, also called firecracker plant, is a hummingbird magnet. Give it full sun and a large container because it needs room to spread.
This low-growing, sun-loving annual in shades of pink, purple and white is lovely tumbling over the edges of pots and window boxes. Fan flower blooms all summer long without the need to deadhead, or remove spent flowers.
These beautiful flowers that resemble roses or peonies are planted in the spring for summer blooms. They're typically considered perennial in zone 8 and warmer, but they're treated as annuals in colder climates (though you can lift the bulbs in fall and try replanting next year). They need full sun.
Begonias come in many different colors ranging from hot pink to deep red to bright orange. Some are grown strictly for their striking foliage. They’re a reliable performer and will bloom all season long without deadheading. Many types need mostly shade, though some tolerate mostly sun.
These delicate, papery flowers bloom in profusion in deep saturated tones of red, pink and salmon. Plant poppies in the sun in springtime for summer blooms. Some types are annual, while others are perennials, so read the description.
This hardy old-fashioned favorite is a sun-loving annual your grandma probably planted. It's long been popular with good reason: It's nearly indestructible! It resists pests, blooms all season, and will even handle a light frost. It's also one of the least expensive summer flowers you can buy, and it grows well from seed, too.
Calla lillies have striking sword-like foliage and beautiful vase-shaped flowers in purple, pink, white and even nearly black. They're typically grown as annuals. Give them full sun.
Peonies are lush, lavish, and sweetly scented, blooming in late spring. They're a shrubby perennial that can flower for decades with the right care. Don't plant too deeply or they won't bloom. And don't fret about the ants; they're just sipping nectar and don't hurt the plant! Give peonies full sun for the best blooms.
Succulents are heat and drought tolerant, and they come in an amazing array of shapes and sizes. Some have small intricate-looking flowers, but they're often grown more for their fun and unusual forms. Most adore the sun, and many types are cold tolerant so they're considered perennials.
Torenia are one of the longest-blooming annuals you can find in shades of bright purple, pink or white with beautiful yellow throats. Hummingbirds love these flowers, which need mostly shade.
Arricca Elin SanSone has written about health and lifestyle topics for Prevention, Country Living, Woman's Day, and more. She’s passionate about gardening, baking, reading, and spending time with the people and dogs she loves.
Kelly Allen is the current Associate Editor at House Beautiful, where she covers design, pop culture, and travel for digital and the print magazine. She’s been with the team for nearly three years, attending industry events and covering a range of topics. When she’s not watching every new TV show and movie, she’s browsing vintage home stores, admiring hotel interiors, and wandering around New York City. She previously worked for Delish and Cosmopolitan. Follow her on Instagram.
Incandescent Bulbs Are Officially Now Banned
Funboy Is Having a Big Sale (up to 40 Percent Off)
16 Backyard Bars That Serve Up Major Inspiration
26 Treehouse Ideas Your Kids Will Love