45 Summer Flowers That Stun With the Sun

Fresh cut summer flowers on display at a farmer's market

There's nothing quite as cheerful as a garden full of blooms. Beautiful to look at and also good for pollinators, the summer flower garden is a riot of color and life. With a bit of planning, you can have blooms from early summer straight through until the first fall frost, just by choosing a few plants from each of the lists below.

Early Summer Flowers

These early bloomers are always a welcome sight. While some fade with the heat of midsummer and will need to be replaced with something else, others, like salvia and snapdragon, will re-bloom as long as you remove the spent flowers.

Poppies

Poppies are old-fashioned, cottage garden favorites that self-sow easily so even though they're annual, you'll likely see them popping up in your garden year after year. They bloom from late spring through early summer in shades of orange, red, pink, white, yellow, and purple. They do die back, so you'll have to plant something else in their place once they fade after blooming.

Field of grass plants and poppies

Penstemon

Penstemon is a drought-tolerant perennial that blooms in colorful spikes that grow from nine inches to a whopping five feet tall, depending on variety. In addition to a wide range of heights, penstemon is available in many colors including white, yellow, purple, pink, and red.

The vibrant pink summer flowers of Penstemon

Allium

These ornamental members of the onion family are grown from bulbs planted in fall, and bloom in late spring and early summer. The large, spherical flowers bloom on stalks that grow up to around three feet tall depending on variety, and in shades of pink, purple, and white.

Allium Flowers

Columbine

Columbines are hardy perennials that bloom well in full sun to part shade. They grow to 12 to 18 inches tall and offer a wide variety of bloom colors, including pink, red, yellow, white, and blue. Often, the blooms are bi-colored, with the central petals being one color and the outer ones, known as "spurs," another.

Columbine Flowers in the Field

Delphinium

Delphinium is another old-fashioned garden favorite. Its spikes of blue, purple, pink, or white flowers bloom on stems that grow from eight inches to up to six feet tall depending on variety. While technically a perennial, it's a bit finicky and doesn't always come back reliably, so they're often treated as annuals.

Blue delphinium flowers and roses blooming in summer garden

Iris

Whether you're growing the "bearded" Dutch irises or the smaller, faster-spreading Siberian iris, irises are a wonderful addition to the late spring and early summer garden. They're grown from rhizomes, and will bloom year after year in nearly any color you can imagine.

Purple Iris Blooming Outdoors

Astilbe

If you're looking for an early summer flower for your shade garden, consider astilbe. It has an almost feathery look to the flowers, which vary in shades of white, peach, pink, red, and purple.

Pink astilbe in bloom in a garden

Coreopsis

The bright, sunny blooms of coreopsis start showing up in early summer and, if you deadhead regularly, it'll keep blooming straight through until fall.

Yellow & Red Tickseed

Daylily

When most people think of daylilies, they likely think of the bright orange ones known as "ditch lilies" or of orangey-yellow ones often seen in the parking lots of stores and shopping malls. But daylilies come in a wide variety of colors and sizes. Some are re-blooming varieties, which will bloom from early summer straight through until frost, and others put on one large flush of blooms and then call it quits for the season. Either way, there's a daylily that will work beautifully in your garden.

Red Dailylilies

Cleome

Cleome, also called spider flowers, often take a while to get going in the garden, but once they do, they offer both airy, graceful-looking flowers in shades of pink, white, and violet. They bloom from early summer through frost if you keep them deadheaded, and they attract butterflies as well.

Beautiful Cleome hassleriana in bloom

Salvia

Also known as sages, there are scores of these hummingbird-attracting flowers to choose from, many of which bloom repeatedly throughout the summer months, starting in early summer and going right through until frost, especially if you deadhead them.

  • Mexican bush sage - This is a 4 foot by 4 foot sun-loving perennial with purple spires that is almost indestructible, which survives gracefully in drought and poor soil.
  • Cleveland's sage - Growing 2 to 3 feet tall and 4 to 6 feet wide, this sprawling perennial has whorls of purplish white flowers that appear again and again on its wispy stems, along with richly fragrant foliage.
  • Red annual salvia - This is a small bedding annual plant with crimson red blooms that typically grows about 12 inches tall; cut off the flower stalks as they fade and it will bloom over and over as long as the weather is hot.
Scarlet Sage blossoming

Snapdragon

Snapdragons are annuals that are easy to start from seed and bloom from early to mid summer. They often stop blooming during the hottest part of summer, but will usually put on another flush of blooms in late summer when temperatures cool down a bit. They grow anywhere from eight inches to four feet tall, and you can find them in nearly any color, including bi-colored varieties.

Multi colored snapdragon flowers in soft sunlight in springtime

Dianthus

Also known by the common names "Pinks" or "Sweet William," dianthus is a very fragrant plant that can be grown as an annual or perennial depending on your hardiness zone and the variety. These low-growing early summer flowers are perfect for full sun and bloom in shades of pink, white, salmon, and red.

Pink sweet william

Larkspur

This cottage garden favorite is notable for its soft, pastel shaded blooms. It grows from one to four feet tall and self-seeds readily. For lots of early summer blooms, sow the seed directly in the garden as soon as the soil can be worked.

Larkspur Flower

Mid-Summer Flowers

Often, early summer flowers are still blooming into mid-summer, and when they're joined by these heat-loving flowers, your garden will be full of color and fragrance.

Nicotiana

An annual species that is best enjoyed on a moonlit summer's eve, nicotiana is a tall, rambling plant that is covered in 3-inch white or yellow flowers, with a thin tubular shape that serve as a fountain of nectar for hummingbirds by day.

Flowering tobacco shrub

Yarrow

These perennials, with their white, yellow, or peachy-orange colored blossoms start blooming in mid-summer and will go straight through until frost and even beyond. They also make absolutely wonderful dried flowers for wreaths and everlasting arrangements.

White Yarrow Flowers

Star Gazer Lilies

Blooming in mid- to late summer, these Oriental perennial lilies have knock your socks off perfume and make a long-lasting cut flower, as well. There are numerous white, yellow, pink and spotted varieties to choose from, but be sure to pamper them with the best soil, perfect drainage and ample moisture, as they can be quite finicky to grow.

Pink Stargazer Lillies in Full Bloom

Gaillardia

Also known as "blanket flower," gaillardia has cheerful daisy-like, red, yellow, and orange multi-colored blooms. Once it starts blooming, it won't stop until frost as long as you deadhead regularly.

Gaillardia Blooming Outdoors

Annual Datura

There are various shrubby daturas, but the annual variety is incredibly easy to grow in the heat of summer. Also called angel's trumpet, the flowers are long, tubular and extremely showy, resembling some sort of ornate 17th century instrument. They are typically pure white and are most fragrant at night.

White Annual Datura

Shasta Daisy

When you think of a standard white-petaled daisy with a yellow center, you're likely thinking of Shasta daisies. These perennials put on a flush of bloom in early to mid-summer and grow well in full sun to partial shade. Pinch plants back in early spring to encourage bushy, rather than leggy, growth. If you deadhead, you can extend their bloom time by several weeks.

Daisy flowers

Foxglove

Foxgloves, with their pretty bell-shaped blossoms that often rise tall above the rest of the garden, are another old-fashioned flower. They're grown as biennials or short-lived perennials; you'll have to replant every year or two to ensure that you always have some in your garden. Foxgloves bloom in nearly every color except for very dark shades.

Bumble Bee gathering pollen from foxgloves

Fuchsia

Fuchsia are classic warm weather shade plants, grown as perennials in warm climates and annuals elsewhere. The flowers dangle upside down and look like an intricate costume from some far away land. Their drooping habit makes them a good candidate for hanging baskets, but they can also be staked up to grow in the ground.

Pink and purple fuchsia in bloom in a garden

Lavender

The flower stalks on this wonderfully fragrant herb garden favorite appear in early summer and last for four to six weeks. A second and third round of blooming follows the first, which you can help by dead-heading, the practice of trimming off the spent flowers.

Hailing from dry rocky Mediterranean hillsides, lavender likes full sun and little to no supplemental water or fertilizer, making it one of the easiest summer perennial flowers to grow.

Hand Of Person Holding Lavender Flowers

Coneflower

These sturdy native perennials, and the more recent hybridized introductions, are a wonderful addition to a full sun summer flower garden. Traditionally, coneflowers bloom in light purplish-pink and white, but you can now find them in shades of red, orange, yellow, and even green. They bloom from midsummer through frost, and if you have wild finches in your area, the finches will be drawn to them - the seeds of coneflowers are among their favorites.

Coneflowers in the field

Dahlia

Dahlias are grown from tubers, and in colder zones, must be dug up every year before frost, and then replanted in spring after the soil warms. It's a bit of extra work, but so very worth it. Some varieties of dahlias, known as "dinner plate dahlias," have flowers nearly a foot in diameter, though you can find smaller varieties as well. And you can find dahlias in solid colors and bicolors of nearly any shade you can imagine.

Colored dahlias blooming

Aster

Another carefree summer flower for full sun, asters are shaped like a sunburst and typically purple, though they can also be found in pink or white. Butterflies flock to aster, so you'll also get to enjoy their beauty as well if you plant this tough but gorgeous perennial.

Red Admiral Butterfly in aster flowers

Black Eyed Susan

Black Eyed Susans, also known as Rudbeckia, are daisy-shaped flowers with dark brown or black centers and yellow petals. Some varieties grow quite large, while others are more compact. Black Eyed Susans do best in full sun, but will also grow well in partial shade, and will bloom for weeks at a time from early through late summer, and even into early autumn.

Black Eyed Susan Flower

Late Summer Flowers

People often think of late summer as a time when the garden starts winding down, but the fact is that there are plenty of late summer flowers that really just hit their stride in the hottest part of summer. The flowers listed below will keep your garden full of color, plus if you've been deadheading the flowers that bloomed earlier in the summer, your garden will reward you with a riot of blooms straight through until frost.

Mallow

Mallow blooms in pinks, whites, and soft purple shades and grows anywhere from eight inches to four feet tall depending on variety. It blooms late summer through autumn, and self-seeds readily. Give mallow a spot with full sun to part shade. Pruning the plant back a bit in late spring will give it a bushier shape and more blooms, though it will delay blooming by a couple of weeks.

Pink mallow flowers

Russian Sage

Russian sage isn't a member of the sage family at all, but it does have light bluish-purple blooms that are reminiscent of salvia blooms. This hardy, drought-tolerant perennial grows best in full sun, and will reward you year after year with delicate spikes of its tiny flowers. The blooms are irresistible to bees and butterflies as well.

Russian sage

Sunflower

In many ways, sunflowers are the quintessential late summer flower. They're cheery enough for summer, but have that hint of fall to them that provides a nice bridge between the seasons. And you can find a sunflower for your garden, no matter how large or small your space is, and in a wide variety of colors and shapes.

Field of Sunflowers

Amaranth

Amaranth is another of those late summer flowers that, like sunflowers, also works well into autumn. The blooming part of amaranth will eventually become seed heads, which birds love. Until that point, though, their feathery, soft blooms in shades of red, pink, and yellow add a graceful element to the late summer flower garden.

Beautiful big red amaranth flower

Canna Lily

These are very tropical-looking perennial plants with 1 to 2 foot long thick, glossy leaves and flowers that come in almost every color of the rainbow. The stalks grow from tuberous roots each spring and take all summer long to reach their full height of anywhere from 4 to 6 feet before blooming.

Orange Canna lily at raining season

Chrysanthemums

Mums, as they're so affectionately called, take a while to get to the flowering stage, but they put on a bold display once it arrives. This usually occurs in August or September and lasts well into fall. Mums are compact, low-growing perennials that become completely covered in button-like flowers and are available in an astonishing array of colors.

Chriysanthemums in full bloom on an autumn afternoon

Joe Pye Weed

A native of eastern North America, Joe Pye Weed is another very tall flowering perennial-with stalks up to 9 feet-that takes all summer to reach its glory. When it does, the tips of the plant erupt in dinner plate-sized domes of purple flowers for the butterflies to feast on until cool weather comes.

Eupatorium maculatum flowers

Monkshood

Also called aconite, this tall, slender perennial blooms in late summer with flowers of the deepest purple. Keep in mind that all parts are poisonous, so it is not the best choice for gardens where pets or small children are present. Monkshood likes deep rich soil, dappled sunlight and regular moisture.

Purple Monkshood

Flowers That Bloom All Summer

Some flowers come and go in a few short weeks, but choose from these varieties for reliable season-long blooms.

Petunia

Petunias are gorgeous as an edging to a bed or grown in containers, where they can sprawl and trail as they wish. You can find petunias in just about every color, and modern cultivars don't even need to be deadheaded to keep blooming.

Pink Petunias Blooming Outdoors

Zinnia

These cheery flowers attract butterflies and bees, and bloom from early summer straight through to frost. Just remove spent blooms regularly.

Pink-shaded zinnias

Marigold

Often seen in shades of bright orange and yellow, these pungent-smelling annuals are commonly grown to deter garden pests. But they can be beautiful as well as useful. You can find marigolds in varying shades of yellow and orange, and there are even creamy white marigolds now that look gorgeous in bouquets or in the garden. Deadhead regularly to keep them blooming from early summer until frost.

Orange Marigold Flowers

Impatiens

These shade annuals grow well in beds, pots, or hanging baskets, and you can find them in pastel colors as well as red and white. They bloom from late spring or early summer straight through until frost, and don't need deadheading.

New Guinea Impatiens Flower

Sweet Alyssum

The tiny white flowers of sweet alyssum are pretty edging a garden bed or the edge of a container. They reseed easily, so if you enjoy them, let them go to seed and you'll have them in your garden for years to come. They bloom from early summer until frost.

White Sweet Alyssum

Cosmos

These old-fashioned annuals with their feathery foliage grow to about three feet tall and rebloom all season long, as long as you keep them deadheaded. You can find cosmos in a wide variety of colors, including pink, white, maroon, red, orange, and even bi-colors.

Cosmos flowers in full bloom

Begonia

There are hundreds of begonia varieties, but the one thing they have in common is a tolerance for shady conditions. Though many are perennial plants, in practice most are grown as annuals.

Use them as bedding plants, in hanging baskets or as colorful accents in a shady perennial border. Flower color is all over the map, so you'll have no trouble finding something that fits with your color scheme and many varieties also have colored foliage, making them stand out even more in the shade garden.

Ice begonias

Geranium

The scent of geranium leaves is a sign of summer for some gardeners, and the appearance of these ubiquitous annuals with their cheerful blooms just seems to scream "summer." Geranium flowers come in many colors including white, red, salmon, pink, orange and purple. Just remove the stems of faded flowers to be rewarded with another flush of blooms.

Geranium Pelargonium Flowers

Summer Flower Fun

While summer is a season of boldly-colored flowers, keep in mind that spring is the best time to plant them. Let them get their roots established while the weather is cool and they will reward you in summer with robust growth and a fireworks display of color.

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45 Summer Flowers That Stun With the Sun