Now, at the start of summer, is the time to plan for the inevitable dog days to come when you watch the garden fizzle and fade before your eyes. Here are ten easy, fuss-free heat-lovers that stand up to the rising mercury and, not for nothing, add some much needed drama to the mid-to-late summer garden. Use them to fill pots or add in large clumps to an existing bed or border. Come August, you’ll sit in the shade and enjoy the show.
Heat is no match for these fade-proof rosy-purple flowers that bloom from early summer right into fall, without dead-heading! Drought tolerant once established. Full sun. Zones: 3 – 9
With it’s long bloom season and love of full sun and plenty of heat, this North American native is a a real star of the high-summer sunny border. Great for cut flowers, too. Full sun. Zones: 3 – 9
Large, long-lasting silvery-white blooms cover this compact plant until the first frost. Exceptional in containers and as a cut flower. Tolerates drought, heat and humidity. Partial to full sun. Zones: 5 – 9
Not the annual bedding plant, but an evergreen perennial with fragrant purple flowers that are like catnip for butterflies. Beautiful in borders or containers. Full sun. Zones: 7 – 10
You may be familiar with the purple flowering agastache (pretty!) but under the blazing sun, this gold variety simply glows. Tolerates heat and drought. Attracts hummingbirds. Full sun. Zones: 5 – 10
If summer’s hot colors aren’t your style, this bright pink heat-lover stands up to bright, overhead sun without washing out. Compact enough for pots; deadhead after first flush of flowers. Full sun. Zones: 5 – 9
Believe the name! This carefree, shrubby perennial blooms all summer, attracting hummingbirds and butterflies; thrives in heat and drought when established. Full sun. Zones: 6 – 10
An extremely dense, compact, heat-loving shrub that smothers itself in a continuous display of multi-colored flowers which open chiffon yellow and transition to fuchsia pink. Full sun. Zones: 9 – 11 (annual elsewhere)
A touch of purple adds a cooling note to the high-summer garden. This hardy, heat and drought tolerant selection has an improved, sturdy, compact form that does not flop over! Full sun. Zones: 4 – 10
Coreopsis comes in a wide range of colors from pale yellow to deep red so take your pick, but each has the same “Heat? What heat?” tolerance. Attracts butterflies and bees. Partial to full sun. Zones: 5 – 9
You’ve planted, now keep them happy!
- Many plants that are drought-tolerant will require regular water in their first year before becoming established.
- Do not water during the heat of the day even if your plants look really stressed; opt for the cool hours of morning or early evening.
- Many of these plants flower early in the season, continuing into fall. Regular deadheading keeps the flower show happening. Here’s a quick pruning video.
- Mulching is critical for keeping the roots of your plants cool and happy during the heat of summer; reapply if necessary and lay it on thick (2-inches or more).