Don’t let midsummer be the only explosion of color in your garden. These late summer flowers will bring variety and a rainbow of hues to any garden bed.
While midsummer flowers may be celebrated in poems and songs, there are plenty of late-summer flowers that can add much needed color to your garden. Some of the best summer flowers to plant for late summer and fall color are long lasting flowers that won’t quit and vines that are just getting started when fall arrives.
18 Summer Flowers to Keep Color in Your Garden
Angelonia Angelface® Steel Blue Angelonia hybrid
to partial sun This plant grows best in zones 10-11, although it can be treated as an annual in colder regions. It has an upright spreading habit and can grow 18 to 30 inches tall and 12 to 18 inches wide. This plant prefers full sun to partial sun.
This flower, which resembles a snapdragon, continues to bloom even during the hottest days of summer when other annuals have stopped growing. Angelonia can be massed together with other plants as part of a bedding arrangement, used to line pathways, or placed in a container with other annuals.
‘Goldsturm’ Rudbeckia fulgida
Soil: Well-drained, moist This plant thrives in zones 3-10, with an upright spreading habit that reaches 2-3 feet tall and 1 1/2-2 feet wide. It prefers full sun to partial shade, and well-drained, moist soil.
This plant is known for blooming multiple times over the course of the summer and into fall. It is Hardy in zones 3-7 and prefers full sun, but can also tolerate light shade in hot climates. Black-eyed susan’s signature black center and yellow petals make for beautiful outdoor flowers, and they also work well in autumnal arrangements indoors.
There are three main types of Rudbeckia – Rudbeckia fulgida, Rudbeckia grandiflora, and Rudbeckia hirta. Rudbeckia fulgida is the most common, and can grow to more than 2 feet tall. The dwarf variety, ‘Little Goldstar’, grows to just under 16 inches and looks great in pots with other sun-loving container plants like petunias. R. grandiflora can grow to more than 40 inches high, which is great for mass plantings to attract lots of pollinators. R. hirta often has showier flower hybrids, with colors like deep orange with yellow tips, but is less cold tolerant than the other species.
Canna Lily Toucan® Coral Canna generalis
This plant does well in zones 8-11 and prefers full sun to partial shade. It has an upright habit and can grow 2-1/2 to 4 feet tall and 1-1/2 to 2 feet wide.
This coral-flowered canna lily variety is a perfect addition to your summer garden. With its showy tropical-looking foliage and colorful flowers, it is sure to add a dramatic flair to your landscape. The leaves, which are similar to banana leaves, can be green, colored, striped, or patterned, adding an exotic look to borders and containers.
Pow Wow Wild Berry Echinacea purpurea
This plant does well in zones 4-9, is 16-20 inches tall, and 12-18 inches wide. It prefers full sun exposure.
Thriving in both cold and mild climates, this perennial plant blooms from early summer to fall with long-lasting flowers that attract pollinators.
Coneflowers are a type of flower that come in many different colors, the most popular being purple. They grow best in full sun and do not require a lot of water.
‘Sea Shells’ Cosmos bipinnatus
Soil: Varies, but does best in average, well-drained soils Foliage: Pale blue-green leaves with darker green margins Flowers: Short clusters of white flowers emerge in late spring This is an annual plant that can grow to be 3-5 feet tall and 2 feet wide. It prefers full sun and average, well-drained soils. The leaves are pale blue-green with darker green margins. White flowers appear in short clusters in late spring.
A frequently grown annual for cut flower arrangements, this delicate-looking plant is surprisingly tough. The best part is that it frequently self-seeds for the following year. Sow the seeds directly in the ground in early spring, or start them indoors and transplant them after frost in colder climates. Cosmos come in shades of white, pink, purple, and even deep red.
The chocolate cosmos is another beautiful flower that blooms later in the season. It has deep red flowers that smell like cocoa powder. Plant the tubers in full sun and deadhead the flowers regularly to encourage new blooms.
‘LAUREN MICHELE’ Dahlia
Bloom Time: Yellow flowers in mid- to late spring This plant grows best in zones 8-11, is upright and bushy, and typically 4 to 5 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide. It prefers full sun and yellow flowers bloom in mid- to late spring.
Dahlias are a type of flower that bloom in late summer and can extend into October in milder climates. There is a lot of variety in dahlias, as they come in many colors, shapes, and sizes. The largest dahlias can be up to 15 inches across.
If you want to grow dahlias, you will need to dig them up from the ground each year before it freezes and replant them in the spring. They are prone to powdery mildew, so make sure you water them at the base of the plant, not from overhead. Dahlias can take sun to light shade, especially in hotter climates.
Flowering Tobacco Nicotiana langsdorffii
to part shade Soil: Average garden loam This plant grows in zones 10-11 and is usually only grown for one season in most regions. It has an upright, open habit and grows to be 3-5 feet tall and 1-2 feet wide. It should be grown in full sun to part shade and in average garden loam soil.
Both varieties of flowering tobacco, N. alata and N. sylvestris, are grown as summer annual flowers but can reseed and even overwinter in very mild climates. N. alata grow anywhere from 2 to 4 feet tall with large, very fragrant white flowers that open in the evening. N. sylvestris, which can grow up to 5 feet tall, gets long tubular white flowers that are also intensely fragrant. Both varieties look beautiful in a monochromatic moon garden.
Some other hybrids of flowering tobacco can produce pale pink to bright pink flowers, and sometimes even lime green or dark purple. Most of them open at night, but all of them have a long flowering season spanning from midsummer to fall. You should remove the flowers when they fade, but wear gloves while doing so: the plant and flowers are sometimes sticky. You should also avoid placing it near tomato plants to decrease the risk of infecting tomatoes with tobacco mosaic virus. Flowering tobacco grows in full sun to partial shade.
‘Swingtime’ Fuchsia hybrid
Soil: Average; tolerates light foot traffic Zones 9-11 are good for this plant. It has a trailing habit, is 4 to 12 inches tall, and 18 to 24 inches wide. It does best in part sun to shade and average soil, and can tolerate light foot traffic.
Fuchsia plants are a favorite among mothers on Mother’s Day. They come in many colors, sizes, and forms, with many varieties being able to withstand cold temperatures. The plants that hang down are good for hanging baskets, windows boxes, and containers, while the upright plants can be planted in a bed or mixed border. ‘Swingtime’, which has two colors and ruffled petals, is one of the most popular fuchsias for hanging baskets.
Incrediball® Smooth Hydrangea Hydrangea arborescens
, prefers afternoon shade in hot summer areas This plant does best in zones 3-8, is 4-5 feet tall and wide, and prefers full sun to partial shade (but in hot summer areas it would do better with some afternoon shade).
Few summer flowers are more beloved than old-fashioned hydrangeas. These sturdy shrubs come in a wide range of colors and sizes, from dwarf varieties suitable to small spaces and containers to stately tree forms that make a stunning statement in the landscape. Plant as a stand-alone focal point, in a mixed border, as hedging, or mass along a slope for erosion control. Flowers are exceptional in cut bouquets and dried arrangements.
Sweet Romance® Lavandula angustifolia
This plant does best in full sun and has an upright, open habit that reaches 12 to 18 inches tall and wide. It is hardy in zones 5-9.
In recent years, traditional bedding impatiens have been replaced by New Guinea and SunPatiens® varieties in response to a growing problem with downy mildew. This compact shade-tolerant annual can be grown in containers, borders or massed in the landscape, making it perfect for apartment balconies, patios and small spaces. ColorPower™ Peach Frost is an eye-catching bicolor with large flowers and a long bloom time.
NEW GUINEA IMPATIENS
ColorPower™ Peach Frost Impatiens hawkeri
Color: Vivid pink Soil: Moderately rich, humusy, well-drained; consistent moisture This plant grows best in zones 10-12, but can be treated as an annual in most zones. It is a Compact bushy plant that typically grows 8 to 10 inches tall and 10 to 12 inches wide. It prefers Partial sun to shade and Moderately rich, humusy, well-drained soil with consistent moisture. The flowers are a vivid pink color.
This compact shade-tolerant annual can be grown in containers, borders or massed in the landscape, making it perfect for small spaces. It has large flowers and a long bloom time.
Supertunia® Bordeaux™ Petunia hybrid
Soil: Sandy, loamy soil that drains rapidly Zones 9-11 are best for annual growth, and the plant will be 6-10 inches tall with a 18-24 inch spread. It prefers full sun to partial shade, and sandy, loamy soil that drains rapidly.
If you feed and water your petunias regularly, and keep them in warmer temperatures, they will bloom brightly all summer. They make good bedding plants, and also thrive in containers, window boxes, or hanging baskets. You can find petunias in a wide variety of colors and patterns to suit any taste. They also make good companions for other annuals that have similar needs, such as verbena, lobelia, sweet potato vine, or pelargonium.
QUEEN OF THE PRAIRIE
‘Venusta’ Filipendula rubra
to partial sun Bloom Time: Spring Item # 17463 Zones: 3-9 Height/Spread: Upright spreading habit, 4 to 8 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide Exposure: Full sun to partial sun Bloom Time: Spring Item # 17463 This plant is authority rated for zones 3 through 9 and has an upright spreading habit that make it 4 to 8 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide. It prefers full sun to partial sun exposure and blooms in the springtime. Item number 17463.
This North American plant commonly found on prairies produces foamy, flower plumes in the early to mid-summer. These add height and drama to mixed borders and naturalized landscapes. The plant is elegant on its own, with a deep lobed leaf and an attractive, tall habit. ‘Venusta’ is one of the tallest of this kind of plant, with upward-facing, finger-like leaves and red stems. You can combine this plant with sea holly, catmint, liatris, and ornamental grasses.
ROSE OF SHARON
Summerific® ‘Holy Grail’ Hibiscus hybrid
This plant is best in full sun to partial shade and will grow to be an upright, bushy plant that is 4 to 4-1/2 feet tall and 4-1/2 to 5 feet wide. It is hardy in zones 4-9.
Hibiscus is a flower that can add a tropical feel to your yard. It is an annual or perennial plant that can be grown by itself or with other plants. The Summerific® ‘Holy Grail’ hibiscus is a hardy plant that has scarlet blooms and dark purple foliage. It would make a good accent plant or focal point in your landscape.
‘Mardi Gras’ Helenium
to part shade This plant can grow in zones 4-8, is 3-4 feet tall, 1-3 feet wide, and does best in full sun to part shade.
The ‘Mardi Gras’ plant has cheerful daisy-like flowers that light up the garden in colors of red, orange and yellow from mid to late summer. This native perennial is tough and reliable, perfect for woodlands, meadows, mixed borders and natural gardens. It combines well with black-eyed Susan, Joe pye weed, Russian sage and ornamental grasses. It has variable blooms in solid or brushstroke colors of burnt orange and yellow.
‘Autumn Beauty’ Helianthus annuus
Bloom Time/Color: Mid to late summer, lavender blue Hardiness: Annuals This plant grows best in full sun and will reach a height of 5-6 feet and a width of 1-1.5 feet. It blooms in mid to late summer with lavender blue flowers.
Annual sunflowers are a cheerful and late-blooming favorite summer flower. With colors ranging from Van Gogh-esque yellows to deep red and pale pink, they are known for bringing happiness wherever they grow.
Heirloom varieties ‘Astra Rose Cream’ and ‘Arikara’ sunflower are unique soft pink color with yellow and black centers. The 10-foot-tall ‘Arikara’ sunflower is a native prized by the MHA nation tribe of the same name in North Dakota. These late bloomers need full sun and usually a vertical space to grow. Most sunflowers require some kind of staking or to be tied to a fence or pole to keep them upright during summer storms.
Tiger Flower Tigridia pavonia
The grass is declining in popularity The grass is not as popular as it once was.
This South African bulb is not used often, but it will make a border or container stand out. The blooms are brightly colored with a speckled center. In cooler areas, it can be treated as an annual, or the bulbs can be dug up and stored indoors over the winter to replant the following year.
Magellan™ Scarlet Zinnia elegans
10-12, grown as an annual in most zones
Upright branching habit, 12 to 18 inches tall and 10 to 12 inches wide
Zinnias are a type of flower that bloom all summer and come in a variety of colors including hot pink and deep orange. They last long and can be planted in the beginning of the season. With proper deadheading, they will bloom well into the fall. Zinnias come in a variety of forms, including single, semi-double, double, dahlia, globe, cactus, and even scabiosa.
Zinnias need direct sunlight, nutrient-rich soil, and consistent watering to thrive, but avoid getting the leaves wet when watering as this increases the risk of powdery mildew developing. Fertilize regularly throughout the growing season using a water-soluble all-purpose fertilizer.