Do you have a summer flower garden?
Summer is a colorful and vibrant season. In some areas of the country, it’s the shortest and mildest season of the year. In others, summer is a seemingly endless slog through a sweltering desert. Despite the vast differences in weather and climate, many people love to grow summer flowers.
For some, flowers are a reminder of nature’s colorful beauty after a long and cold white winter. Flowers are cheerful, bright, and lovely.
Perhaps you have a garden during the summer. You’ve saved space for flowers, even though they aren’t edible. Maybe you use small blooms as dividers between your different types of vegetables, or maybe your whole garden is awash with vibrant flowers every summer.
Are you tired of the same summer flowers every year? Would you like to try some new varieties?
If you want to try something different this year, but don’t know where to start, we have some suggestions. Growing seasons are vastly different across the country, but some flowers will grow anywhere with proper care.
We’ve looked for the prettiest and easiest flowers to care for and compiled a list of suggestions for you. Try some of the flowers on our list if you’re looking to spice up your garden with a punch of something different.
Summer Flowers: Annuals Versus Perennials
In case you don’t already know, flowers come in a couple of different types: annuals and perennials. Annual flowers go through a life cycle and die during the season, while perennials come back every year.
Many gardeners like to plant a mixture of annuals and perennials in their flower beds. The perennials provide structure to the bed, while the annuals can be different each year.
While annual flowers are cheaper than perennials, you must invest more time and effort into their care. You must spend more time before you plant them preparing the soil. Also, if you want a vibrant flower bed every year, you purchase new annuals each growing season.
Perennials, on the other hand, don’t always produce flowers. If they’re newly planted, you might have to wait a few years before they blossom with the kind of colorful flowers you’d like to see. But once they grow and flourish, you’ll have a beautiful flower display every year without having to put in as much effort.
Still, most gardeners plant a combination of annuals and perennials. You may want to do the same.
What Are Zones and Why Do They Matter?
Plant hardiness zones are the next concept you’ll need to learn about if you aren’t already familiar. These are areas that help gardeners figure out what plants will thrive in their area. Each zone is divided according to the lowest average annual winter temperature.
If you look at the map of the plant hardiness zones in the United States, you’ll see the vast range of temperatures in this country. This means it’s difficult to find plants able to grow over all these zones.
When you’re looking for flowers, it’s a good idea to pay attention to what zone you’re in and learn about the plants that will flourish in that zone. We want our recommendations to be as widely applicable as possible since you could be reading this article from anywhere. But keep in mind, not all plants we recommend will grow fruitfully in your area.
It’s important you research your zone and find out which flower species flourish in your area before you purchase plants for your flower bed.
1. Purple Wave Petunia
The Purple Wave Petunia is a hybrid. Unlike standard petunias, it resembles a vine and can grow as well on the ground as in pots or hanging baskets.
This flower is an annual and can be grown in any zone. It needs full sun and regular hydration. The flower is pale pinkish-purple, fading to white near the inside. The blossom is open and delicate. You can use them as a ground cover, a climbing vine, or in pots.
Marigolds are extremely popular flowers. They’re bright gold and orange, with varying color patterns and petal styles. They grow in all zones and require full sun with regular watering.
As a side benefit, these flowers repel pests like flies and mosquitoes. They also last as cut flowers and are extremely forgiving to the beginning gardener. These are upright plants, not a vine, so they do well in the ground or in pots.
3. Profusion Zinnias
Zinnias come in a rainbow of colors and styles. Profusion Zinnias are compact and disease resistant. They grow in full to partial sun and will bloom all season long.
This variety of zinnia is a cross between two other zinnia varieties, and it’s unique because it combines the best features of these two varieties. It’s disease-resistant, drought-tolerant, and easy to care for. As a bonus, these flowers attract butterflies.
These densely packed flowers are great in the ground or in a pot. They come in eight different colors and can be grown from seed.
Gaillardias are the first flowers on our list to be perennials. They come in a variety of styles and flourish in full to mostly full sun. They do well in sandy soils, but not clay. If you have clay soil, gaillardias can be grown in a large pot.
They are extremely hardy and deer resistant. Additionally, they attract butterflies, and the flowers last a long time on the plant as well as when cut. Gaillardias are versatile, too. They can tolerate hot and dry conditions as well as humid ones.
If you’re looking for a perennial to brighten your summer flower bed every year, try a Gaillardia.
5. Black-eyed Susans
Black-eyed Susans grow well in zones 3 through 9. They favor partial to full sun. They’re native to North America, so they grow easily and require little fussing.
The blossoms can be red, orange, or yellow with the trademark dark brown or black center giving them their name. They attract butterflies and bees.
It’s best to grow black-eyed susans from seed. Simply sow them in the good soil of your flower bed. When they thrive, they tend to crowd out other plants, so watch out for this if you want to grow more than one kind of flower in your beds.
6. Purple Coneflower
Purple coneflower is another perennial on our list. It grows in full sun with moderate watering in zones 4 through 9. It can flourish in most soil types, even clay.
Like several others on this list, purple coneflower attracts butterflies, birds, and bees. It’s also deer resistant. This plant is native to North America and produces flowers that make great cut or dried flowers.
Coneflower re-seeds itself every year, so while a single plant can last up to 5 years, you’ll find sprouts in your garden every new season. You can pull them up or replant them.
No list of summer flowers would be complete without the sunflower. These flowers grow in full sun and sandy soil. They’re heat-tolerant, pest-resistant, and native to North America.
Some varieties can grow to staggering heights, but others have been cultivated to be smaller if you want to grow them in pots. They attract butterflies and bees. Additionally, they make great cut flowers.
You can harvest the heads for seeds to be planted the following spring. Simply sow the seeds on fertilized soil once the weather begins to warm up.
How to Prepare Your Soil for Summer Flowers
After you decide which flowers you want to plant, it’s time to prepare your soil for the new arrivals. This is vitally important, especially for any annuals you’re planning on planting.
To prepare the soil, you’ll need to do a couple of things. First, assess the quality of your soil. Is it sandy, hard clay, or something in between? Then, you need to add nutrients to the soil. Regardless of the quality, your soil will benefit from some extra organic matter.
To prepare your flower bed soil for the summer season:
- Weed the Flower Bed: If your bed has been dormant during the winter, you’ll need to pull the weeds and grass runners invading the space.
- Turn the Soil: Once the weeds and grass are removed, add a layer of garden soil from your local hardware store, or compost. Turn the soil with a shovel to mix.
- Level and Rake: Make sure your fresh soil is in an even layer in the flowerbed. Rake
to eliminate large clumps. You’re now ready to plant.
We hope you’re considering the possibilities for your garden this year. The loveliest summer flowers can be in your flower bed this coming season, and your yard will be the colorful focal point of the neighborhood.