27 fantastic plants to grow for vibrant summer flowers

mixed summer flowers growing in a garden

Summer flowers are one of the main things that gardeners live for.

And summer is the season when gardens burst into life, showcasing a riot of colours, textures, and fragrances. The warm days and extended daylight hours provide the perfect conditions for a diverse array of flowering plants to reach their peak.

Selecting plants that bloom in summer not only ensures a beautiful garden but also supports local ecosystems. Many summer-flowering plants attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, which are crucial for the health of our environment. Furthermore, the variety in flower shapes, sizes, and colours can add visual interest and create focal points that draw the eye and enhance the overall aesthetic of your garden space.

In this guide, we have curated a list of the best plants for summer flowers. Each plant is selected for its unique characteristics, ease of care, and ability to thrive in summer conditions. From the bright and cheerful marigolds to the exotic and showy bougainvillea, there’s something here to suit every garden style and climate.

Below you’ll find all the key details about these spectacular summer flowers, inluding essential information to help you cultivate them successfully. With the right care, these plants will not only beautify your garden but also bring joy and satisfaction as you watch them flourish throughout the summer months.

1. Marigold (Tagetes spp.)

Tagetes
Tagetes erecta by M. Martin Vicente is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Marigolds are cheerful annuals that bring vibrant colours to any garden. They produce daisy-like flowers in shades of yellow, orange, and red, often with a distinctive musky scent.

Tagetes can be susceptible to slugs and snails, especially as young plants. So it is worth protecting against these pests if possible.

  • Botanical name: Tagetes spp.
  • Plant Type: Annual
  • Hardiness zone: 2-11
  • Flower colour: Yellow, Orange, Red
  • Flower description: Daisy-like, single or double blooms
  • Flowering time: Summer to early autumn
  • Foliage colour: Green
  • Foliage description: Fern-like, aromatic leaves
  • Height and width: 10-36 inches tall, 6-24 inches wide
  • Position: Full sun
  • Soil type: Well-drained, moderately fertile soil
  • Water needs: Moderate

2. Zinnia (Zinnia elegans)

Zinnia
Zinnia garden by Pete Tillman is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Zinnias are robust annuals known for their bright, long-lasting summer flowers. They come in a variety of colours and sizes, making them versatile for garden borders and cut flower arrangements.

  • Botanical name: Zinnia elegans
  • Plant Type: Annual
  • Hardiness zone: 2-11 – frost tender
  • Flower colour: Red, Orange, Yellow, Pink, White, Purple
  • Flower description: Single, semi-double, or double blooms
  • Flowering time: Summer to frost
  • Foliage colour: Green
  • Foliage description: Lance-shaped leaves
  • Height and width: 12-48 inches tall, 12-18 inches wide
  • Position: Full sun
  • Soil type: Well-drained soil
  • Water needs: Moderate

3. Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Echinacea purpurea
Echinacea purpurea by avogel_schweiz is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Coneflowers are hardy perennials prized for their daisy-like flowers with prominent, cone-shaped centres. They are a favourite among pollinators and add a naturalistic wildflower look to your borders.

  • Botanical name: Echinacea purpurea
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Hardiness zone: 3-9
  • Flower colour: Pink, Purple, White, Yellow
  • Flower description: Daisy-like with a central cone
  • Flowering time: Mid-summer to early autumn
  • Foliage colour: Green
  • Foliage description: Coarse, lance-shaped leaves
  • Height and width: 24-48 inches tall, 18-24 inches wide
  • Position: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil type: Well-drained soil
  • Water needs: Low to moderate

Read our complete guide on how to grow Echinacea purpurea.

4. Dahlia (Dahlia spp.)

Dahlia Sylvia - orange dahlias
Image by kind permission of the National Dahlia Society

Dahlias are tuberous perennials that offer various colours and flower forms, from simple daisies to intricate pom-poms. Dahlias are excellent for adding dramatic colour to summer gardens and are often grown for cut flowers.

  • Botanical name: Dahlia spp.
  • Plant Type: Perennial (tender)
  • Hardiness zone: 8-11 (grown as annuals in cooler zones)
  • Flower colour: Various (Red, Pink, White, Yellow, Orange, Purple)
  • Flower description: Single, semi-double, or double blooms
  • Flowering time: Mid-summer to frost
  • Foliage colour: Green
  • Foliage description: Pinnate leaves
  • Height and width: 12-60 inches tall, 12-24 inches wide
  • Position: Full sun
  • Soil type: Rich, well-drained soil
  • Water needs: Moderate

5. Lavender (Lavandula spp.)

Lavandula
Lavendar by vidalia_11 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Lavender is a fragrant perennial herb known for its spikes of purple flowers and silvery-green foliage. It’s perfect for borders, rock gardens, and as a fragrant cut flower.

  • Botanical name: Lavandula spp.
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Hardiness zone: 5-9
  • Flower colour: Purple, Blue, White
  • Flower description: Spike-like clusters
  • Flowering time: Summer
  • Foliage colour: Silver-green
  • Foliage description: Narrow, aromatic leaves
  • Height and width: 12-36 inches tall, 12-24 inches wide
  • Position: Full sun
  • Soil type: Well-drained, sandy soil
  • Water needs: Low

6. Petunia (Petunia spp.)

Petunias
Petunias by drpavloff is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Petunias are popular annuals known for their trumpet-shaped flowers and vibrant colours. They’re great for containers, hanging baskets, and garden beds.

  • Botanical name: Petunia spp.
  • Plant Type: Annual
  • Hardiness zone: 10-11 (grown as annuals elsewhere)
  • Flower colour: Pink, Purple, Red, White, Yellow, Blue
  • Flower description: Trumpet-shaped blooms
  • Flowering time: Spring to frost
  • Foliage colour: Green
  • Foliage description: Oval to lance-shaped, often sticky leaves
  • Height and width: 6-18 inches tall, 12-36 inches wide
  • Position: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil type: Well-drained soil
  • Water needs: Moderate

7. Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

Rudbeckia hirta Black-Eyed Susan
Rudbeckia hirta by gmayfield10 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Rudbeckia hirta are cheerful annual or short-lived perennials that produce golden yellow, daisy-like flowers with dark brown centres. They attract butterflies and bees, adding life to summer gardens.

  • Botanical name: Rudbeckia hirta
  • Plant Type: Perennial (often grown as annuals)
  • Hardiness zone: 3-9
  • Flower colour: Yellow
  • Flower description: Daisy-like with dark centres
  • Flowering time: Summer to autumn
  • Foliage colour: Green
  • Foliage description: Coarse, hairy leaves
  • Height and width: 12-36 inches tall, 12-18 inches wide
  • Position: Full sun
  • Soil type: Well-drained soil
  • Water needs: Moderate

8. Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)

Sunflower
Sunflower by Rose Robinson is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Sunflowers are iconic summer plants known for their dramatic towering stems and large, sun-like blooms. They are excellent for creating a dramatic garden display and attracting pollinators.

Sunflowers are versatile summer flowers, as they come in many sizes and various shades of yellow, gold and orange.

  • Botanical name: Helianthus annuus
  • Plant Type: Annual
  • Hardiness zone: 2-11
  • Flower colour: Yellow, Orange, Red
  • Flower description: Large, daisy-like blooms
  • Flowering time: Summer to early autumn
  • Foliage colour: Green
  • Foliage description: Broad, rough leaves
  • Height and width: 3-12 feet tall, 1-3 feet wide
  • Position: Full sun
  • Soil type: Well-drained soil
  • Water needs: Moderate

9. Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus)

Cosmos bipinnatus
Cosmos bipinnatus by Niccolò Caranti is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Cosmos are delicate annuals that produce a profusion of daisy-like flowers on slender stems, with delicate foliage. They are perfect for wildflower gardens and attract butterflies.

  • Botanical name: Cosmos bipinnatus
  • Plant Type: Annual
  • Hardiness zone: 2-11
  • Flower colour: Pink, White, Red
  • Flower description: Daisy-like blooms
  • Flowering time: Summer to frost
  • Foliage colour: Green
  • Foliage description: Feathery, fern-like leaves
  • Height and width: 18-60 inches tall, 12-24 inches wide
  • Position: Full sun
  • Soil type: Well-drained soil
  • Water needs: Low to moderate

10. Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)

Hydrangea macrophylla
Hydrangea macrophylla – Hortensia hydrangea by Raul654 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Hydrangeas are popular shrubs known for their large, spherical flower clusters that can change colour depending on soil pH. They add a classic touch to summer gardens.

  • Botanical name: Hydrangea macrophylla
  • Plant Type: Perennial shrub
  • Hardiness zone: 6-9
  • Flower colour: Blue, Pink, White
  • Flower description: Large, mophead or lacecap clusters
  • Flowering time: Summer to early autumn
  • Foliage colour: Green
  • Foliage description: Large, serrated leaves
  • Height and width: 3-6 feet tall and wide
  • Position: Partial shade to full sun
  • Soil type: Moist, well-drained soil
  • Water needs: Moderate to high

11. Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum)

Leucanthemum x superbum
Leucanthemum x superbum by Carl E Lewis is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Shasta Daisies are classic perennials that produce large, white, daisy-like flowers with yellow centres. They are perfect for borders and the cutting garden. They flower for long periods over the summer, especially if deadheaded.

  • Botanical name: Leucanthemum x superbum
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Hardiness zone: 4-9
  • Flower colour: White
  • Flower description: Large, daisy-like blooms
  • Flowering time: Summer to early autumn
  • Foliage colour: Green
  • Foliage description: Glossy, lance-shaped leaves
  • Height and width: 12-36 inches tall, 12-24 inches wide
  • Position: Full sun
  • Soil type: Well-drained soil
  • Water needs: Moderate

12. Pelargonium spp.

Summer flowers: Pelargonium
Pelargonium by Sergey Urzhumskov is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Pelargoniums are valued for their brightly coloured, rounded flower clusters and scented foliage. They thrive in containers and garden beds alike. These are classic summer flowers and their hot colours are the essence of summer.

Pelargoniums are sometimes (wrongly in my view) known as geraniums. Read the article linked to for more on the difference between geraniums and pelargoniums.

  • Botanical name: Pelargonium spp.
  • Plant Type: Annual (perennial in frost-free areas)
  • Hardiness zone: 10-11 (grown as annuals elsewhere)
  • Flower colour: Red, Pink, White, Purple, Orange
  • Flower description: Rounded clusters of small flowers
  • Flowering time: Spring to autumn
  • Foliage colour: Green
  • Foliage description: Rounded, often fragrant leaves
  • Height and width: 12-24 inches tall, 12-18 inches wide
  • Position: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil type: Well-drained soil
  • Water needs: Moderate

13. Gladiolus (Gladiolus spp.)

Gladiolus communis
Gladiolus communis by Gere72 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Gladiolus are striking summer bulbs from South Africa known for their tall spikes of large, trumpet-shaped flowers. They add height and drama to summer borders and are excellent for cutting.

  • Botanical name: Gladiolus spp.
  • Plant Type: Perennial (tender)
  • Hardiness zone: 7-10 (grown as annuals in cooler zones)
  • Flower colour: Various (Red, Pink, White, Yellow, Orange, Purple)
  • Flower description: Tall spikes of trumpet-shaped blooms
  • Flowering time: Summer
  • Foliage colour: Green
  • Foliage description: Sword-like leaves
  • Height and width: 24-60 inches tall, 6-12 inches wide
  • Position: Full sun
  • Soil type: Well-drained soil
  • Water needs: Moderate

14. Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)

Hibiscus Rosa Sinensis
Hibiscus Rosa Sinensis by Duy -Thuong is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Hibiscus is a tropical shrub that produces large, showy flowers in different colours. It is a perfect plant for adding an exotic flair to summer gardens.

  • Botanical name: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
  • Plant Type: Perennial shrub
  • Hardiness zone: 9-11
  • Flower colour: Red, Pink, Yellow, Orange, White
  • Flower description: Large, trumpet-shaped blooms
  • Flowering time: Summer to autumn
  • Foliage colour: Green
  • Foliage description: Glossy, ovate leaves
  • Height and width: 3-10 feet tall and wide
  • Position: Full sun
  • Soil type: Well-drained soil
  • Water needs: Moderate

15. Bee Balm (Monarda didyma)

Bee Balm - Monarda

Bee Balm is a vibrant perennial known for its tubular, brightly coloured flowers that attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. It adds a wildflower look to gardens and works well in gardens with a natural perennial planting style.

  • Botanical name: Monarda didyma
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Hardiness zone: 4-9
  • Flower colour: Red, Pink, Purple, White
  • Flower description: Tubular, whorled blooms
  • Flowering time: Summer
  • Foliage colour: Green
  • Foliage description: Aromatic, lance-shaped leaves
  • Height and width: 24-36 inches tall, 12-24 inches wide
  • Position: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil type: Moist, well-drained soil
  • Water needs: Moderate

16. Coreopsis (Coreopsis spp.)

Coreopsis

Coreopsis, or tickseed, is a hardy perennial with bright, daisy-like flowers. It flowers for long periods, adds a strong splash of colour to summer gardens and is attractive to pollinators.

  • Botanical name: Coreopsis spp.
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Hardiness zone: 4-9
  • Flower colour: Yellow, Orange, Pink, Red
  • Flower description: Daisy-like blooms
  • Flowering time: Summer to autumn
  • Foliage colour: Green
  • Foliage description: Fine, thread-like leaves
  • Height and width: 12-36 inches tall, 12-24 inches wide
  • Position: Full sun
  • Soil type: Well-drained soil
  • Water needs: Moderate

17. Salvia (Salvia spp.)

Salvia Amistad
Salvia ‘Amistad’, by cultivar413 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Salvias are a varied genus of plants that can be annuals, tender perennials, hardy perennials or even shrubby perennials. They thrive in hot dry conditions and are valued for their flower spikes in vibrant colours. They are excellent for borders and attracting pollinators like bees and butterflies.

  • Botanical name: Salvia spp.
  • Plant Type: Annuals, perennials and shrubs
  • Hardiness zone: 4-9
  • Flower colour: Blue, Purple, Red, Pink, White
  • Flower description: Spiky flower clusters
  • Flowering time: Summer to autumn
  • Foliage colour: Green
  • Foliage description: Aromatic, lance-shaped leaves
  • Height and width: 12-36 inches tall, 12-24 inches wide
  • Position: Full sun
  • Soil type: Well-drained soil
  • Water needs: Moderate

18. Morning Glory (Ipomoea spp.)

Ipomoea mauritiana Jacq.
Ipomoea mauritiana” by Dinesh Valke is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Morning Glories are fast-growing annual vines known for their trumpet-shaped flowers that open in the morning and close by the afternoon. They are etherial, tropical and excellent for quickly covering trellises and fences.

  • Botanical name: Ipomoea spp.
  • Plant Type: Annual
  • Hardiness zone: 2-11
  • Flower colour: Blue, Purple, Pink, White
  • Flower description: Trumpet-shaped blooms
  • Flowering time: Summer to frost
  • Foliage colour: Green
  • Foliage description: Heart-shaped leaves
  • Height and width: 6-10 feet tall, 1-3 feet wide
  • Position: Full sun
  • Soil type: Well-drained soil
  • Water needs: Moderate

19. Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spp.)

Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea is a tropical vine known for its vibrant, paper-like bracts that surround tiny, inconspicuous flowers. It’s perfect for adding colour to fences, walls, and trellises.

But watch out, Bougainvillea has sharp spines along the length of its stems. So it is easy to get spiked when pruning or handling the plant.

  • Botanical name: Bougainvillea spp.
  • Plant Type: Perennial vine
  • Hardiness zone: 9-11, frost tender
  • Flower colour: Pink, Purple, Red, Orange, White
  • Flower description: Small, surrounded by colourful bracts
  • Flowering time: Summer to autumn
  • Foliage colour: Green
  • Foliage description: Oval to heart-shaped leaves
  • Height and width: 6-30 feet tall, 3-6 feet wide
  • Position: Full sun
  • Soil type: Well-drained soil
  • Water needs: Low to moderate

20. Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ (Black-eyed Susan)

Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii 'Goldsturm'
“Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm'” by F. D. Richards is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ is a reliable perennial that produces masses of golden-yellow, daisy-like flowers with prominent dark brown centres. It is tall, bold and works well in large blocks, when matched with grasses and other perennials, such as Echinacea

  • Botanical name: Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Hardiness zone: 4-9
  • Flower colour: Golden yellow
  • Flower description: Daisy-like with dark brown centres
  • Flowering time: Summer to autumn
  • Foliage colour: Green
  • Foliage description: Rough, lance-shaped leaves
  • Height and width: 24-36 inches tall, 18-24 inches wide
  • Position: Full sun
  • Soil type: Well-drained soil
  • Water needs: Moderate

21. Helenium (Sneezeweed)

Helenium
Photo: Gardening Step by Step

Helenium, or Sneezeweed, is a striking perennial that produces a mass of daisy-like flowers in shades of yellow, orange, and red. Its vibrant blooms and late summer flowering make it a standout in the garden. Deadhead to prolong the flowering season.

  • Botanical name: Helenium spp.
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Hardiness zone: 3-9
  • Flower colour: Yellow, orange, red
  • Flower description: Daisy-like with a prominent central cone
  • Flowering time: Summer to autumn
  • Foliage colour: Green
  • Foliage description: Lance-shaped leaves
  • Height and width: 24-48 inches tall, 18-24 inches wide
  • Position: Full sun
  • Soil type: Moist, well-drained soil
  • Water needs: Moderate

22. Delphinium (Larkspur)

Larkspur flowers, Delphinium elatum
Photo by AndreaA. on Deposit Photos

Delphiniums are tall, elegant perennials known for their impressive spikes of blue, purple, pink, or white flowers. They add height and drama to summer gardens.

Delphiniums flower quite early in teh summerhe so that they are a useful plant to fill the timebetween the spring bulbs and summer flowers.

  • Botanical name: Delphinium spp.
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Hardiness zone: 3-7
  • Flower colour: Blue, purple, pink, white
  • Flower description: Tall spikes of densely packed flowers
  • Flowering time: Early to mid-summer
  • Foliage colour: Green
  • Foliage description: Divided, palmate leaves
  • Height and width: 36-72 inches tall, 18-24 inches wide
  • Position: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil type: Rich, well-drained soil
  • Water needs: Moderate

23. Digitalis (Foxglove)

Collection of foxglove flowers

Digitalis, commonly known as Foxglove, is a biennial or short-lived perennial that produces tall spikes of tubular flowers. These flowers, which can be pink, purple, white, or yellow, add vertical interest to gardens and are beloved by pollinators.

Digitalis naturally occur on woodland edges. They are therefore are a useful plant in that they can thrive in partial shade, as well as full sun.

  • Botanical name: Digitalis spp.
  • Plant Type: Biennial or short-lived perennial
  • Hardiness zone: 4-10
  • Flower colour: Pink, purple, white, yellow
  • Flower description: Tall spikes of tubular flowers
  • Flowering time: Late spring to summer
  • Foliage colour: Green
  • Foliage description: Lance-shaped leaves
  • Height and width: 24-72 inches tall, 12-24 inches wide
  • Position: Partial shade to full sun
  • Soil type: Moist, well-drained soil
  • Water needs: Moderate

24. Clematis (Clematis spp.)

Clematis flowers over green background

Clematis is a diverse group of climbing perennials known for their large, showy flowers. These flowers, which come in a wide range of colours, are perfect for trellises, fences, and arbors, adding vertical beauty to gardens.

Clematis are classified according to their flowering times and pruning regimes. If you grow Clematis from the different groups you can have flowers from early spring to late summer

  • Botanical name: Clematis spp.
  • Plant Type: Perennial vine
  • Hardiness zone: 4-9
  • Flower colour: Various (purple, pink, red, white, blue)
  • Flower description: Large, showy flowers
  • Flowering time: Spring to autumn (varies by species)
  • Foliage colour: Green
  • Foliage description: Opposite, pinnate leaves
  • Height and width: 6-12 feet tall, 3-6 feet wide
  • Position: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil type: Well-drained soil
  • Water needs: Moderate

25. Achillea (Yarrow)

Achillea

Achillea, or Yarrow, is a hardy perennial known for its clusters of small, flat-topped flowers that bloom in a variety of colours. Achillea is perfect for adding texture and colour to summer borders as it flowers over a long period. It is alos highly attractive to pollinators.

  • Botanical name: Achillea spp.
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Hardiness zone: 3-9
  • Flower colour: Yellow, pink, red, white
  • Flower description: Flat-topped clusters of small flowers
  • Flowering time: Summer to early autumn
  • Foliage colour: Green to gray-green
  • Foliage description: Fern-like, aromatic leaves
  • Height and width: 18-36 inches tall, 12-24 inches wide
  • Position: Full sun
  • Soil type: Well-drained soil
  • Water needs: Low to moderate

26. Dianthus (Carnation, Sweet William, Pinks)

Dianthus Chinensis Flowers.

Dianthus includes a wide range of annuals, biennials, and perennials known for their fragrant, frilly-edged flowers. These blooms come in shades of pink, red, white, and purple. They add a classic and delicate touch to your summer flowering border or containers.

  • Botanical name: Dianthus spp.
  • Plant Type: Annual, biennial, or perennial
  • Hardiness zone: 3-9
  • Flower colour: Pink, red, white, purple
  • Flower description: Fragrant, frilly-edged blooms
  • Flowering time: Spring to summer
  • Foliage colour: Green to blue-green
  • Foliage description: Narrow, lance-shaped leaves
  • Height and width: 6-24 inches tall, 6-12 inches wide
  • Position: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil type: Well-drained soil
  • Water needs: Moderate

27. Nepeta (Catmint)

Nepeta Catmint and colorful poppies

Nepeta, commonly known as Catmint, is a hardy perennial known for its spikes of small, tubular flowers and aromatic foliage. It’s perfect for borders, rock gardens, and attracting pollinators.

As the common name suggests, cats love Nepeta – our cat sits himself down right inside the clump. So, Nepeta is best avoided if you don’t want feline visitors.

  • Botanical name: Nepeta spp.
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Hardiness zone: 3-8
  • Flower colour: Blue, purple, white
  • Flower description: Spikes of small, tubular flowers
  • Flowering time: Late spring to autumn
  • Foliage colour: Gray-green
  • Foliage description: Aromatic, ovate leaves
  • Height and width: 12-36 inches tall, 12-24 inches wide
  • Position: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil type: Well-drained soil
  • Water needs: Low to moderate

This a selection of some of the easier-to-find summer flowers and plants. They will add welcome colour to your garden and provide blooms all summer to delight you and attract beneficial pollinators to your garden.

Images licensed from Deposit Photos except where indicated

Love Dahlias?I've written the book on them

Check out my comprehensive step by step guide, with plain language explanations and ultra-useful images and illustrations. This is for you if you love dahlias and want to the best out of the dahlias you grow.

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