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.
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
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
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)
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).