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12 Flowers That Bloom All Summer

If you’re looking for the best flowers that offer vibrant color all summer long, check out these dozen no-fail, flowering plants.

Purple Globe Amaranth iStock

No doubt you've heard that a well-designed garden should include plants prized for their striking foliage, as well as some that produce fall color or berries, and others that provide good structure in winter. But let’s face it: most of us want flowers. Lots of them. All the time.

That's where the summer flowering plants below come in. They'll churn out blooms for weeks on end this summer. In most cases, you can harvest armloads to fill vases or give away, and still have plenty left to enjoy in your garden beds long past Labor Day.

Flowers That Bloom All Summer

Perennial Hibiscus (H. moscheutos)

Pink Perennial Hibiscus iStock

Also known as rose-mallow and swamp hibiscus, this garden standout was bred from wildflowers native to the East and South. Huge red, pink or white flowers can be as much as a foot across on stems that range from 2 to 8 feet high, depending on the variety. Flowers bloom from late spring until frost. Stems die back to the ground each winter.

Care: Requires full sun; regular to abundant water. Grows as a perennial in zones 5-10.

Purple Wave Petunia (Petunia F1 'Wave Purple')

Purple Wave Petunia iStock

Before 1995, when this hybrid was named an All-America Selection winner, gardeners thought of petunias as upright plants. Purple Wave petunias (and later Wave introductions in pinks and lilac) are more like vines—perfect for growing in hanging pots, along retaining walls or even as a ground cover.

Care: Requires full sun; regular water. Grows as an annual in all zones.

Profusion Zinnias (Z. hybrida)

Bright red Profusion Zinnias with yellow centers iStock

Grow zinnias if you want to be able to cut armloads of flowers for bouquets and still have a bright band of color alongside a path or a lawn. All zinnias thrive in hot weather, but Profusion zinnias keep on blooming well into fall, whatever the weather.

Profusion White, Orange and Cherry, which have daisy-like flowers, each have won multiple garden awards. If you want fluffy pom-poms, look for double Profusion varieties in cherry, gold, white and "fire," an orange-red.

Care: Requires full sun; regular water. Grows as an annual in all zones.

Globe Amaranth (Gomphrena globosa)

Purple Globe Amaranth iStock

For year-round enjoyment, these clover-like flower heads are hard to beat. The papery flowers last a long time in the garden and in fresh bouquets, and the blooms are easy to dry for use in wintertime arrangements. Depending on the variety, flowers are white, red, pink, lilac or purple. 'Strawberry Fields,' with bright red blossoms, and 'All Around Purple' are two standouts.

Care: Requires full sun to partial shade; moderate water. Grows as an annual in all zones.

Sea Holly (Eryngium)

A group of blue sea holly with a light yellow background iStock

If you want to add contrast to a flowerbed or to fresh or dried flower arrangements, this dramatic spiky plant is a great choice. It resembles thistle, but the flower colors blend in more with the prickly blue-green leaves, which are often streaked with silver. Alpine sea holly (E. alpinum) is a deep steel blue, while E. amethystinum is more silvery blue. Miss Willmott's Ghost (E. giganteum) produces especially striking conical flowers, each surrounded by a wreath of silvery, spikey bracts.

Care: Requires full sun; moderate to regular water. Grows as a perennial in zones 3-8.

Stella de Oro Daylily (Hermerocallis)

Yellow Stella de Oro Daylily iStock

Tough and trouble-free, daylilies produce showy flowers above a mound of sword-shaped leaves. Whether in the garden or in a vase, each blossom lasts just one day; they are daylilies, after all. But each stem holds numerous buds that open on successive days. Low-growing Stella de Oro keeps churning out new stems with a profusion of golden-yellow blossoms for up to five months, far longer than most daylilies.

Care: Requires full sun to light shade; regular water. Grows as a perennial in zones 3-9.

Evergreen Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens)

White Evergreen Candytuft Flowers iStock

Small clusters of delicate white flowers appear in low-growing clumps in spring and continue into the fall. The shiny, dark-green leaves stay on all winter, so the plant remains attractive year-round.

Care: Requires full sun to part shade; regular water. Grows as a perennial in zones 5-9.

Brown-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)

Brown-Eyed Susan iStock

Brilliant yellow or orange flowers with a raised brown polka-dot center stand out in a perennial border. R. hirta varieties bloom from seed the first year and are grown as annuals; in the warmest areas, they're wintertime bloomers.

Most other kinds are perennial and gradually form showy, spreading clumps as hardy as their wildflower ancestors, native to the East. All are good cut flowers as well. One to search out: R. fulgida var. sullivantii 'Goldsturm,' an especially flower-covered variety.

Care: Requires full sun; moderate to regular water. Grows as an annual or perennial, depending on the variety (as noted), in all zones.

Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium species)

Joe Pye Weed iStock

Despite the scary name, this is a lovely wildflower native to our Eastern meadows that draws butterflies and birds. One especially showy variety, E. maculatum 'Gateway,' has wine-red stems 5 to 7 feet tall, topped by dusky rose nosegays a foot across. Use as a tall anchor in a perennial bed or as a temporary screen, since stems die back to the ground in winter.

Care: Requires full sun; average to abundant water. Grows as a perennial in zones 4-8.

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Purple Coneflower iStock

Pink to purple daisy-like flowers about 4 inches across cover this perennial from mid-summer into autumn. The plant is especially hardy and unfussy, and you can divide clumps after several years to get new plants. The flowers draw butterflies and last well as cut flowers. 'PowWow Wild Berry,' which has rosy pink flowers, has been chosen as an All-America Selections winner.

Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus)

Sunflower iStock

With large, easy-to-plant seeds and magnificently showy flowers, sunflowers are perhaps the perfect flower for kids to grow. Classic single-stem kinds such as 'Mammoth Russian' and 'Russian Giant' grow 10-15 feet tall and produce plate-size flowers with edible seeds.

Newer, shorter kinds include 'Ring of Fire," which is about 4-5 feet tall and has 5-inch flowers that work in a vase, and 'Sunspot,' which grows just 2 feet tall. 'Indian Blanket' is a branching kind with numerous smaller flowers suitable for cutting. Sunflower blooms face the sun, so choose a bed where the sun will be behind you.

Care: Requires full sun; regular water. Most grow as annuals in all zones.

Marigolds (Tagetes)

Orange Marigolds iStock

These perky yellow or orange flowers really light up a garden bed. The plant's distinctive (should we say strong?) odor also keeps pests away. Marigolds are great as cut flowers, too. 'Moonsong Deep Orange,' a hybrid that has been named an All-America Selection winner, has frilly, densely packed flowers. But many other marigolds look more like daisies, with just a row or two of petals around a dark center.

Care: Requires full sun; regular water. Grows as an annual in all zones.