Although flowering annuals only last a season, there are some beautiful options that will look incredible in June, July, and August. Bring color to your garden all summer long with these annual flowers.
When the dog days of summer arrive it can be a challenge to keep gardens thriving.
But flowering annuals are like the unsung heroes that can withstand the sweltering heat and soaring humidity with grace and beauty to keep gardens looking amazing.
In fact, many of these resilient blooms thrive in those conditions, showing off their beautiful colors and putting on a spectacular show despite the heat making them a great addition to any outdoor oasis.
Today, we are exploring the magic of flowering annuals that bloom in summer and discovering how they can be used to create stunning displays throughout the seasons.
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Why Flowering Annuals? The Perks of Seasonal Color
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gardener, annual plants are a fantastic choice for adding vibrant colors to your flower beds during the summer season.
Annual flowers are plants that complete their lifecycle within a single growing season. They sprout, grow, bloom, set seeds, and then die all in the span of a single season.
While perennials and biennials have their charm, annuals offer some unique advantages, especially when it comes to seasonal color.
Here’s why I love them.
One of the greatest joys of gardening is witnessing the results of your hard work. Annuals provide almost instant gratification as they quickly grow and burst into beautiful blooms.
Within a few weeks of planting, you’ll be rewarded with brightly-colored flowers that radiate joy and liveliness.
Now that’s not to say that I don’t love my perennial flowers too, because I most certainly do, but they have a bloom cycle.
And depending upon when and how long that bloom cycle occurs, they typically don’t cover an entire season like flowering annuals.
Easy-Care, Low-Maintenance Plants
Not everyone has the time or expertise to maintain an intricate garden with a variety of plants.
That’s where annuals come to the rescue!
Most annual flowers are easy-care and low-maintenance, making them perfect for beginners or those with a busy lifestyle.
In spring or early summer, it’s best to fertilize annuals with a slow-release fertilizer to make things even easier on yourself.
Keep in mind that annuals that love deadheading will produce far more flowers if you actively keep up with snipping off spent flowers.
Especially if you grow annual plants in a cut flower garden, certain types of cut and come again.
So the more you cut, the more they’ll bloom.
Versatility in Garden Design
Whether you have a sprawling garden bed or a cozy balcony, annuals can fit into any space, no matter the size.
Their versatility allows you to get creative and experiment with different varieties and color combinations to achieve the desired look and feel.
25 Flowering Annuals For Summer Long Color
Now that we’ve covered the benefits of annuals, let’s explore some of the best flowering annuals that will bring color and joy to your summer garden.
Petunias are a classic choice for summer annuals. There are several different varieties that come in a wide range of colors and are well-known for their long-lasting blooms.
Whether you prefer solid shades or vibrant patterns, petunias will definitely steal the show with their beauty.
I just planted several in my gardens that include some 2024 introductions from Proven Winners.
Here is a list of what I’m growing this year (all from Proven Winners)
- Supertunia Vista Bubblegum
- Supertunia Latte
- Supertunia Mini Vista Indigo
- Supertunia Vista Fuschia
- Supertunia Daybreak Charm
- Supertunia Hoopla Vivid Orchid
- Supertunia Vista Jazzberry
- Supertunia Saffron Finch
- Supertunia Mini Vista Sweet Sangria
Superbells, with their bell-shaped flowers, are a charming addition to any garden. These annuals are excellent trailing plants, perfect for hanging baskets or cascading over garden edges.
Their profusion of blooms will keep your garden vibrant and colorful throughout the summer.
This year I’m growing some new-to-me superbells from Proven Winners and they are doing so well! I just planted some in my containers. Here is what I’m growing this year.
- Superbells Prism Pink Lemonade
- Superbells Double Smitten Pink
- Superbells Double Redstone
- Superbells Double Vintage Coral
- Superbells Double Chiffon
Geraniums are beloved for their vibrant flowers and distinctive foliage. These versatile annuals come in a wide range of colors, including shades of red, pink, white, and purple, allowing you to create captivating color schemes in your garden.
Geraniums are known for their long blooming period, ensuring a summer filled with continuous bursts of color.
They are also valued for their aromatic leaves, which emit a pleasant fragrance when touched.
Geraniums thrive in sunny locations, making them ideal for garden beds, borders, or containers.
They are relatively low-maintenance, requiring well-draining soil, and regular watering.
With their sturdy nature, geraniums can tolerate heat and withstand dry conditions, making them a reliable choice for the dog days of summer.
Whether you choose to plant them en masse for a dramatic effect or sprinkle them throughout your garden for pops of color, geraniums are sure to add a touch of elegance and timeless beauty to your summer oasis.
This year, I planted:
- Mojo Dark Pink
- Elegance Cherry Bomb
Plus I have a few that I overwintered in my sunroom from last year.
Marigolds are not only beautiful but also functional. Their bright, cheerful flowers repel insects and pests, making them ideal for companion planting in vegetable gardens.
Marigolds are hardy annuals that can withstand hot temperatures and thrive in various soil conditions.
But the best part about marigolds?
They look good in spring when you plant them and look amazing throughout fall until the first frost.
So these are great budget-friendly flowers because you can get both a late spring, early summer, and fall look from them.
Impatiens are annual flowering plants that enjoy partial sun to full shade and are a great addition to those darker corners of your garden.
They are low-maintenance plants that are available in a variety of shades, from soft pastels to vivid hues.
This year, I’m growing:
- New Guinea Impatiens
- Proven Winners Impatiens Walleriana Rockapulco Double Impatiens ‘Tropical Shades’
Begonias are versatile annual shade flowers that also thrive in partial to full shade gardens. Their waxy leaves and vibrant blooms add a touch of elegance to any garden. With proper care, begonias can bloom all summer long and even into fall.
They look amazing in container gardens too!
These are the varieties I’m growing this year.
- Proven Winners Double Delight Rose Begonia
- Proven Winners Double Delight Apple Blossom
Verbena is a stunning annual flower that offers a profusion of vibrant blooms throughout the summer season.
Available in a variety of colors, including shades of purple, pink, red, and white, verbena adds a burst of color and visual interest to your garden beds, borders, or containers.
Its clusters of small, delicate flowers create a carpet of beauty that attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, bringing life and movement to your outdoor space.
One of the many benefits of verbena is its ability to tolerate heat and thrive in full sun. These hardy annuals can withstand the high temperatures of summer, making them an excellent choice for gardens in warm climates.
They also have a long blooming period, ensuring that your garden remains vibrant and colorful throughout the season.
Verbena is relatively low-maintenance, requiring well-drained soil and regular watering. Deadheading spent flowers will encourage continuous blooming and help maintain a neat appearance.
With its versatility and resilience, verbena is a fantastic option for both beginner and experienced gardeners looking to add a touch of charm and color to their summer landscapes.
This year, I’m growing Proven Winners ‘Superbena Pink Cashmere’.
Bacopa, also known as Sutera, is an excellent choice for cascading over the edges of containers or hanging baskets.
These dainty white, pink or purple flowers create a delicate look while they soften the hard lines of containers and rock borders.
Bacopa is a heat-tolerant annual that requires minimal care, making it perfect for busy gardeners.
This year, I filled a few containers with Proven Winners Snowstorm Giant Snowflake.
Cosmos are popular annual flowers known for their feathery foliage and daisy-like blooms.
They come in various shades of pink, white, and purple, adding a touch of whimsy to your garden.
Cosmos are not only beautiful but also attract butterflies and pollinators, creating a lively ecosystem in your outdoor space.
They are also commonly grown in cut flower gardens too. Here’s what I’m growing this year! And I started them all from seed.
- Cosmos Apricot Lemonade
- Cosmos Double Click Pink
- Cosmos Double Click White
Calendula, also known as pot marigold, are one of my favorite annual flowers with vibrant orange, yellow and creamy white flowers.
Apart from its striking appearance, calendula has medicinal properties and is often used in herbal remedies.
Planting calendula in your garden beds or containers adds both beauty and functionality.
But they also make wonderful companion plantings for vegetable gardens as they are attract pollinators and help draw pests away from plants.
Last year, I started about 36 plants from seed, planted them all, and the resident rabbits decimated them. So if rabbits are problem in your garden, you’ll need to protect them.
Here’s what I’m growing this year.
- Calendula ‘Ivory Princess’
- Calendula ‘Orange Flash’
Border dahlias are a showstopper when it comes to summer blooms. These stunning flowers come in a wide array of colors making them a favorite among gardeners.
They can often be found at garden centers and nurseries when they start getting in their summer flowering annuals.
I’ve grown them for several years and they look wonderful planted in the front of borders.
Keep them well fed, deadhead them throughout the season, and you’ll get an abundance of blooms from spring through fall.
Here’s what I’m growing – both are from Proven Winners.
- Dahlia Dalina Grande Cancun
- Dahlia Dalina Grande Mendoza
Scaevola, also known as fan flower, is a charming annual that boasts a distinctive fan-shaped bloom.
Its cascading clusters of delicate flowers come in shades of blue, lavender, pink, and white, adding a delightful pop of color to your garden.
Scaevola is particularly well-suited for hanging baskets, containers, or as a ground cover, as its trailing nature creates a lovely trailing effect.
One of the standout features of scaevola is its ability to thrive in hot and dry conditions, making it an excellent choice for summer gardens.
It is a low-maintenance plant, requiring well-draining soil and regular watering, but it can tolerate periods of drought. Scaevola’s blooms are also known to attract butterflies, adding an enchanting touch to your garden as they flutter about.
Last year, I filled my hanging baskets and porch planters with purple scaevola flowers. They did really well there and bounced back with ease if they were underwatered on occasion. Of course, I don’t recommend underwatering them, but I found them to be more resilient than other flowering annuals.
But this year, I planted Proven Winners ‘Whirlwind Pink’ in a few of the containers in the zen garden.
Whether you’re seeking a trailing beauty for your containers or a ground cover to fill empty spaces, scaevola is sure to captivate with its unique fan-shaped flowers and resilience in the summer heat.
Euphorbia, like ‘Diamond Frost’ from Proven Winners is a fantastic choice for adding texture and interest to your garden.
Its small white flowers are surrounded by delicate, lacy foliage, creating an enchanting effect.
Euphorbia is drought-tolerant and thrives in sunny spots, making it a resilient and low-maintenance annuals that fills in the gaps and weaves around other easy annual flowers.
Angelonia, also known as summer snapdragon, is a heat-loving annual that thrives in hot climates.
Its upright spikes of vibrant flowers come in shades of purple, pink, and white. Angelonia is not only stunning but also attracts butterflies, making it a delightful addition to your summer garden.
This year, I’m growing it in both my hanging planters and planters on the porch. It’s one of the best container plants because it gets a little height and drapes over the edges to soften the edges.
Here’s what I’m growing this year:
- Proven Winners ‘Angelface Cascade Blue’
- Proven Winners ‘Angelface Cascade Pink’
Snapdragons are classic annuals that bring vertical interest to your garden beds. These charming flowers look amazing in cottage gardens. come in a wide range of colors and bloom profusely throughout the late spring, summer, and fall.
Snapdragons are versatile and can be used as cut flowers or left to enhance your garden’s beauty.
To keep them looking amazing during the warmer months, keep them well hydrated.
Last year, we had an extremely hot and dry summer. My snapdragons were in a garden with irrigation that kept them well-hydrated 3 days a week in good well-drained soil and they never skipped a beat!
I started several different varieties from seed this year too. Here’s what I’m growing.
- Madame Butterfly Bronze with White
- Madame Butterfly Rose
- Potomac Pink
- Bridal Pink
- Costa Apricot
- Legend Light Pink
Tropical hibiscus is a true showstopper with its large, flamboyant, and colorful flowers.
These annuals add a touch of the exotic to your garden, with blooms in vibrant shades of red, pink, orange, and yellow.
Tropical hibiscus thrives in warm climates and requires ample sunlight and well-drained soil.
They are easy to grow and the hummingbirds love them!
Lantana is a resilient annual that blooms abundantly in hot, sunny conditions. Its clusters of small flowers come in a range of colors, including shades of orange, pink, and purple.
This year, I’m growing Luscious Royale Cosmo from Proven Winners and I LOVE IT!
The clusters of flowers range from pink to yellow and orange. The blooms are truly beautiful!
Celosia, also known as cockscomb, is a unique annual with striking, velvety flower heads that resemble flames or brain-like shapes.
These vibrant blooms come in rich shades of red, orange, and yellow. Celosia is drought-tolerant and thrives in sunny locations, making it an ideal choice for summer displays.
They not only look great in the garden, but also look amazing in cut flower arrangements too.
Last year, I had several self-seeders from the prior owner’s garden. They were a pleasant surprise and I’m hoping they return this year too!
I didn’t start any from seed this year but am hopeful they will return from last year. We’ll see!
Zinnias are a popular choice for gardeners seeking vibrant and long-lasting summer flowers.
These cheerful blooms come in a variety of colors, including red, orange, yellow, pink, and purple.
Zinnias are easy to grow from seeds and require minimal care once established. They are loved by butterflies and make a great cut flower for bouquets.
They are one of my favorite flowers to grow. Here is what I’m growing this year:
- Benary’s Giant Wine
- Queen Lime Orange
- Queen Lime Blush
- Benary’s Giant Carmen Rose
Strawflowers, also known as everlasting flowers, are a unique and eye-catching annual.
These flowers are prized for their papery petals that retain their color and shape even after drying. They come in various shades of yellow, orange, pink, and white, adding texture and interest to your garden.
Strawflowers are drought-tolerant and thrive in sunny locations, making them a perfect choice for summer displays and dried flower arrangements.
This year, I’m growing from seed:
- Strawflower Apricot Mix
Gomphrena, also known as globe amaranth, is a charming and hardy annual flower that thrives in the heat of summer.
Its unique globe-shaped blooms come in a variety of colors, including vibrant shades of purple, red, white, and pink flowers.
Gomphrena’s compact growth habit and long-lasting blooms make it a great choice for borders, containers or cut flower arrangements.
This resilient annual can withstand high temperatures and dry conditions, making it a true gem in the summer garden.
With gomphrena added to your collection of flowering annuals, you’ll have yet another easy-care and heat-loving plant to enhance your garden’s beauty and bring a touch of whimsy to your outdoor space.
This year, I am growing: ‘Truffula Pink’ by Proven Winners.
While they aren’t revered as much for their flowers, coleus is a popular annual known for its stunning foliage, which comes in a wide array of colors, patterns, and textures.
From vibrant shades of green, red, purple, and yellow to intricate patterns of stripes and speckles, coleus leaves are truly captivating.
What makes coleus even more exciting is its ability to thrive in both sun and shade, allowing for flexible placement in your garden.
These easy-care plants are perfect for adding a splash of color to garden beds, borders, or containers.
Coleus can also be used as a focal point or to create eye-catching combinations with other flowering annuals. In addition, some varieties of coleus produce small, inconspicuous flowers, while others are grown solely for their foliage.
One of the benefits of coleus is its adaptability to different light conditions. While some varieties prefer full sun, others can tolerate partial shade or even thrive in full shade. This makes coleus an excellent choice for areas with varying levels of sunlight throughout the day.
To care for coleus, provide well-draining soil and regular watering. Pinching back the plant’s growing tips will encourage bushier growth and prevent it from becoming leggy.
This year, I’m growing the following varieties from Proven Winners.
- Colorblaze Strawberry Drop
- Colorblaze El Brighto
- Colorblaze Newly Noir
With its remarkable foliage and adaptability, coleus is sure to bring a vibrant and dynamic element to your summer garden.
Sweet alyssum is a graceful and fragrant annual flower that thrives in the heat of summer.
With its clusters of tiny, dainty flowers, sweet alyssum adds a touch of elegance and charm to any garden setting.
The blooms come in shades of white, pink, and purple, creating a soft and romantic atmosphere.
Not only does sweet alyssum provide a visually pleasing display, but its sweet fragrance also fills the air, making it a delight for the senses.
This low-growing annual is perfect for border edges, rock gardens, or as a ground cover. It withstands the heat with ease and requires minimal care, making it an ideal choice for both beginner and experienced gardeners alike.
Including sweet alyssum in your summer garden will bring a touch of delicacy and a sweet scent that will captivate both you and your visitors.
Sunflowers are a true symbol of summer, with their vibrant yellow petals and towering presence. These annual giants never fail to bring a smile to our faces and brighten up any garden.
Sunflowers come in various sizes, from dwarf varieties perfect for containers to towering specimens that can reach impressive heights.
Not only are they visually striking, but sunflowers also attract pollinators and birds with their abundant nectar and seeds.
They thrive in full sun, soaking up the rays and adding a radiant burst of color to our outdoor spaces.
Planting sunflowers in your garden beds or containers is a joyful way to celebrate the warmth and beauty of summer. Their bold presence and sunny dispositions will infuse your garden with an undeniable sense of happiness and optimism.
To extend their bloom time, sow several different varieties of sunflowers and plant them in succession.
This means, that even if you are only growing one type of sunflower, you’d start them one week, then wait a week to sow them again, and then another week to start them again.
Because many sunflowers are one and done, succession sowing will help them bloom longer in the garden.
This year, I plant Sunflower ‘Royal Hybrid’.
Tithonia, commonly known as the Mexican sunflower, is an exceptional annual that thrives in the heat of summer.
With its tall, branching stems and large, fiery orange or red blooms, tithonia commands attention in any garden.
These striking flowers not only add a bold pop of color but also attract a myriad of pollinators, including butterflies and bees.
Tithonia is known for its resilience and ability to tolerate hot and dry conditions, making it a great choice for gardens in regions with scorching summers.
Whether planted in borders or used as a focal point in your landscape, tithonia is sure to make a stunning statement and create a haven for pollinators.
Planting Annuals in Garden Beds and Containers
Now that we’ve explored some of the best flowering annuals for summer, let’s discuss how to plant them in both garden beds and containers:
- Prepare the soil by removing weeds and loosening it with a garden fork or tiller.
- Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball of your annual flower.
- Place the plant in the hole, making sure the top of the root ball is level with the soil.
- Backfill with garden soil.
- Add a slow-release fertilizer.
- Water well and maintain watering as needed.
- Choose containers with drainage holes to prevent waterlogged soil.
- Fill the container with a well-draining potting mix, leaving enough space for the root ball of your annual flower.
- Gently remove the plant from its nursery container, taking care not to damage the roots.
- Place the plant in the center of the container and fill the remaining space with potting mix, ensuring the plant is at the same depth as it was in the nursery container.
- Add a slow-release fertilizer.
- Water thoroughly after planting and maintain regular watering as needed. In summer, this could mean watering every day.
Remember to consider the sunlight requirements of each annual flower when deciding where to place them in your garden or containers.
When the plant tag says an annual thrives in full sun, that means they need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.
However, some annuals, like impatiens and begonias, prefer partial to full shade which equates to roughly 4 hours or less sunlight.
As the summer progresses, be sure to monitor soil moisture and water your annuals accordingly. Fertilizing is important to keep the flowers coming. I prefer using a slow-release fertilizer like this or this to help promote healthy growth and abundant blooms.
By choosing the best plants that work for you and your growing conditions, your garden beds and containers will burst with vibrant colors all summer long.
More About Annual Flowers That Look Good in Summer
What is your flowering annual for summer? I would love to know more in the comments below.
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Garden Supplies I Use
I’m often asked about the garden supplies and tools that I use most. From pruners to deer repellents, here are some of my favorites in no particular order.
- I like to use a good-quality garden soil, compost, and perlite when planting.
- I have used this deer repellent with great success. But now, I’m all about this deer repellent that is systemic instead of topical. This means the plant takes it in as opposed to it just smelling bad.
- Hands down this is my favorite hand-weeding tool. You can use to get underneath roots, loosen soil, and it cuts down on the weeding time because you work much faster.
- But I also love this long, stand-up weeding tool to really get around roses from afar.
- I like to use THIS ORGANIC FERTILIZER for roses because the blooms are more prolific and it’s organic.
- You’ll need a sharp set of pruners when working with plants and flowers. I buy a few so I can stash them around.
- Where pest and disease problems are concerned, I generally use this insecticidal soap or neem oil to help control infestations depending on the issue.
- This is my favorite set-and-forget slow-release fertilizer for houseplants, annuals, and container gardens.
- Whenever I stake my peonies or other plants, I generally use these grow through garden supports because they work really well and keep the blooms upright.
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Want to learn more about me?
I’m a master gardener who’s been gardening and growing things for over 25 years and author of the best-selling book, The Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide to a Beautiful and Easy-Care Flower Garden. With a deep passion for gardening, I enjoy helping others find their inner green thumb with all things plants and flowers, as well as finding ways to bring the outdoors inside their homes.
Get the inside scoop about my background as a master gardener, education, and experience, as well as why I started blogging here.