Create a stunning zone 6 garden with low-maintenance summer blooms. Choose from my curated list of beautiful, easy-to-grow flowers for continuous color all season long

Gardening in zone 6 means navigating some interesting weather patterns. You’ve got those hot, sweltering summers followed by some rainy, cooler days.

One key to a beautiful garden in zone 6 is choosing plants that can withstand these fluctuations and bloom beautifully through the heat.

For those who enjoy summer color, it’s well worth knowing the best choices to ensure your garden thrives throughout the warmer months.

And let’s not forget those pesky deer – addressing deer-resistant choices is usually high on the list for zone 6a gardeners.

Let’s explore some fantastic summer bloomers that will transform your garden into a haven of color!

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gardening zone 6 summer flowers include sedum autumn joy, rudbeckis and gomphrena by front porch with double doors and two wreaths in late summer

Best Summer Flowers for Gardening Zone 6

Summer in hardiness zone 6 is a dance of changing weather and blooming wonders. Want to keep your garden bursting with color from the first sign of summer to the last golden days? Let’s chat about the best flowers for early, mid, and late-season displays that will keep your garden humming with life!

Early Bloomers (June-July)

Zone 6’s weather can be a bit unpredictable in early summer, but don’t let that stop you from having a beautiful garden! Get to know the hardy early bloomers that embrace the cooler days and bursts of sunshine. Their vibrant colors and varied textures will fill your garden with joy.

Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

These charming wildflowers boast delicate blooms with unique spurs in various shades of red, yellow, pink, and even blue. They thrive in partial shade and attract hummingbirds. (Hardiness zones 3-8)

close up of petunias, columbine and other perennials in my new cottage garden

Peonies (Paeonia lactiflora)

A classic favorite for their lush, fragrant blooms in shades of pink, red, and white. Peonies prefer full sun and well-drained soil. (Hardiness zones 3-8)

light pink peonies in the flower patch
Peonies

Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum)

These cheerful daisies with their bright yellow centers and white petals are a low-maintenance choice. They thrive in full sun. (Hardiness zones 5-9).

leucanthemum in my jersey garden

Rhododendron (Rhododendron spp.)

These showy shrubs are famous for their large, vibrant clusters of blooms in shades of pink, purple, red, white, and yellow. They prefer acidic soil and partial shade. (Hardiness zones vary depending on the specific rhododendron type, typically zones 4 – 8).

Pink rhododendron in zen garden with staddle stone in full bloom
Pink Rhododendron and Mountain Laurel flowers

Bearded Iris (Iris Germanica)

With their striking variety of colors and elegant ruffled forms, bearded irises bring a touch of sophistication to the garden. Plant bearded irises in full sun and well-drained soil to get the most out of their blooms. (Hardiness zones 3-9)

angel's rest with dream of you bearded irises in garden

False Indigo (Baptisia)

This striking perennial features showy spikes of blue-violet blooms that rise above its bluish-green foliage. False indigo loves full sun and tolerates a little drought once established. (Hardiness zones 3-9)

close up of false indigo (baptisia) with purple flowers by the porch

Nepeta

Loved for its fragrant foliage and spikes of lavender-blue flowers, Nepeta adds a delightful softness to any border. It’s a reliable bloomer that thrives in full sun and attracts pollinators. (Hardiness zones 3-8)

close up of nepeta 'walkers low' - catmint are great flowers for deadheading when the blooms fade
Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’

Salvia

This incredibly diverse genus offers long-lasting spires of blooms in shades of blue, purple, red, and pink. Many early-blooming varieties of Salvia are deer-resistant and beloved by pollinators, making them ideal for low-maintenance gardens. (Hardiness varies depending on the specific Salvia type, typically zones 4-8).

salvia may night with purple flowers
May Night Salvia Close up

Knockout Roses (Rosa ‘Knock Out’)

Known for their remarkable disease resistance and low-maintenance needs, Knockout roses produce an abundance of blooms in various colors (typically reds and pinks) throughout the growing season. (Hardiness zones 5-9)

pink roses and hostas with view of garden

Midsummer Bloomers (July-August)

Summer in zone 6a means the garden turns into a haven for butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. Welcome these beneficial visitors with an array of midsummer blooms that offer irresistible nectar and a breathtaking floral display.

Phlox (Phlox paniculata)

Also known as garden phlox, this summer staple offers fragrant clusters of star-shaped flowers in shades of pink, red, white, and purple. It’s a magnet for butterflies and hummingbirds! (Hardiness zones 4-8)

pink tall phlox flowers up close with yellow daylillies

Bee Balm (Monarda)

Its unique, spiky blooms in fiery shades of red, pink, and purple add a striking pop of color to any garden. As its name suggests, bee balm is a pollinator favorite. (Hardiness zones 4-9)

close up of bee balm (monarda) flowers in the garden - perennial flowers list that bloom in midsummer
Monarda (Bee Balm)

Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea)

A timeless classic reminiscent of daisies, coneflowers boast spiky pink-purple blooms with prominent orange centers. They’re drought-tolerant and attract butterflies, bees, and songbirds. (Hardiness zones 3-9)

purple coneflowers

Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia)

Rudbeckia (black eyed susans) cheerful wildflowers feature bright yellow petals and a contrasting dark brown center. They thrive in full sun and create a long-lasting, sunny display. (Hardiness zones 3-9).

black eyed susan (rudbeckia) flowers

Coreopsis

Also known as tickseed, coreopsis has bright flowers boast cheerful yellow daisy-like blooms, often with contrasting centers. They’re low-maintenance and provide a long-lasting pop of sunshine. (Hardiness zones vary depending on the Coreopsis type, typically zones 3-9)

pink coreopsis tickseed in the porch garden

Daylily (Hemerocallis)

Despite their name, each individual daylily flower lasts only a day! However, these hardy perennials produce a profusion of blooms in various colors, from vibrant reds and oranges to soft pastels. (Hardiness zones 3-10)

close up of white daylilly

Zinnias

These cheerful, brightly colored flowers range from compact mounds to tall varieties. Perfect for cut flowers, zinnias attract butterflies and add a long-lasting burst of color. (Hardiness zones vary as they are usually grown as annuals).

vibrant zinnia flowers in a hand bouquet

Cosmos

Cosmos have airy, delicate flowers resemble small daisies in shades of pink, white, and yellow. They are a whimsical addition to cottage-style gardens. (Hardiness zones vary as they are usually grown as annuals).

Double Click Snow Puff cosmos
Double Click Cosmos with light pink flowers

Hardy Hibiscus

Known for their enormous, dinner-plate-sized blooms in tropical shades of pink, red, and white, hardy hibiscus brings a touch of the exotic to the late-season garden. (Hardiness zones 4-9)

pink hardy hibiscus in the front yard garden
Hardy Hibiscus

Late Bloomers (August – September)

Don’t let summer’s end mean a fading garden! With these late bloomers, you can extend the season of color and keep butterflies fluttering in your landscape with stunning blooms well into September and October.

Sedum Autumn Joy

Sedum Autumn Joy has long-blooming fleshy leaves and clusters of star-shaped flowers that start out pink and deepen to a rich copper as the season progresses. It’s a butterfly magnet! (Hardiness zones 3-9).

sedum autumn joy
Sedum Autumn Joy as it begins to bloom

Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum)

Another butterfly favorite, Joe Pye Weed produces showy, dome-shaped clusters of pink or purple flowers atop tall stems. It prefers moist soil and adds height to the back of borders. (Hardiness zones 4-8)

close up of Joe Pye Weed with purple flowers
Joe Pye Weed

Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus)

Iconic and cheerful, sunflowers come in an incredible array of sizes and colors, from dwarf varieties to towering giants. They bring an undeniable charm to any landscape. (Hardiness zones vary as they are usually grown as annuals).

close up of sunflowers
Sunflowers

Tithonia (Tithonia rotundifolia)

Also known as the “Mexican Sunflower,” Tithonia boasts bold, fiery orange blooms atop tall stems, attracting scores of butterflies. (Hardiness zones vary as they are usually grown as annuals).

tithonia close up (mexican sunflower)

Asters

These fall beauties offer a cheerful display of star-shaped flowers in pink, purple, blue, and white. Choose from a variety of heights to suit your garden space. (Hardiness varies depending on the Aster type, typically zones 3-8)

vibrant blue aster flowers close up
Asters with blue flowers

Japanese Anemone (Anemone x hybrida)

These graceful flowers feature delicate, cup-shaped blooms in soft shades of pink or white. They add a touch of airy elegance to the fall garden. (Hardiness zones 4-8)

Japanese Anemone fall in love sweetly by proven wnners
Japanese Anemone Fall in Love Sweetly by Proven Winners

Planting and Care Tips for Summer Flowers in Zone 6

You’ve carefully selected a stunning array of summer blooms for your zone 6a garden. Now, let’s ensure they thrive with some essential planting and care tips. With a little understanding of their needs, you’ll enjoy a colorful oasis all season long!

Sun Exposure

Pay close attention to the sun needs of each flower. Some thrive in full sun (6+ hours daily), while others prefer partial shade or even dappled light under tree canopies.

Watering

Summer’s heat makes proper watering essential. Drip irrigation systems are especially helpful for container gardens. Deeply water established plants at their base to encourage healthy root growth.

Sedum autumn joy with summer flowering annuals in late summer and fall garden

Deer Resistance

Zone 6 gardeners know how deer can ruin a beautiful display in no time. Choose deer-resistant plants whenever possible and consider using deer repellents.

Planning for Continuous Blooms

Select plants with varying bloom times, ensuring a garden bursting with color throughout the summer. Consider early, mid, and late bloomers from this list for a non-stop show of interest.

Additional Care

Specific varieties might enjoy deadheading (removing spent blooms) to encourage reblooming. Some may benefit from a light mid-season fertilizer to keep them strong. Always check care requirements on plant tags or research individual flower types.

Remember, even with the best choice of plants, your garden’s overall design plays a role! Don’t forget to add variety in foliage texture and color for a truly dynamic summer showcase.

rudbeckia gomphrena and sedum autumn joy by front porch in fall

More About Gardening Zone 6 Summer Gardening

Do you live in gardening zone 6? What flowers do you enjoy growing for summer blooms? I would love to know more in the comments below.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear! And feel free to share this post with anyone you think would find it helpful too.

To drill down on more beginner gardening techniques and tips, please read these posts:

Happy Gardening!

stacy ling logo
achillea coneflowers and zinnias in cottage garden

Summer Gardening Ideas

gardening zone 6 summer flowers with coneflowers, yarrow, rudbeckia, sedum autumn joy and gomphrena
home with cottage garden, and close up of gorgeous pink flower blooming in the cottage garden
blooming flowers in cottage garden with garden shed backdrop

But the new drip irrigation system that I’m using for my outdoor planters has saved me a ton of time.

It’s been so awesome!

With all the rain we’ve had in the northeast, my summer garden flowers look amazing this year.

And the pollinators are visiting the beds in droves.

If you want to see lots of hummingbirds, butterflies, birds, and bees visit your garden, be sure to plant these summer flowers in the fall.

Tour my gardening zone 6a cottage gardens

My Gardening Zone 6a Summer Flowers

Because of all the rain, my summer flowers look gorgeous this year!

And I can’t wait for you to see the new cutting garden by the shed.

That flower patch looks so lush and beautiful right now!

But first, let me show you what’s happening in the front yard gardens.

Because there’s so much to see!

My gardening zone 6a summer flowers

My Gardening Zone 6a Summer Flowers in the Front Yard

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know how much the front yard cottage garden has been a labor of love.

I’ve been honing this garden for several years, tweaking it with annuals and perennials to keep the blooms coming throughout the growing season.

In my gardening zone, tall phlox, bee balm, coneflowers and black-eyed susans do particularly well.

my gardening zone 6a summer flowers

I also love sedum autumn joy, joe pye weed, and knockout roses.

But this year, I added a bunch of zinnias and cosmos that I grew from seed in my basement.

Originally they were meant for the backyard cutting garden in front of my shed, but I grew so many, they didn’t all fit back there!

my gardening zone 6a summer flowers

So there I was all spring long, squeezing them in.

Ah the life of a gardener.

We’ll make it fit!!!

My gardening zone 6a summer flowers

I’m often asked how I keep deer from eating my flowers.

They are a real menace in my neck of the woods where gardening is concerned, so I am very proactive with a number of tactics.

One of which is to plant things they tend to steer clear from.

Globe Thistle (Echinops) shown above, is a great deer resistant plant.

The flower head is spikey, the foliage is sharp and deer are not fans of that so they will typically leave those plants alone.

gardening zone 6a summer flowers

In addition to planting things deer don’t like, I also use THIS spray repellent and THIS granular barrier.

I have seen zero deer browsing this year with this two prong method so I will keep doing this moving forward.

If you try it, let me know if it works for you too!

Wanna see this garden live?

Check out my latest YouTube to see my front yard cottage garden in action and learn more about these gorgeous summer blooms.

gardening zone 6a summer flowers

Woodland Garden in the Side Yard, Gardening Zone 6a

An extension of my front yard cottage garden is this smaller woodland garden on the eastern side of my home.

It gets shaded from several trees, but in some spots, I get enough dappled light to grow a few plants that like a little more sun.

gardenign zone 6a summer flowers

In this garden, I’m growing ostrich ferns, cranesbill, hostas, oak leaf hydrangea, rhododendron, joe pye weed, tall phlox, bearded irises, zinnias and shasta daisies.

I love all the layers as you peek into the backyard over the fence, don’t you?

The Front Yard Well Garden

When we built our addition 15 years ago, we had to move our well to accommodate the new septic system in the backyard.

After the well was relocated a few feet from the original location, the yard was so ripped up.

Instead of trying to grow grass here, my husband encouraged me to grow a garden.

So I did.

gardening zone 6a summer flowers

Originally, it was a cluttered mess of divisions, but over the years, I’ve been reigning in the design.

I added some taller specimen plants and evergreens to give the garden some structure, texture and color while the perennials grew and changed.

Zebra grass, smoketree and a juniper help anchor the perennials in this garden.

gardening zone 6a summer flowers

I also added some smaller shrubs like beautyberry and a limelight hydrangea.

This garden also houses a few peonies and my david austin roses, as well as some zinnias and cosmos that I grew from seed.

gardening zone 6a summer flowers
Cosmos ‘Cupcake Blush’ And ‘Cupcake White’

Because I grew way too many flowers from seed in the basement, I wound up stuffing the extras in wherever I could.

Next year, I’ll grow a little less.

But I’m not gonna lie, I’m still going to stuff the beds.

Let’s face it, I’ll probably still start too many flowers too because much like food, my eyes are bigger than my stomach.

LOL!

gardening zone 6a summer flowers
Zinnia ‘Benary Giant Wine’

Last year, I added a few varieties of David Austin Roses.

And I’m really thrilled they all came back and bloomed this year.

In this garden, I have ‘Ebb Tide’, ‘Charlotte’, ‘Tranquility’, and ‘Lady of Shallot’.

To learn all about rose care, CLICK HERE.

gardening zone 6a summer flowers

As this garden blooms, one of my favorite plant combinations is the limelight hydrangea with the black eyed susan and ‘Benary Giant Wine’ zinnias.

I also love how they look with my tall phlox and smoke tree.

Garden Design Tip: When planning a garden, it’s really important to not only consider the flowers and bloom time, but also the foliage.

Because that foliage can really take the color of a garden through the entire growing season.

gardening zone 6a summer flowers

My Gardening Zone 6a Summer Flowers in the Backyard

After remodeling our home 15 years ago and running around with my kids from activity to activity, the backyard gardens were sorely neglected.

They weeded over.

I didn’t love the garden shed. (CLICK HERE to see why).

My vegetable garden was a hot mess.

And I just didn’t put the time in back here that it needed.

It happens.

Shade Garden in the back border

But over the last two years, I’ve really been focusing on the backyard gardens.

And I have to say, the backyard might contain my favorite gardens now!

(Shhhhh don’t tell my front yard gardens though).

blueberries in the backyard garden

The raspberry harvest died down but the blueberries are having their best year ever!

We are still harvesting loads of blueberries daily.

I have two blueberry bushes that I planted about 20 years ago.

Usually the birds eat a majority of them.

But this year, there are so many that these bushes just keep producing!

Chris has made a few pies from the harvest too.

And let me tell you, they are delicious!

gardening zone 6a summer flowers in the backyard

Highlights from the Cutting Garden

For me right now, the shining star out of all my gardens is the cutting garden.

I don’t know if that’s because I started it all from seed and I’m amazed at the progress.

Maybe it’s the 2 year garden shed remodel. (CLICK HERE to see what it looked like a few months ago).

cutting garden in my gardening zone 6a backyard border

Or maybe it’s because it looks so beautiful.

But WOW!

I’ve learned so much from this garden this year.

garrdening zone 6a backyard garden

And will definately make some tweaks for next.

I had no idea how some of these flowers would grow, so now that I know, I will plan the bed out a little better.

gardening zone 6a summer flowers
‘Benary’s Giant Wine’ Zinnia

Some of my favorites from the cutting garden are the zinnias, sunflowers and cosmos.

The larkspur and snapdragons are really beautiful too.

You can get a closer look in the video below.

My good friend Mary from Life at Bella Terra is starting to divide her irises and shares some great tips from her home in Arizona.

And my good friend Chas from Chas Crazy Creations has been harvesting lots of veggies from her garden and chats about the best time to pick them.

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11 Comments

  1. I’m just amazed by your beautiful garden. I appreciate everything you shared in this post, and I love your cutting garden. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Pingback: Dividing Irises | Life at Bella Terra
  3. Stacy, Wow…your summer garden is so beautiful. I love the fact that you share all the names of the varieties of flowers. Do you dry the thistle flowers? I love using those in fall arrangements, however, I do tend to get pricked a lot by them. So gorgeous and I love that we are sharing our gardens~such diversity in what is growing in different parts of the country. Thanks for sharing and happy hopping with you!

    1. Thank you Mary! I usually just let them go to seed here and allow the birds to enjoy them throughout fall. I probably should dry a few though – they are so pretty. And I know what you mean they are prickly!

  4. Your garden is just so beautiful Stacy. I love how it looks so different from month to month. I had the same issue with growing too many flowers from seed this year and will definitely be scaling down!

  5. Stacy they all look beautiful! I have got to try the cupcake cosmos, they are such a beautiful shade of pink. Thank you!