From efficient root systems that find water deep in the soil to leaves designed to retain moisture, plants have developed many strategies for thriving in bright light. Even in the dog days of summer, these 10 varieties will stand up to full sun, channeling it into brilliant-colored blooms that light up the garden.
An American native, tall phlox produces five-foot-high plants with blooms that range from pure white to red. Avoid phlox’s nemesis, mildew, by picking an heirloom variety such as ‘Mile High Pink.’ Available at High Country Gardens; $10.79 per plant.
Named after the Greek word for "ordered universe," Cosmos is an easy-to-grow annual that comes in many shades; some varieties have more than one color in a single plant. The species' native colors range from yellow to orange, but the plant is now available in an array of hues, including reds, pinks, and candy-striped. The Sonata Mix offers 4 shades of flower in one seed packet. Available at Burpee.com; $3.99 for 50 seeds.
Known for its scent and rich color, lavender is a reliable full-sun herb that is actually part of the mint family. Lavender will grow easily as long as proper drainage is provided. ‘Phenomenal’ is a new and hardy varietal that can tolerate just about anything that comes its way—from heat and humidity to deer and root disease. Available at Burpee.com; $12.99 per plant.
A member of the daisy family, this flowering herb is known both for its upward-facing blossoms and its reputed ability to stimulate the immune system. Either way, you’ll respect the way these flowers stand up to the sun throughout the summer. Available at Burpee.com; $3.99 for 50 seeds.
An annual with unusual wheat-like flowers that look great in dried arrangements, celosia also adds color and shape to your garden border. Try the ‘Flamingo’ series for their bright purple and pink hues. Available on Amazon; $9 for 150 seeds.
A hardy option that draws in hummingbirds and other pollinators, salvia will stand up to heat, drought, and even deer. Try ‘Furman’s Red,’ a long-blooming variety with fiery flowers. Available on Amazon; $8.99 for one plant.
There are over 50,000 varieties of this bloom-a-day species, and you can incorporate a dozen in your garden without tiring of the endless color combinations. Subject them up to nearly any condition and daylilies will still thrive and multiply, producing flowers for weeks on end. For a rich purple hue, plant ‘Jungle Beauty.’ Available at OakesDaylilies.com; $19.99 per plant.
Drought-tolerant and adaptable to many conditions, sedum is a workhorse in the garden, perfect in containers, as a ground cover, or in borders. Just when the rest of your garden has finished flowering, sedum takes center stage, then finishes the season with some vibrant fall foliage. Try Proven Winners’ ‘Pure Joy’ for its pastel flowers. Available at ProvenWinners.com; $15.99 per plant.
The perfect plant for someone who wants flowers all summer, the perennial herb agastache tolerates drought and looks great when planted in groups or in containers. ‘Blue Boa’ boasts an electrifying violet hue atop bright green foliage. Available at Burpee.com; $12.99 per plant.
Also known as spider plant for its spindly petaled flower, cleome is a quick-growing annual that produces sweet-scented pink, purple, or white blossoms that attract birds and butterflies. Available on Amazon; $3.50 for 1500 seeds.
Sun-worshipping plants will keep your yard looking gorgeous even in the harshest heat of summer.
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