Blazing sun have you worked up into a sweat? Cool off with these fuss-free heat-tolerant plants, tough enough to handle whatever Mother Nature dishes out.
- Proven Winners
Gaillardia spp., Zones 3 to 10
The brilliant hues of the native North American blanket flower have a place in any garden. This all-summer bloomer has red and yellow petals with gold, red or purple centers. Blanket flower thrives in full sun and well-drained soil, and is sometimes grown as an annual.
Celosia argentea, grown as an annual
These ﬁery favorites thrive in hot weather. Available in shades of red, orange and yellow, celosia blooms from summer into fall. The crested type resembles a rooster’s comb, which explains the ﬂower’s other name, cockscomb. Plumed varieties like the one shown at far right unfurl feathery, upright ﬂowers; pinch back the tips to encourage branching for a showier display. Celosia can thrive in a wide range of soils, including heavy clay.
Coreopsis spp., Zones 3 to 11
New orange, bright-red and pink varieties add a color twist to the beloved yellow original. The plants range from 8 to 48 inches in height. Keep soil moist around newly planted coreopsis, but resist the urge to overwater.
- W. Atlee Burpee & Co.
Cosmos spp., grown as an annual
Suited for full sun to light shade, cosmos comes in a broad spectrum of warm and cool tones, making it a good choice for just about any location. Some cultivars, like Sea Shells, have tube-shaped petals.
Scaevola aemula, annual
This durable plant has dense foliage and loads of small, fan-shaped flowers in purple, blue or white. Fan flower performs best in well-draining soil and has a trailing habit, sprawling out to roughly 3 feet.
Tithonia rotundifolia, annual
This fast-growing annual, which blooms in late summer and autumn, reaches 6 feet in height. Its long-lasting orange and red flowers glow in full sun. For smaller spaces, there’s a dwarf variety, Fiesta Del Sol, that grows to just 3 feet tall.
- Martin Hughes Jones / Alamy
Penstemon pinifolius, Zones 4 to 10
This plant’s pointy leaves make it resemble a coniferous evergreen. The narrow, tubular flowers, often in shades of red, yellow or magenta, entice bees and butterflies. In addition to not minding the heat, pine-leaf penstemon is drought-tolerant.
Portulaca spp., annual
Charming flowers grace low, spreading stems of fleshy foliage. Hot, sunny, dry conditions suit this bright bloomer just fine. Show it off in containers, rock gardens or mixed plantings.
- Proven Winners
Cerastium tomentosum, Zones 3 to 7
Despite the chilly-sounding name, snow-in-summer stands up to heat. This reliable, maintenance-free ground cover thrives in poor soil and sunny locations. White blooms appear on 2- to 3-inch-tall plants in late spring and summer.
- Terra Nova
Yucca filamentosa, Zones 4 to 11
Few plants love the heat as much as yucca. Both flowers and foliage come with this Southwestern favorite. For a unique variety, look for the Variegata cultivar; its white-edged, blue-green leaves take on a pink tinge in colder weather.
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