Having a colorful garden during the entire growing season is a goal most gardeners strive for. Spring is filled with blooms from bulbs, perennials, trees, and shrubs. Summer offers vibrant color from pots filled with annuals, summer flowering bulbs, and of course perennials. The key is to keep the color flowing all summer. Planting a variety of perennial plants can help ensure something is blooming in June, July, and August. Be inspired by these 10 perennials that bloom in summer. Add them to your garden in an effort to attain the goal of a colorful garden through the entire growing season.
10 Sun Perennials That Bloom in Summer
Early Summer Perennials
Perennials that bloom in early summer will have flowers during the months of June and into early July. Often these flowers will re-bloom through summer, however, will display the most abundant showing of flowers in the early summer weeks.
This butterfly magnet begins its clusters or orange-yellow blooms at the start of summer. Plant in full sun, and soil that drains well. Once established in the garden Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is a resilient perennial that will return to your garden with ease for several years. Butterfly Weed has a clump-shaped habit and grows 12-18″ tall. It is perfect for the front of the border and mixed in with other early summer blooming perennials. Butterfly Weed blooms profusely in early summer, but will continue to have clusters of flowers through the mid-to-late summer months.
Perennial geranium also known as cranesbill (Geranium sp.) is much different than annual geranium seen in potted annual planters. These versatile and tough perennials put on a full display of blooms as spring turns to summer. Most varieties of hardy geranium will continue to flower through the summer, just not as prolific as the first flush of blooms in early summer. Flowers are round and appear above intricate foliage. Cranesbill blooms in shades of purple, pink, white, red, and blue. Another bonus of cranesbill is the foliage often takes on red and orange shades in the fall months.
The growth habit of perennial geranium varies based on the cultivars that are planted. However, most perennial geranium have a low mounding habit, which makes them perfect for retaining walls, rock gardens, and the front of a perennial border. Cranesbill geranium can grow anywhere from 8″ tall up to 30″ tall depending on the specific variety.
These hardy perennials are from the same family of plants as the herb sage. Perennial Salvia (Salvia sp.) are tough hardy perennials. They grow in hardiness zones 3-8 and become fairly drought-tolerant once established. Expect vibrant blooms to appear on tall spikes in late spring to early summer. Perennial salvia will bloom through the summer if the spent flowers are removed by pinching the flowers back to the main stem.
Perennial Salvia forms a neat and tidy clump of vibrant purple, blue, pink, or white blooms. Mass planting of 5 or more salvia in a planting bed creates a vibrant display of early summer color. Salvia attracts pollinators and is deer resistant. This is a must-have perennial for any new beginner sun perennial garden.
As early summer fades and the heart of summer begins Veronica plants start blooming. Also known as speedwell (Veronica sp.) this upright perennial blooms with spikes of blooms. Veronica has a very tidy appearance and forms a nice 12-18″ tall clump. The flowers are quite vibrant and bloom in shades of pink, true blue, white, and purple. Planting Veronica in a planting area near salvia is an excellent way to continue the color theme provided by salvia, as they bloom in similar colors with similar habits. Veronica thrives in full sun, is deer resistant, and attracts butterflies.
Mid Summer Perennials
Sun-loving perennials that bloom in mid-summer often start in mid-July and bloom through August. Few trees and shrubs are blooming at this time, therefore, adding mid-summer perennials to the garden is an excellent way to generate color during this timeframe.
Black Eyed Susan
Goldrush Black Eyed Susan is the 2023 Perennial Plant of the Year. In 1999 Goldsturm Black Eyed Susan was named the Perennial Plant of the Year. These popular and long-blooming perennials really have grabbed the attention of the garden world.
Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia sp.) blooms with daisy-shaped flowers. The petals radiate around a ray of brown florets in the center of the flower. Black Eyed Susan begins blooming in midsummer and continues to flower until summer winds down in September. They don’t require deadheading in order to keep blooming. The spent flowers are often food for birds, therefore, many gardeners leave the flowers standing as they fade.
Black Eyed Susan has an upright habit and can grow anywhere from 12″ tall up to 48″ tall depending on the variety. A newer compact variety known as Little Goldstar Black Eyed Susan is perfect for the front of a perennial border.
You guessed it, this perennial has an upright and tall growth habit. Tall Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata) bloom in the peak of mid-summer with clusters of brightly colored blooms. Shades of purple, white, pink, red, and two-tone can all be seen in summer blooming phlox. The tall clumps of phlox grow 3-4′ and do best in the mid to back of a perennial border. Be sure to give phlox the proper spacing as their foliage does not like to be crowded.
These are one of the easiest perennials to grow, definitely a beginner-friendly perennial. There are over 500+ cultivars of daylilies, with plenty of collector groups propagating more and more each year. Daylilies (Hemerocallis sp.) flowers appear above clumps of tall grassy foliage.
Each individual flower only lasts for 1 day, however, for several weeks in mid-summer new flowers form daily. Re-blooming daylilies like the popular Stella D’Oro Daylily will start blooming in early summer and continue through the end of summer. However, not all daylilies re-bloom, but all daylilies are the stars of the mid-summer garden.
Once established daylilies are drought tolerant and low maintenance. The main upkeep with daylilies is after 5-7 years the clumps should be divided to encourage energy to go to the blooms.
Daisy-shaped flowers appear in mid-summer and last from August into September. Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) is native to most of the United States. Over the last twenty years, a plethora of new hybrid cultivars have been developed. These new varieties of coneflowers bloom in shades of yellow, orange, red, and pink, however, purple coneflower will always be the original.
Coneflowers are tall upright perennials. They grow 12-36″ depending on the variety. Plant them among other mid-summer blooming perennials mixed into the middle of a perennial border. They grow well with Black Eyed Susan and Bee Balm and create a haven for butterflies. Coneflowers are drought tolerant once established and grow best when planted in full sun.
Late Summer Perennials
These perennials start blooming in mid-August and into early September. Be sure to add some of these to continue having a colorful garden until the very end of the season.
These drought-tolerant and sun-loving perennials are the show stoppers of the late summer garden. Sedum plants have succulent leaves, making them quite drought-tolerant and tough perennials. Autumn Joy Sedum is a popular variety that grows upright 12-18″ tall. It blooms with pink-green flowers in late summer that attract butterflies. Thunderhead Sedum is another upright variety, it has dark green-purple foliage and bright red-pink clusters of blooms.
Groundcover sedum varieties that stay low to the ground 2-8″ and spread are popular for rock gardens. They are also fun to add to mixed containers as a trailing plant for late-season interest. Don’t sleep on adding several varieties of sedum to a sunny garden for late-season flowers and foliage. Check out our Complete Guide to Growing Sedum for more detailed advice and growing tips.
This hidden gem puts on a display at the end of summer when most other perennials are done for the season. Forming a tall 3′ clump it blooms with pink flowers that resemble a turtlehead. While it can tolerate full sun, Rose Turtlehead does best in part sun, in an area it can receive plenty of moisture. This is one of my favorite late-summer blooming perennials!
Plant 1 or Plant them All
Whether you plan on planting just one of the perennials on this list or all of them, they sure will add color to the summer garden. Mixing annuals, summer flower bulbs, and perennials is truly the best way to achieve a long-blooming garden of summer color. While it may take more time and effort the reward to have something blooming during the entire season is worth it!
Don’t have too much sun in your garden? Check out this article with suggestions for shade loving perennials