Like people, many favorite plants wither and fade during the dog days of summer. But fear not, some perennials actually embrace the heat and bloom more brightly during the soaring temps. Try some of these to bring life into your garden until the changing seasons bring relief.
With a long history of being a powerful herb to heal wounds, this drought-tolerant native bears clusters of red, orange, yellow or peach-pink flowers that repel several bad insects and attract good ones, such as the predatory wasp and ladybug.
Agastache (Hummingbird Mint)
Butterflies just love this versatile plant with graceful flower spikes that smell like licorice or mint when touched.
Tall but surprisingly sturdy stems hold big clusters of plentiful petite violet-lavender flowers. Records document seeds from this verbena coming from Buenos Aires to England in the early 18th century; nearly three centuries later, it still loves hot temperatures and remains drought-tolerant.
These sunny workhorses of the garden are very easy to grow and bloom all summer, especially when the first round of spent blooms is sheared off to pave the way for a follow-up burst of color.
Crocosmia (Falling Stars or Coppertips)
As a member of the lily family, these bulbs have a fiery-red or sunny-yellow flowers that is reminiscent of the tropics and also attract hummingbirds, hoverflies and bumble bees with their vibrance.
Gaillardia (Blanket Flower)
These bright beauties look similar to daisies or sunflowers, and their yellow and red hues resemble the brightly colored blankets made by native Americans, providing inspiration for their common name.
Gaura (Wand Flower)
Beautiful delicate flowers in bright pink, light pink or white dance and bob upon slim stems, offering great texture and movement.
Long ago, the leaves were used to make a kind of snuff, to encourage sneezing that would rid the body of evil spirits. Nowadays, its dainty flowers are appreciated for their gorgeous warm colors that bloom later in the summer.
Monarda (Bee Balm)
Available in a rainbow of colors, these daisy-like flowers attract bees, butterflies, hummingbirds as well as a host of other pollinators. When the leaves are crushed, they produce a spicy fragrance, and several species have a long history of medicinal and culinary use by native Americans.
New England Aster
Holding off its appearance until late summer into autumn, this native aster has lots of rays (petals) that radiate an especially bright pink color around a sunny yellow center.
Sturdy stems provide the support for clusters of flowers in hues ranging from white to blue and everything in between. True to its common name, cats experience a sense of temporary euphoria after they’ve had a romp in the leaves.
These stunning plants are a gardener’s dream, growing two to three feet tall in an open space and full sun, and with bright blooms in a range of colors that can last for six weeks or more.
Rudbeckia (Black-Eyed Susan)
The state flower of Maryland may be a familiar sight, but the striking yellow flowers with black centers are a must for every native garden.
Spikes of white, blue, pink or purple flowers grace the tops of this favorite perennial, whose common name originates from an old Irish tradition to pin a bit of the plant to travelers to keep them free of accidents and “speed them well.”