Coneflower (Echinacea) is an enduring perennial that returns every year to color the summer garden. Drought-tolerant and low-maintenance, coneflowers also come in white, pink, rose, orange and yellow.
The hardy geranium 'Rozanne' blooms nonstop from spring to fall. It was chosen perennial of the year for 2008 by the Perennial Plant Association. (Photo courtesy of Steven Still, Perennial Plant Association)
Have a color hole in a flower bed? Choose from among any number of dazzling dahlias (here, 'Canary Fubuki'), and enjoy flowers all summer until frost. In most of the country, dahlias need to be dug and stored for winter.
Nasturtium cascades from a container of parsley and pineapple sage, and it's edible too. The colorful annual comes in yellows, oranges and reds and keeps blooming through the summer, but it won't stand up to intense heat in the South.
Unlike most daylilies, which bloom for about three weeks, 'Stella d'Oro' blooms prolifically all season long.
Coleus is one of the easiest color producers for shade, and some varieties are sun tolerant. There are a wide variety of hues and textures (here, 'Killer Klown'). In frost areas, bring cuttings inside for the winter, and you'll have free starter plants the next year.
The 'Knockout' series includes easy-care, long-blooming roses that are great for reliable splashes of color.
Zinnias are a time-honored flower for summer color. Here, 'Magellan Coral', a 2005 AAS award winner. The Profusion series — award-winning White, Pink and Cherry — form 12-inch mounds.
Vinca maintains its color and vigor in the heat of summer.