Flowers That Handle Heat

Here are some flowers to keep in mind if you want garden color under the blazing sun.

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Q. I'd like to plant some perennials that can handle blazing heat. Which ones do you recommend?

A. Blanket flower, yarrow and butterfly weed are sensational when it comes to heat, and there are many more heat-tolerant perennials to choose from. Among the easiest such plants to grow are the black-eyed Susans; they put on a show of color during the dog days of August and keep blooming into fall. Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii 'Goldsturm' is a great selection. The black-eyed Susan varieties that are short-lived perennials or annuals are similarly tolerant of hot weather. Daylilies, lamb's ear, purple coneflower (Echinacea), sedums and euphorbia give you still more options. If you're in USDA Zone 8 or south, you could consider the cigar plant (Cuphea sp.); hummingbirds love its tubular flowers.

You mentioned perennials, but you may also want to broaden your garden palette to include some annuals. Melampodium, the Profusion series of zinnias and various vincas put on a show-stopping amount of color even at the peak of summer heat. Also, don't forget how easy it is to sow a little zinnia seed! And be sure to mulch to keep the soil cool and conserve moisture.

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