Plants for Summer Color

Ignite some garden fireworks with plants that sparkle in summer.
David Austin pink rose 'James Galway' (Auscrytal)

David Austin pink rose 'James Galway' (Auscrytal)

Photo by: Image courtesy of David Austin Roses

Image courtesy of David Austin Roses

Many roses, like the ‘James Galway’ David Austin rose, produce armfuls of blooms in summer.

Fill your yard with summer color that creates a dazzling display. By using a blend of plant types, including shrubs, perennials and trees, you can create a color show from ground to sky. Kick off the show with classic flower favorites: roses. Many of these beauties develop their first flush of bloom in early summer. Some continue to flower all summer long, like Knock Out roses, miniature roses and most modern shrub roses. Many old-fashioned roses flower strongly in early summer, followed by intermittent blooms into fall.

In addition to roses, count on other flowering shrubs to bring on summer color. Summersweet opens bottle brush-like blooms in white or pink that beckon butterflies and hummingbirds. Butterfly bush is another pollinator favorite that opens flowers all season long. PeeGee hydrangea adds beauty to any setting with its deep green leaves and long flower heads that start white and fade to pink. Include bluebeard (blue mist spirea) shrub for late summer flowers in purple shades.

Shrubs can also provide color courtesy of leaves. Black Lace elder injects a dark tint into any planting with its finely-cut black leaves. This shrub is a beauty that’s a cinch to grow. Use it to provide a dark backdrop for other summer bloomers or gold-leaved plants. Choose Summer Wine ninebark for a dark, amber or glowing lemon-lime hue in an easy-care shrub. Variegated red twig dogwood pairs neatly with any dark-leaved shrub.

Count on shrubs to provide the backbone of a landscape that is accented with perennials. Summer flowering perennials fill the season with outstanding colors and textures. Bearded iris kick off early summer with a blast of colorful hues. Low-growing catmint varieties provide eye-catching edging for planting beds and also pair nicely with bearded iris. Catmint teams grey-green leaves with lavender blooms and forms sprawling mounds in the garden. Look for new everblooming daylilies to create a chorus of non-stop summer color. Daylilies have low-maintenance personalities and open flowers in a rainbow of hues.

Brighten shade with the feathery flowers of astible, which also boasts an easy-care nature. Astilbes come in a host of colors, including white, red, burgundy and pink shades. Hosta also offer reliable, shade-loving options in any size, from miniature to wheelbarrow-sized plants. This traditional shade perennial features colorful leaves with various hues and patterns.

Take summer color to the sky with trees that strut their stuff when the mercury rises. Rose of Sharon is a more traditional landscape choice, offering a strongly upright, vase-like form that’s covered in flowers all summer long. In warmer regions, include crape myrtle in your yard for spectacular flower clusters that just won’t quit. This small tree also boasts beautiful bark and branch structure that brings strong winter interest.

Smoke tree turns heads when it’s in bloom. The smoky flower clusters appear to float around the tree. Look for varieties with deep burgundy leaves for a striking landscape addition. Japanese tree lilac is one of the easiest lilacs to grow, forming a small tree that’s perfect for modern yards. Use it solo or plant several in a row for an early summer-flowering hedge.

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