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10 Flowers that Love Hot Summers – and How to Grow Them

10 Flowers that Love Hot Summers - and How to Grow Them

Wondering which annual flowers can take the heat during an Arizona summer? Keep reading for 10 flowers that love hot summers – and how to grow them. 

The key is knowing what and when to plant. The climate in the low desert of Arizona will burn up many annuals commonly thought of as summer flowers.

Here are my top choices for annual flowers that add color and beauty in hot weather areas, with pictures (all from my Mesa, Arizona yard and garden, taken during the summer) and tips for how to grow them. The dates listed for planting are for the low desert of Arizona. 


10 Flowers that love hot summers – and how to grow them


Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure policy for more information.


10 Flowers that Love The Heat – and How to Grow Them: #1 Zinnias (Zinnia elegans)

Zinnias

How to plant zinnias

  • Plant in full to part sun in soil amended with compost
  • Zinnia does best from seed or transplanted into the garden when very young. 
  • Does not require additional feeding 

When to plant zinnias

Tips for growing zinnias

  • Needs regular watering
  • Leaves do not like getting wet, they will burn
  • Remove spent flowers to encourage production 

Good to know

  • Easy to grow
  • Attracts bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and beneficial insects
  • Makes excellent cut flower 
  • Try several different varieties 

This article gives more information about how to grow zinnias.


10 Flowers that Love Hot Summers – and How to Grow Them: #2 Globe Amaranth (Gomphrena globose)

Globe amaranth

How to plant globe amaranth

  • Plant in full sun to part sun
  • Plant glob amaranth from seed or starts
  • Space rows 6″-12″ apart

When to plant globe amaranth

Tips for growing globe amaranth

  • Grows well in containers
  • Very heat tolerant
  • Tolerates full sun, drought, and neglect 

Good to know

  • Attracts bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and beneficial insects
  • Good for dried arrangements
  • Once dried, it remains the same color

Flowers to Plant Outside & Seeds to Start Indoors Each Month in the Low Desert of Arizona.
• PLANTING GUIDE: Each month lists annual flowers to plant outside & seeds to start indoors.
• BLOOMING GUIDE: Photos show what may be in bloom that month.


10 Flowers that Love Summer Heat – and How to Grow Them: #3 Vinca (Periwinkle)

Trailing vinca in container

How to plant vinca

  • Plant in areas with full sun to shade
  • Space plants 12″-15″  apart
  • Vinca is typically planted from transplant

When to plant vinca

Tips for growing vinca

  • Pinch blooms for fuller plants
  • Needs regular water
  • If plant dries out, water it well and it may recover

Good to know

  • Reseeds easily
  • Plant trailing varieties in containers
  • Abundant blooms
  • Tolerates neglect 

10 Flowers that Don’t Mind the Heat – and How to Grow Them: #4 Sunflowers

How to plant sunflowers

  • Space small blooms 6″ apart, the largest blooms need 3′
  • Likes full sun
  • Sow sunflower seeds directly into soil

When to plant sunflowers

Tips for growing sunflowers

  • Tolerates poor soil, but better soil = better blooms
  • Smaller-size blooms can be grown in containers
  • Look for branching varieties and single-stem varieties

Good to know

  • Makes a great trellis for other plants
  • Attracts birds and other wildlife
  • Edible seeds
  • Excellent cut flower

This article gives more information about growing sunflowers.


10 Flowers that Love Hot Summers – and How to Grow Them: #5 Lisianthus

How to Grow Lisianthus: 10 Tips for Growing Lisianthus

How to plant lisianthus

  • Buy transplants or plugs; seeds can be very difficult.
  • Likes full sun; afternoon shade ok in hot climates

When to plant lisianthus

  • Plant in the spring after all danger of frost has passed.
  • In the low desert of Arizona plant lisianthus from March through June
  • Flowers from May through November 

Tips for growing lisianthus

  • Tall plants may need support
  • After the first flush of blooms, cut the stems back all the way to the rosette. 
  • Planting it early in the season gives lisianthus plenty of time to become established before the heat of the summer in hot climate areas.

Good to know

  • Lisianthus prefers moist, but not soggy soil.
  • Lisianthus benefits from rich soil and regular feeding from a flower fertilizer.
  • Shorter varieties can be grown in containers
  • Lisianthus is actually a perennial and can be overwintered in warmer zones (zones 8-10).

This article gives more information about growing lisianthus.



10 Flowers that Can Take the Heat – and How to Grow Them: #6 Blue Salvia

How to plant blue salvia

  • Plant in flower beds and containers, and along borders
  • Plant from transplants

When to plant blue salvia

Tips for growing blue salvia

  • Let blue salvia dry out between waterings
  • Cut back spent blooms to encourage more blooms

Good to know

  • Drought tolerant
  • Blooms all summer long
  • Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds
  • Reseeds easily
  • Dies back in frost but often returns – cut back in spring 

10 Flowers that Love Summer Heat – and How to Grow Them: #7 Red Salvia

How to plant red salvia

When to plant red salvia

Tips for growing red salvia

  • Let red salvia dry out a little between waterings
  • Cut back spent blooms to encourage branching and more blooms

Good to know

  • Drought tolerant
  • Blooms all summer long
  • Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds
  • Reseeds easily
  • Dies back in frost but often returns – cut back in spring

10 Flowers that Don’t Mind the Heat – and How to Grow Them: #8 Black-Eyed Susan (Rudebekia)

How to plant rudebekia

  •  Does best started directly from seed
  • Prefers afternoon shade
  • Blooms all summer long
  • Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds
  • Reseeds easily
  • Dies back in frost but often returns – cut back in spring

When to plant rudebekia

  • Start seeds indoors from August through January
  • Plant seeds or transplants outside from October through March
  • Blooms June through October

Tips for growing rudebekia

  • Deadhead often during season to encourage blooms
  • Leave blooms on the plant and the end of the season to reseed – or remove spent blooms if you don’t want plant to spread
  • Shorter varieties grow well in containers

Good to know

  • avoid overhead watering to prevent mildew
  • thin seedlings to about a foot apart

10 Flowers that Love Summer Heat – and How to Grow Them: #9 Angelonia (Summer Snapdragon)

How to plant angelonia

  • Typically planted from transplant
  • Prefers hot, sunny, summer locations
  • Likes moist, well-drained soil 
  • Plant in flowerbeds, borders and containers
  • Allow 1′-2′ between plants

When to plant angelonia

  • Plant transplants after danger of frost has passed (March – October)
  • Blooms all summer long
  • Possible to grow year-round

Tips for growing angelonia

  • Grows well in containers
  • Likes occasional feedings with all-purpose fertilizer
  • Cut back dead or dying stems to encourage blooms
  • Cover if danger of frost 

Good to know

  • Tolerates brief dry spells
  • Flowers all summer long
  • Attracts butterflies and bees
  • Low-maintenance
  • Comes in several colors 
  • Can be grown from seeds or cuttings

10 Flowers that Love Desert Heat – and How to Grow Them: #10 Four O’Clocks

How to plant four o’clocks

  • Does best started from seed 
  • Tolerates full sun, also grows in partial shade
  • Excellent border flower, and in containers

When to plant four o’clocks

  • Plant seeds outside from March through June
  • Blooms from July through November

Tips for growing four o’clocks

Good to know

  • May attract squash bugs
  • All parts of the plant (including seeds) are toxic

This article shares more information about how to grow four o’clocks.


Looking for more ideas? Other hot weather tolerant bloomers include:


Summer Balsam, Basil, Begonia, Celosia, Coleus, Coreopsis, Cosmos, Dahlias, Desert Marigold, Desert Milkweed, Gaillardia, Impatiens, Mexican Hat, Portulaca, Purslane, Sage, Statice, Strawflower, Tithonia (Mexican Sunflower), Verbena, Wild Hyssop


Arizona annual flowers planting guide helps you learn when to plant flowers in Arizona, and whether to plant seeds or transplants.


If you enjoyed this post about flowers that grow well during hot summers, please share it:


Nancy

Sunday 6th of September 2020

Hi Angela,

I live in south west Utah. Our weather is a lot like yours. Thanks for the great advice. Do you know of a flower that will grow well in morning shade and afternoon sun?

Thanks!

Angela Judd

Wednesday 9th of September 2020

Sunflowers, Vinca and Angelonia would all be fine.

Brenda Adams

Monday 1st of July 2019

My zinnias are being completely destroyed by something despite my spraying with sevin. Something is eating on the leaves and they turn brown, swivel up and die. What do you suggest? I am in Hilton Head Island, SC. Thanks!

Angela Judd

Tuesday 2nd of July 2019

For insect issues, pinch off affected leaves and stem and remove the affected foliage to prevent the pests from spreading. Clear debris (such as leaves and spent blooms) from under plants, they can provide a hiding place for pests. Watering zinnias at ground level not at the leaves, allowing enough space between plants and watering early in the day are all essential for preventing common zinnia issues such as Alternaria leaf spot, bacterial leaf spot, and powdery mildew.

Kathy Powers

Saturday 25th of May 2019

I have grown most of these flowers here in very sunny, ho, humid SE Florida and they do well. I would also add marigolds as they are doing nicely right now and giving me tons of extra seeds to replant and share. I have added Blue Daze this year to see how it lasts during the summer. It makes a colorful border flower and can grow wide to cover a lot of ground. Seems to prefer lots of sun.

Angela Judd

Monday 27th of May 2019

Thank you for responding. I'm glad to hear the flowers do well in Florida. My marigolds do well here until the hottest parts of summer, they bounce back in the fall. I love blue daze as well. Thanks!

Dottie Blackwell

Saturday 20th of April 2019

How will these plants do in SWFlorida? Hot, humid, rainy, summer.

Liz

Wednesday 27th of July 2022

@Angela Judd, a tadd FYI for the FL gardener :) I hope you're okay Angela, w a contribution :) It's the teacher/researcher in me who always wants to be helpful :):):)

1. I often contact the LSU University Agriculture Dept for info on my area in LA.

2. Since some of my children will be relocating me to their area in the FL Panhandle, I already contacted the FL State Ag Center w questions re: what I can bring into the state, and they have been most helpful.

3. There's also a Central FL you-tube Gardener who seems to be knowledgeable as Angela about gardening in her area. Her YT Channel is The Urban Harvest Homegrown Education. She's an educated-professional-gentle style like Angela.

4. My next FL contact will be the Gainesville state University Ag Dept.

Many Blessings y'all......................

Angela Judd

Saturday 20th of April 2019

Good question. My experience is with the drier heat of Arizona. These plants can take the heat and I imagine most would welcome the added moisture and humidity. Take note during the summer of flowers that do well in your area in other yards and businesses, start there. You may want to give the flowers I've mentioned a try. Annuals are an inexpensive way to experiment and add color in your landscape.

Kristin Sullivan :-)

Tuesday 2nd of April 2019

I love this post! Thanks for the great photos and information. I'm going to give some of these heat loving flowers a spot in my garden.

Angela Judd

Tuesday 2nd of April 2019

Thanks Kristin! I"m so glad it was helpful. Thanks for reading and commenting!