14 Flowers for the Heat

If your garden can’t seem to beat the summer heat, perhaps one of these heat tolerant shrubs can take the stage while everything else rests. Unlike annuals, shrubs have extensive root systems that can help keep them stable during even the most trying times. Some shrubs go beyond that and bloom profusely! Find 14 of our favorite heat tolerant flowering shrubs below:

  • Deer Proof
    BEYOND PINK’D® Bluebeard

    Darling dark pink flowers on a BLUEbeard! Beyond Pink’d® caryopteris brings a bright pop of pink to the late summer landscape with tons of blooms on a compact habit. With an annual hard prune in late winter, it springs back up in the perfect rounded form. Hundreds of whimsical multi-tiered blooms act as a buffet for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Trust us, they come in droves. Though it is not quite as hardy as other bluebeards, it is fast growing and beautiful enough to be grown as a patio plant in colder areas. With so many flower-filled stems, you’ll have plenty to cut for arrangements and leave behind for pollinators. They’ll even arrive in the heat!

    Why grow Beyond Pink’d® bluebeard?

    • Dramatic flower display
    • Great pollinator plant
    • Grows quickly to its mature size

    Bluebeard habit icon

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Caryopteris incana

ZONES 7b-9
FULL SUN
2-2.5 ft. (.6-.76m) tall and wide

Rounded blooms stack one on top of another to make a whimsical-looking spike. Flowers open progressively from bottom to top, giving each stem a long window of interest. Plus, they’re like a buffet for pollinators.

PRUNING CARE
Cut to the ground each spring. This gives the plant a bushy habit filled with vibrant growth. Flowers pop up on new growth, so you don’t need to worry about pruning off any buds.

  • LO & BEHOLD® ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ Butterfly Bush

    Lo & Behold® ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ butterfly bush is the kind of plant you want to use everywhere. With a super tidy habit, small overall size, and non-invasive status, you truly can put it in any garden role! It fills a container nicely, makes a super low maintenance edging, and feels right at home in any water wise garden. It blooms early in summer and keeps going until the last breaths of fall, without any need to deadhead. It quickly grows to its mature size, filling in holes in the garden and reliably providing food for pollinators.

    Why grow Lo & Behold ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ butterfly bush?

    • Reliable pollinator plant
    • Easy care regimen
    • Convenient small habit

    Blue Chip Jr. habit icon

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Buddleia

ZONES 5-9
FULL SUN
1.5-2.5 ft. (.45-.76m) tall and wide

Slender blue flowers spring out from this tidy little bun all summer long. It thrives in sunny, dry gardens, so a little heat doesn’t phase it. It’ll put out flowers no matter what. 

PRUNING CARE
No deadheading is needed for continuous blooming! You can certainly trim off spent flowers if you like the look, but it isn’t necessary. Each early spring, cut the plant down by half or two-thirds. Base your cuts on the location of swelling green leaf buds and cut just above them. 

  • CENTER STAGE® Pink Crapemyrtle

    Everything you love about crapemyrtles, but intensified. We love how they represent the abundant joy of summertime, well Center Stage Pink crapemyrtle blooms earlier! It starts your summer bloomfest off with a ruffly bang! We also can’t get over their fully saturated coloring. and you’ll find super deep pink flowers all over this one. It contrasts elegantly, excitingly, extremely with the dark burgundy foliage. These leaves remain a handsome color throughout the ordinarily scorching summer sun exposure. It grows vigorously when other plants are floundering, so if your garden could use some steady intensity to keep the show going during the high heat of summer, you’ve met your match.

    Why grow Center Stage Pink crapemyrtle?

    • dramatic coloring on foliage and flowers
    • super heat tolerant and disease resistant
    • long bloom period
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Lagerstroemia indica

ZONES 6b-10
FULL SUN
6-12 ft. (1.8-3.6m) tall and 8 ft. (2.4m) wide

The easiest centerpiece you’ll ever place in your garden! With a commanding size, it removes decision fatigue. You can fill a space with one plant instead of deciding on five or more. It provides more interest than even 20 small plants could – it fills with bright flowers for the summer and its foliage is a handsome dark purple-black.

PRUNING CARE
No pruning necessary! 

  • EL NIÑO® Desert Orchid

    A completely new plant! El Niño desert orchid is a hybrid between a desert willow (Chilopsis linearis) and catalpa (Catalpa sp.), both of which have passed on some really neat characteristics to this remarkable new plant. It’s ready to move into your garden and brave poor soils, dry heat, and even deer to deliver deliciously fragrant orchid-like flowers to your space.

    Why grow El Niño desert orchid?

    • Fabulous garden performance with its heat tolerance and deer resistance
    • Deliciously fragrant and delicate flowers
    • Long bloom time
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Chitalpa

ZONES 6-9
FULL – PART SUN
10-15 ft. (3-4.5m) tall and 4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8m) wide

Looks like an orchid, but with tough landscape performance. Although its flower show is more abundant in the springtime, it continues to flower throughout the summertime. Adding pops of pizazz when you really need it.

PRUNING CARE
It can be grown as a small tree or, if left unshaped, as a nice, irregularly shaped shrub. It can be trimmed or pruned in early spring.

  • STEADY AS SHE GOES® Gardenia

    There have been a lot of Gardenia introductions, perhaps too many, but none have combined the level of heat tolerance, continuous blooming, and cold hardiness found in this introduction from Phil Dark. An improvement over the hardy ‘Chuck Hayes’, its fully doubled flowers do not fall off in the heat of summer, but just keep coming right up until frost. A stellar performer with a well-branched, compact habit and glossy dark evergreen foliage.

    Why grow Steady as She Goes gardenia:

    • improved heat tolerance
    • continuous blooming
    • great cold hardiness
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Gardenia jasminoides

ZONES 7-10
FULL – PART SUN
2.5-3 ft. (.6-.9m) tall and 3-4 ft. (.9-1.2m) wide

If you’ve seen gardenia flower buds fall off when the temperatures rise, you will love this plant. It doesn’t do that! Its creamy white flowers have a lovely fragrance that might even be more intense during the high heat of the summer.

PRUNING CARE
No regular maintenance is required! It produces flowers on old wood, so it shouldn’t be pruned. It has a naturally small habit, so it doesn’t need to be cut down to size.

  • LET’S DANCE® BLUE JANGLES® Reblooming Bigleaf Hydrangea

    Let’s Dance® reblooming hydrangeas flower on both old and new wood, so they’ll bloom even after harsh winters or untimely pruning. If the early summer bloom is compromised by late freezes or a pruning mistake, the plants will flower again in late summer. This is a compact selection with a sturdy frame and abundant mophead flowers. The blooms are rich blue or pink, depending on the soil pH and presence of aluminum. Thanks to its easy going nature, it makes a great addition to the low maintenance garden or as a gift to a new gardener.

    Why grow Let’s Dance® Blue Jangles® reblooming hydrangea?

    • reliable blooms thanks to old and new wood buds
    • blooms are a gorgeous bright blue in acidic soil with aluminum (and turn color easily)
    • super compact habit
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Hydrangea macrophylla

ZONES 5-9
FULL – PART SUN
1-2 ft. (.3-.6m) tall and 2-3 ft. (.6-.9m) wide

This refreshing flower color cools down the tone of the garden, even when it’s super steamy outside. Thanks to its naturally small size, it doesn’t have to struggle in the heat to keep its small amount of foliage and stems alive.

PRUNING CARE
No need to prune! It has a naturally rounded habit. You can deadhead if you’d like. Just follow the stem of the spent flower back to a set of leaves and cut just above them.

  • La Vida Mas® Indian Hawthorn

    There are no end of places you’ll be able to use this gorgeous little plant in your garden! And that’s not just due to La Vida Más® Indian hawthorn’s small size; it actually has a double whammy to offer. Repeat blooming! Site this compact, low-growing plant at the front of the border and enjoy medium-pink blooms for months. It’ll maintain a handsome visage even through drought, high heat, and pesky diseases that may poke around trying to find a foothold in your garden. Even up against these difficulties, it’ll provide food for visiting pollinators.

    Why grow La Vida Más Indian hawthorn?

    • blooms abundantly in spring and reblooms from summer to fall
    • supports pollinators
    • useful wider-than-tall habit
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Rhaphiolepis indica

ZONES 8-10
FULL – PART SUN
1-2 ft. (.3-.6m) tall and 3-4 ft. (.9-1.2m) wide

If you’ve seen an Indian hawthorn before, you might think they only bloom in the spring. This plant has more to offer! It does have a lovely first flush of flowers in the spring, but it repeats steadily throughout the rest of the growing season.

PRUNING CARE
Doesn’t need pruning to remain handsome and in control, but you can shape it a bit after its spring bloom.

  • JUICED® ORANGE Jessamine

    Hundreds of vibrant orange blooms are the hallmark of Juiced Orange jessamine. Bunches of flowers fill the dark, glossy foliage from spring to summer. Their tubular shape attracts both hummingbirds and butterflies by the dozen. This makes it the perfect addition to a pollinator garden or as a group in a border, providing constant color throughout the growing season. Its tough performance might even encourage you to shift your garden to be more water-wise, with reliable drought and heat tolerance.

    Why grow Juiced Orange jessamine?

    • Long bloom time
    • Tubular flowers attract pollinators
    • Tough landscape performance
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Cestrum corymbosum

ZONES 7b-10
FULL – PART SUN
4-5 ft. (1.2-1.5m) tall and 3-4 ft. (.9-1.2m) wide

Cheerful, unique coloring will have you constantly looking at this plant as it blooms throughout the summer. It’s a pale orange, like mango or electric mac n’ cheese. No matter how we describe it, the hummingbirds will love it!

PRUNING CARE
It takes to pruning quite well. If you’d like to shape it, do so in the springtime.

  • GATSBY GAL® Oakleaf Hydrangea

    It’s amazing to see a native oakleaf hydrangea out in a woodland, but it can be hard to picture it in the garden. That’s where the Gatsby series of H. quercifolia comes into play. This lovely native species becomes accessible to ornamental, small-scale woodland, and any other garden imaginable. Gatsby Gal® in particular is a compact selection with extra showy, full panicles of white flowers and dramatic fall foliage. Its large flowers are held away from the plant in an exclamation style, giving it an exciting firework-like appearance.

    Why grow Gatsby Gal® oakleaf hydrangea?

    • Dense, white flowers look striking in the shade.
    • Compact habit makes it a good fit for many landscape roles.
    • A native that attracts pollinators.
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Hydrangea quercifolia

ZONES 5-9
FULL – PART SUN
5-6 ft. (1.5-1.8m) tall and wide

Big fluffy white blooms and big oakleaf-shaped foliage naturally work together to bring a BIG presence to your summer garden. This plant prefers shade, and will need it during the hottest parts of the afternoon. But don’t worry, it won’t fade into the background .

PRUNING CARE
This plant looks its best when left unpruned, you’ll see why when it defoliates in late fall and its quirky branching is revealed. You can deadhead when it’s dormant in late fall or in early spring when it’s breaking bud.

  • INVINCIBELLE MINI MAUVETTE® Smooth Hydrangea

    All the dramatic pinky-purple color your heart could want in a hydrangea, but in a useful little package. Invincibelle Mini Mauvette® smooth hydrangea has transformed the world of smooth hydrangeas! It packs vibrant, unforgettable color into big mophead flowers, all on a petite habit. (A maximum of 3 feet tall and wide!) Now you can grow smooth hydrangeas at the front of the border, just like the stars they are. And since it readily reblooms, you can enjoy this color all summer long and well into fall! No deadheading, no fancy fertilizer regimens, just a reliable little native delivering constant color.

    Why grow Invincibelle Mini Mauvette® smooth hydrangea?

    • Dramatic coloring, uncommon for smooth hydrangeas.
    • Versatile compact size.
    • Easy care native that makes gardening a breeze.
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Hydrangea arborescens

ZONES 3-8
FULL – PART SUN
2.5-3 ft. (.6-.9m) tall and wide

Soft looking with a tough performance record. You won’t find these blooms bothered by heat. So long as they have moist soil, their flowers will stay colorful.

PRUNING CARE
It benefits from annual pruning in the late fall (when it’s dormant) or in the early spring when it’s breaking bud. If you’d like, you can deadhead it in the fall, but many gardeners leave the dried flowers standing for winter interest.

  • CHICKLET® Orange Trumpet Bush

    Think of Chicklet Orange Tecoma as a long-blooming trumpet vine in a non-invasive, compact shrub form. Rich orange panicles provide a festive display of color, both as a garden shrub in hot areas or as a patio plant in cooler climates.

    Why grow Chicklet Orange esperanza:

    – Colorful orange blooms all summer
    – Great in containers in cold climates
    – Dwarf habit is easy to use anywhere

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Tecoma fulva

ZONES 8-11
FULL SUN
3-6 ft. (.9-1.8m) tall and 2-4 ft. (.6-1.2m) wide

The most cheerful shade of sunny orange a plant can make! Its trumpet shaped blooms draw in the equally cheerful pollinating hummingbird. Pop it into any spot you need to fill up with color.

PRUNING CARE
Takes to pruning well! If you’d like to shape it a bit, do so in the springtime.

  • PERFECTO MUNDO® Double Purple Azalea

    If ruffled blooms delight you, Perfecto Mundo Double Purple azalea may just become your new favorite sight. Each of its short little stems end in the fluffiest bunch of doubled blooms. It starts flowering in spring, takes a break in early summer, and reblooms in earnest in late summer and fall. Its soft purple coloring is visually arresting, appearing multi-dimensional thanks to all of the overlapping petals and resulting shadows. Its foliage is lovely, both visually thanks to its constant evergreen presence and to the touch, with the light fuzz that covers each small leaf.

    Why grow Perfecto Mundo Double Purple azalea?

    • Abundant rebloom
    • Tidy habit
    • Better cold hardiness
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Rhododendron

ZONES 6b-9
FULL – PART SUN
2.5-3 ft. (.6-.9m) tall and 3-4 ft. (.9-1.2m) wide

These colorful ruffles stand out amongst all the different flower shapes you see over the span of spring and summer. They’ll break up the view when planted amongst any of your garden favorites.

PRUNING CARE
No pruning is necessary to keep this plant tidy or to encourage rebloom in the fall. 

  • Azurri Blue SATIN® Rose of Sharon

    True blue beauty that stays put. Azurri Blue Satin is a seedless rose of Sharon, perfect for low-maintenance gardens and gardeners who want to work less and enjoy more. These wide blue blooms are centered with magenta and a classic creamy pistil. A truly inspired color combination. With its size, it makes a great specimen or hedge where it flowers for weeks, making a great backdrop to other shrubs and perennials. With this steady arrival of blooms, it can act as one of the touchstones for your garden, every other plant echoing its blue, burgundy, and cream flower coloring. It’s super easy to grow – tolerating a range of soil types, heat tolerant and deer resistant, and not needing a bit of pruning thanks to its handsome consistent habit.

    Why grow Azurri Blue Satin rose of Sharon?

    • Seedless, so you won’t get nuisance seedlings
    • Fantastic coloring
    • Impressive large habit
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Hibiscus syriacus

ZONES 5-9
FULL SUN
8-12 ft. (2.4-3.6m) tall and 6-10 ft. (1.8-3m) wide

Two words describe the flower show a rose of Sharon puts out: fresh abundance. New flowers open every day, by the hundreds! 

PRUNING CARE 
Regular pruning isn’t necessary, but if you’d like to shape it up, you can do so in the springtime.

  • SIMPLY SCENTSATIONAL® Sweetshrub

    The nicest smelling native on the market! Simply Scentsational® Calycanthus is the result of thousands of sniffs and we’re proud to say this is the most intriguing scent you’ll find in any garden. Debate amongst your friends and relatives whether it’s melon, banana, strawberry, or even Juicy Fruit gum that your nose is picking up. And while you’re at it, you can admire its gorgeous velvety magnolia-like flowers.

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Calycanthus floridus

ZONES 4-9
FULL – PART SUN
6 ft. (1.8m) tall and 4-5 ft. (1.2-1.5m) wide

For a different type of drama, you’ll love these dark burgundy blooms. They start appearing in the spring and continue all summer long. If you get close, you’ll enjoy a lovely fragrance.

PRUNING CARE
It naturally maintains a lovely, upright habit. If you’d like to shape it a bit, you can do so in the springtime just as it starts to break bud.

If none of these shrubs seem quite right, check out this complete list of our heat tolerant shrubs.

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Picture of Kristina Howley

Kristina Howley

I am all in when it comes to gardening. Almost every part of the experience delights me – new leaves emerging in spring, pollinators buzzing in summer, birds devouring berries in fall, and the somber beauty of seed heads in winter. Thanks to a background in horticulture and gardening my own clay-filled, flowery USDA zone 5b plot, I’ve learned plenty of practical things as well. I like sharing these joys and lessons with my fellow gardeners and soon-to-be gardeners any way I can.

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