Summer is here! Plants are bustling. The sun and blue sky are aplenty. Everyone’s happy. Yet, the summer heat can wreak havoc on a garden . Flowering plants can wilt and abandon their blooms by mid-summer. Luckily, there are some tough plants out there that scoff at intense rays by producing flowers all the way into fall.
If there’s any plant that symbolizes the South, it has to be the crape myrtle. This regal specimen can be found adorning lawns, boulevards, hedge formations, and even patio gardens. There are flower colors for every taste from whites to pinks to reds. The foliage comes to life in the fall, with tinges of autumn colors like deep oranges and shimmery reds. Not to be outdone by the blooms and leaves, the peeling bark in the winter makes sure the Crape is a standout in every season. Its propensity for being low maintenance makes it a surefire choice for even the blackest of thumbs.
Dynamite Crape Myrtle
This large and in charge crape myrtle (up to 30 feet high) displays fire engine red blooms for up to four months. It reblooms constantly throughout summer into fall. Homeowners can see their curb appeal jump drastically with the addition of even one of these beauties.
Growing Zones: 7-9
Cherry Dazzle Crape Myrtle
This is the one true dwarf crape myrtle, reaching a max height of five feet. Cones of red flowers are complemented by bronze green foliage. In the fall, the leaves turn a reddish orange hue. This plant is a must for a hedge design or as a patio plant.
Growing Zones: 6-9
Muskogee Crape Myrtle
The Muskogee is the pride of the National Arboretum, which bred this hybrid masterpiece for landscaping perfection. The 12 inch lavender blooms can last up to six months, and it’s considered the toughest of all crape myrtles. It can reach a grand height of 25 feet, and it’s guaranteed to stop all foot and motor traffic.
Growing Zones: 7-11
Endless Summer Hydrangea
The name says it all. The Endless Summer presents what seems like an eternity of blooms, with some regions having as long as six months of flowers. It can even bloom on new and old growth. It’s the perfect cut flower, and it will be the eye-grabber in any bouquet. “It’s one of the most important plant introductions of the last 50 years,” says plant expert, Michael Dirr.
Growing Zones: 4-9
Reaching majestic heights of 10 feet, the Limelight boasts lime green blooms in the summer before succumbing to deep pinks in the fall. The foliage creates its own center stage thanks to a transformation to reds in autumn. This is a must for beginner growers since the Lime Light is considered the lowest maintenance of any hydrangea.
Growing Zones: 3-8
Bloomerang® Purple Reblooming Lilac
This hybrid masterpiece really gets its blooming glutton on, with hundreds of flowers in the growing season. The Bloomerang first struts its blooming stuff in the spring. It then takes a short rest before unleashing a wave of pleasant purples from midsummer until the first frost. Its compact shape (4-5 feet high) makes it the regal choice of hedge formations or as the superstar of the patio garden. Its only requirements are a well-drained soil with compost and a light prune after the initial spring bloom.
Growing Zones: 3-7
Miss Kim Lilac
This Manchurian native offers longer blooms than any of its lilac cousins. Pink-purple buds bestow ice-blue hues at maturity and then finally burgundy reds in the fall. Its also a prime pick for the South since it can withstand heat better than most varieties. Its compact size (6-8 feet tall) will turn a normal hedge design into a natural work of art.
Growing Zones: 3-8