Summer plants provide a garden with color and texture to create an attractive landscape display. They are available in different types, including perennials, annuals and shrubs, to help create a balanced mix within the garden. Some summer plants are ideal planted as a specimen plant within the garden, while others are ideal planted within a perennial bed or border. Have fun choosing summer plants that are hardy within the current U.S. Department of Agriculture zone to ensure a healthy plant.
Tickseed (Coreopsis grandiflora "Baby Sun") produces bright blooms throughout the summer and is suitable in USDA zones 4 to 9. The clump-forming perennial reaches heights up to 3 feet and a width of 1 to 3 feet. The 2-inch wide daisy-like flowerheads on tickseed are golden yellow with a fringed edge. Tickseed has a fast growth rate to have the summer garden bursting with color in a short period of time. The dissected foliage on tickseed is bright green. The tall erect stems make tickseed ideal fresh cut flowers. Tickseed requires regular deadheading, or removing the spent blooms. This summer plant grows best in full sun to part shade and well-drained, nutrient-rich soil.
Wild hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens) is a summer-blooming shrub that grows in USDA zones 3 to 9. It reaches a maximum height of 6 feet and spreads from 3 to 6 feet. The 6-inch flattened flowerheads on wild hydrangea are creamy white, which creates an elegant display within a garden. Wild hydrangea has a moderate growth rate and spreading growth habit. The heart-shaped foliage is deep green to contrast with the pale blooms. Wild hydrangea requires part sun and shade, preferring a shady afternoon to the midday sun. It blooms on the current season's growth and looks attractive when planted in rows along a border or bed.
Cosmos (Cosmos spp.) is an annual flower that is hardy in all USDA zones. Cosmos flowers bloom from spring into early fall, creating a long-lasting growing season. The daisy-like, fringed flowerheads grow in a wide range of colors, including pink, white, yellow and red. Cosmos grow 36 to 72 inches tall and 10 to 12 inches wide. The bright green fern-like foliage is bushy and the flowers attract butterflies to the garden. Cosmos grow best in full sun and moist, well-drained soil that is fertile. They require a regular round of deadheading, or removing the spent blooms, to keep the annual full of bright blooms.