When looking for the most colorful flowers, follow the butterflies. Butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to vivid bursts of color; plant the flowers butterflies flock to as a foolproof method for choosing the most colorful blooms. Colorful flowers come in a variety of shapes and sizes and generally need full sun to keep their petals vibrant, though a few varieties tolerate lower light levels.
Pentas plants (Pentas lanceolata) display colorful flowers in pink, white, red or lavender with green foliage; plants bloom in clustered flowers that take on a tubular star formation from summer to the fall season. Pentas flowers are highly attractive to both butterflies and hummingbirds. Thriving in partial sun to partial shade, pentas plants prefer moist, well-drained, fertile soil but are tolerant of many soil types, including clay, sand and loam. Pentas might need to be moved to a container and brought indoors if your region's winter temperatures fall below freezing. This colorful flowering plant grows to a height and width of 2 to 3 feet, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension. Plant in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 8B to 11.
Cannas are "bold, exotic-looking plants grown for their attractive flowers and foliage," according to the Iowa State University Extension. Cannas display blooms in hues of orange, yellow, pink or red during the summer season, with large, solid, variegated or marbled green to bronze/burgundy leaves. Thriving in full sun, this colorful flowering plant prefers moist, well-drained soil and is generally resistant to pests and diseases. Keep cannas in warm temperatures, particularly a range of 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter months; if you live in a colder region, cannas may need to be brought indoors. Cannas grow to a height of 3 to 5 feet, but "giant" varieties may grow to a height of up to 10 feet. Plant in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 4 to 11.
Ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis) is a colorful flower that attracts a large variety of butterflies, including monarchs, silver-spotted skippers and spicebush swallowtails. Displaying an abundance of deep, vivid, purple radial flowers that bloom in late summer, ironweed thrives in full sunlight and prefers a wide variety of moist soil types. Ironweed grows to a height of up to 6 feet, according to the Ohio State University Extension. Be sure to keep ironweed in environments above 33 degrees Fahrenheit and plant in hardiness zones 5 to 8.
Bird of Paradise
Bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae) is a flower native to South Africa "resembling a brightly colored bird in flight," according to the Clemson University Extension. Displaying a uniquely shaped blossom, the flower unfolds from leaf structures that house the petals; bright orange petals bloom along with saturated blue tongues. Thriving in full sunlight, bird of paradise tolerates lesser sunlight, prefers moderate humidity and moist, well-drained soil as well as temperatures of 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit during nighttime hours. Bloom time is late winter to early spring. This vivid, colorful flower grows to a height and width of approximately 5 feet. Plant bird of paradise in hardiness zones 10 to 11.