Spring flowers are common in gardens. The best compliment to the spring flowers is extending the growing season to incorporate summer outdoor flowers. These summer blooming plants can be used in containers or throughout the garden to bloom when the spring flowers start to fade. Summer flowers can keep a garden fresh and in bloom longer.
The butter daisy, Melampodium divaricatum, is from the aster/daisy family. It is an easy to grow annual, fast growing, and good for container gardening. Flowers are yellow, 1 inch wide, and like daisies. Leaves are bright green. They flower profusely in the summer. Grow a butter daisy in well drained soil in good sun. Propagation is via self seeding from other butter daisies in the area.
The whirling butterflies, Gaura lindheimeri, is from the evening primrose family. It is an easy to grow perennial that is drought tolerant. It will get 2 to 4 feet tall with 2 to 3 feet in width. Leaves are 1 to 3 inches long and the stems are hairy and 8 to 24 inches long. Flowers are 1 inch wide and white turning to pink by the end of the day. Grow whirling butterflies in full sun or partial shade in dry soil. Propagate via seed or clump division in the spring.
The Mexican sunflower, Tithonia rotundiflora, is from the aster/daisy family. It is a fast growing annual that attracts butterflies. It will get 5 to 6 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide. Leaves are fuzzy and 4 to 10 inches long. Flowers are reddish orange and 3 inches wide. Grow a Mexican sunflower in full sun or partial shade in well drained soil. Propagate via seeds.
The scarlet hibiscus, Hibiscus coccineus, is from the mallow family. It is a wetland perennial. It will get 7 feet tall with red flowers 6 to 8 inches wide. Leaves are serrated and narrow. Grow a scarlet hibiscus in full sun in moist soil. Propagate via root division or by seed.
The zinnia, Zinnia elegans, is from the aster/daisy family. It is a drought tolerant annual that attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. They can range from 6 inches to 3 feet in height with 2 inch to 6 inch flower heads. They range in color depending on cultivar. Leaves are lance shaped and feel like sandpaper. Grow a zinnia in well drained soil in full sun. Propagate via seed in spring.