Look out, all you faint-pastel-colored spring flowers--summer is here, and along with it, a profusion of summer color for the garden. Instead of the lavender and soft pink of spring, summer flowers are big, bold and bright. Tropical flowers, wild flowers and summer bulbs, with their fiery reds and blazing yellows, add sizzle and pop to what was, for months, a sea of softness.
Since some flowers wouldn't dream of showing up in the garden until the temperature is a respectable 75 degrees F or warmer, your beds and containers will be packed with fashionably late and heat-loving summer flowers.
Carnations are easy to grow. They can grow to 18 inches in height and can be grown in garden beds or in containers. Plant them in full sun, water twice a week during dry periods, fertilize twice a month and the carnation plant will provide you with blooms from June until late August. Cut them back to 3 inches in the winter and throw a handful of mulch over them. Depending upon variety, carnations can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 10.
Vinca is a heat- and sun-loving, drought-tolerant summer flower. Native to Madagascar, vinca will bloom all summer, until fall. Vinca that flower in the summer are known as Catharanthus, and horticulturists at Colorado State University warn that they shouldn't be confused with vinca minor and vinca major. Catharanthus, in fact, have opposite requirements than the others C. roseus is the summer blooming species. It will grow to 18 inches tall, although there are some trailing types. C. roseus is hardy to USDA zones 9a to 11.
Give your garden a touch of the tropics with a flaming red canna. This plant thrives in hot, sunny locations and will bloom all summer. It is easy to grow and there are dwarf varieties for your patio garden. Water canna twice a week during dry periods to maintain its bloom; other than that, it is a carefree plant. There are a number of gorgeous canna colors to choose from, ranging from soft yellow to hot red. Canna is hardy to USDA zones 8 to 11.