35 Summer Flowers You Don't Have to Water All the Time (2024)

Masses of colorful summer flowers bring undeniable cheer to a gardener. A skyrocketing water bill? Not so much. But there are plenty of flowers that can handle the summer heat without demanding you water them all the time. Like all plants, they'll need more frequent watering while they are young, but once these summer-blooming beauties are established, you can keep the hose wound up most days—or even take a vacation—and the flowers will keep coming.

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African Daisy

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Silvery foliage contrasts with vibrant flowers in African daisy (Arctotis spp.) plants. If you live in a mild climate, African daisies will do fine without an abundance of water (in high heat, the flower will close up and require more water).

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-draining soil

Size: 1 to 3 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide

Zones: 9-11

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Anise Hyssop

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The tall, nectar-producing flowers of anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) will draw pollinators aplenty to your summer garden. Both the foliage and colorful flowers of this perennial also add delightful fragrance.

Growing Conditions: Part to full sun and well-draining soil

Size: 1 to 3 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide

Zones: 4-10

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Black-Eyed Susan

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A garden staple for good reason, drought-tolerant black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia spp.) bring the color from midsummer all the way through fall, when many other flowers fade. They come in both annual and perennial varieties.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and average soil

Size: 1 to 5 five tall and 1 to 3 feet wide

Zones: 3-11

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Blanket Flower

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The blooms just keep coming when you plant a blanket flower (Gallardia spp.) in your garden. Native to American prairies, the plant can handle poor soil and drought, making it an especially good option for rock gardens.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: 1-3 feet tall and 1-2 feet wide

Zones: 3-10

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Borage

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The vibrant blue flowers of borage (Borago officinalis) aren't just striking in an herb garden—they're edible too. Toss them into salads, drinks, or desserts.

Growing Conditions: Part to full sun and well-draining soil

Size: 1 to 3 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide

Zones: 2-11

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Celosia

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For summer flowers that look otherworldly, try celosia. Some look like small flames, others like candles, and still others like ocean coral. But all love the heat, and most varieties are drought tolerant.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-draining soil

Size: 6 to 12 inches tall and 6 to 18 inches wide

Zones: 10-11

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Coneflower

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With their long, colorful petals and distinctive cone-shaped centers, coneflowers (Echinacea spp.) are irresistible to both gardeners and pollinators. The perennial comes in single and double varieties, and in colors ranging from hot reds and oranges to cool pastel pink.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-draining soil

Size: 1-3 feet tall and 1-2 feet wide

Zones: 3-9

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Catmint

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For a plant that is sure to thrive without a lot of fuss, it's hard to beat catmint (Nepeta spp.). These hard-working perennials bloom with pretty purple flowers even in poor soil, and are rarely bothered by deer or pests.

Growing Conditions: Part to full sun and average soil

Size: 6-12 inches tall and 12 to 36 inches wide

Zones: 3-9

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Coreopsis

The bright flowers of coreopsis herald the beginning of summer—and the plants keep on blooming all season long through heat and humidity. Deadhead the flowers regularly to encourage more buds to form, but be sure to leave a few flowers on the plant—birds love their seeds.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and average soil

Size: 1 to 4 five tall and 1 to 3 feet wide

Zones: 3-9

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Cosmos

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Cosmos may look delicate on their thin stems, but the plants don't actually require much fuss—in fact, these annuals stand up well to dry conditions once they're established. Breeders have played up the romance of this flower, creating single, semi-double, and fully double in a variety of pretty hues.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-draining soil

Size: 1 to 6 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide

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Daylily

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Mid-summer is when the flowers of daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.) make their debut, unfurling gorgeous petals in a huge spectrum of colors and shapes from spider to ruffled. These fast-growing perennials are surprisingly resilient and handle drought well.

Growing Conditions: Part to full sun and well-draining soil

Size: 1 to 3 feet tall and 1 to 3 feet wide

Zones: 3-10

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Dianthus

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Dianthus may be best known as a spring flower, but breeders have produced many cultivars that can handle the heat of summer without a ton of water too. Varieties range from tough groundcovers to taller varieties that are perfect for vases.

Growing Conditions: Part to full sun and well-draining soil

Size: 4-36 inches tall and 4 to 24 inches wide

Zones: 3-10

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French Marigold

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As companions in a vegetable beds or showcased in a pot, French marigolds (Tagetes patula) evoke the bright and sunny days of summer. The annuals—available in double, pom-pom, and single-petaled varieties—grow easily from seed, and do well without much water once they're established.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-draining soil

Size: 6 to 24 inches tall and 6 to 18 inches wide

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Pink Evening Primrose

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At the end of a long day, the cheerful flowers of pink evening primrose (Oenothera speciosa) is a welcome sight. The fragrant, cupped flowers open white and mature to pink. Though this is a native perennial, the plants tend to spread easily (in some areas, quite aggressively) so site it where it can sprawl.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-draining soil

Size: 8 to 24 inches wide

Zones: 3-11

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Globe Amaranth

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Globe amaranth (Gomphrena globosa) produces tiny white flowers, but its stiff, bright magenta bracts are what really stand out in gardens or in vases. An annual in most places (though it can grow as a short-lived perennial in Zones 2-8), globe amaranth will bloom even in drought conditions from summer through fall.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-draining soil

Size: 1-4 feet tall and 1-3 feet wide

Zones: 2-8

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Geraniums

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There are plenty of reasons geraniums (Pelargonium spp.) adorn so many gardens, pots, and window boxes—they don't just produce colorful flowers in summer, but hold up in hot, low-water conditions too. Of the various types of geraniums, zonal varieties do best in the heat.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-draining soil

Size: 6 to 24 inches tall and 5 to 24 inches wide

Zones: 10-11

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Jerusalem Sage

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Loads of lemon-yellow flowers on Jerusalem sage (Phlomis fruticosa) will draw pollinators to your yard from spring through summer. The shrub's velvety leaves, which look pretty on their own too, remain evergreen in Zones 8-10. A sturdy member of the mint family, it does just fine without a lot of water.

Growing Conditions: Part to full sun and well-draining soil

Size: 2 to 4 feet tall and 3 to 5 feet wide

Zones: 8-10

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Kangaroo Paw

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As befits an Australian native, kangaroo paw (Anigozanthos spp.) handles hot, dry conditions beautifully. It's little surprise that it's become increasingly popular in drought-prone regions in the U.S. Expect the plant to shoot up quickly and unfurl its unusual, club-shaped flower buds.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-draining soil

Size: 6 to 72 inches tall and 1 to 4 feet wide

Zones: 10-11

Kangaroo paw is a perennial only in the warmest climates. If you live in a cooler region, you can still grow it as a summer annual. Or display it in a pot in summer and let it overwinter indoors until the following summer.

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Lamb's Ear

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Lamb's ear (Stachys spp.) is best known for its velvety, silvery leaves and stems. Come summer, though, many varieties of this reliable, low-water plant send up flowers in pink, purple, red, or white. The plant reseeds easily so if you want to limit its spread, remove the flowers as soon as they fade.

Growing Conditions: Part to full sun and well-draining soil

Size: 6 to 24 inches tall and 1 to 3 feet wide

Zones: 4-9

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Lantana

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With varieties that range from upright to trailing, and offering an array of flower colors, lantana is a versatile player in a summer garden. The clusters of small, tubular flowers, which often have a tie-dye effect, draw the eye—and plenty of pollinators too.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-draining soil

Size: 6-12 inches tall and 16-48 inches wide

Zones: 8-11

Lantana is an invasive plant in California, Florida, Hawaii, and Texas. If you choose to include it in your garden, confine it in containers and deadhead it regularly to limit seed production.

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Lavender

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Lavender (Lavendula spp.) is a staple of Mediterranean gardens, thanks to its romantic quality and ability to withstand dry, hot weather. There are hundreds of varieties of this herb, from hardy English lavenders to earlier-blooming Spanish types.

Growing Conditions:

Full sun and well-draining soil

Size: 1-3 feet tall and 1-3 feet wide

Zones: 5-9

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Milkweed

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Best known for providing essential food for monarch butterfly caterpillars, milkweed (Asclepiasspp.) produces large clusters of flowers in summer that attract all sorts of pollinators. These North American natives are very adaptable to drought conditions too.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-draining soil

Size: 1 to 5 feet tall and 1 to 3 feet wide

Zones: 3-9

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Moss Rose

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Moss rose (Portaluca spp.) is adapted to dry, desert-like conditions, which means it basks in the summer heat and thrives with very little water. This annual plant features a trailing habit and single, semi-double, or fully double flowers in jewel tones (or, less commonly, pastels).

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-draining soil

Size: 4-12 inches tall and 6-16 inches wide

Zones: 10-11

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Penstemon

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Whatever style or size garden you have, there's a pretty, low-water penstemon for you. Whether it's a dwarf alpine plants or a prairie variety that reaches for the sky, the stems are covered in little flowers of various colors.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-draining soil

Size: 6 to 72 inches tall and 8 to 36 inches wide

Zones: 3-9

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Perennial Salvia

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There are hundreds of perennial salvia species and the majority of them are easy-growing, low-water performers in the garden. Their flowers are versatile, and favorites for cottage-style perennial borders as well as meadow gardens.

Growing Conditions: Part to full sun and well-draining soil

Size: 1 to 3 feet tall and 1 to 3 feet wide

Zones: 3-10

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Russian Sage

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The individual lavender flowers may be tiny on Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia), but as they bloom together on tall wands, they make a big impact. The more sun they get, the happier these fragrant perennials will be.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-draining soil

Size: 3 to 8 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide

Zones: 4-9

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Sedum

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A massive family of plants, sedum (Hylotelephium spp.) comes in all sorts of varieties that produce sweet summer flowers without much water at all. They vary greatly in height and foliage ranges from needle-like to broad, rounded, paddle-like leaves.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-draining soil

Size: 2 to 36 inches tall and 14 to 48 inches wide

Zones: 3-10

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Spider Flower

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Despite what its name may suggest, spider flower (Cleome hassleriana) is a real charmer in the garden. Ideal for the back of the border, these annuals reach up to five feet tall (without requiring staking) and bloom with pink, white, and purple flowers that evoke the tropics.

Growing Conditions: Part or full sun and well-draining soil

Size: 1 to 5 feet tall and 1 to 4 feet wide

Zones: 2-11

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Stokes' Aster

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Native to the southeastern United States, Stokes' aster (Stokesia laevis) typically blooms from spring all the way through fall, requiring very little water along the way. It's a go-to plant for cottage gardens.

Growing Conditions: Part or full sun and well-draining soil

Size: 1 to 3 feet tall and 12 to 18 inches wide

Zones: 5-9

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Summer Snapdragon

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Summer snapdragon (Angelonia spp.) has made a big impression since it was introduced in the 1990s, thanks to flower spikes that handle heat and humidity well. Its flowers resemble true snapdragons, though they're not related. In Zones 9-11, it can be grown as a perennial; in others, as an annual.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-draining soil

Size: 1-3 feet tall and 1-2 feet wide

Zones: 9-11

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Verbena

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You won't need to water verbena often for it to thrive—in fact, the plant is known to pop up between cracks in the pavement. Let this flowering beauty cascade from hanging baskets, spread as a groundcover in a rock gardens, or climb a trellis.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-draining soil

Size: 6 to 12 inches tall and 12 to 20 inches wide

Zones: 7-9

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Veronica

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Whether producing flowers on tall spikes or low to the ground, veronica (also known as speedwell) makes any sunny garden bed more interesting. The summer-blooming varieties of this perennial tend to be taller and rebloom more often than other types.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-draining soil

Size: 6 to 36 inches tall and 8 to 24 inches wide

Zones: 3-11

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Yarrow

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Tough but sweet, yarrow (Achillea spp.) handles drought conditions and poor soil extremely well. Its cheerful clusters of flowers in colors ranging from white to yellow to coral top fern-like foliage, making the plant a versatile player in both cottage and meadow gardens.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-draining soil

Size: 6-24 inches tall and 2-3 feet wide

Zones: 3-9

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Yucca

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The spiky foliage of yucca creates an architectural foil to the white flowers that it shoots up in summer. You can keep the hose coiled: Yuccas dislike water (in fact, they're prone to root rot if they get too much moisture).

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-draining soil

Size: 1 to 3 feet tall and 3 to 15 feet wide

Zones: 4-11

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Zinnia

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While zinnia seedlings need moist soil as they grow, once plants are established, they're remarkably drought-tolerant. The cheerful summer annuals are favorites of beginning gardeners (including kids) for their low-fuss nature and long-lasting, colorful blooms.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-draining soil

Size: 1 to 4 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide

Zones: 2-11

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35 Summer Flowers You Don't Have to Water All the Time (2024)

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