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16 Beat-the-Heat Annuals That Thrive in Warm Climates

Summer sun can be brutally strong in some climates, and it’s not for the faint of heart. These heat-tolerant annuals not only survive in the heat, they thrive in it. They produce more flowers on larger plants as the temperatures rise, making them ideal for growing in warm climates and places with hot summers.

Contributors: Susan Martin

CAMPFIRE® Flame Bidens 

If your porch, patio or window boxes are located in full blazing sun, this is the plant for you. This vigorous annual thrives in heat and doesn’t mind if the soil dries out a bit now and then. Its deep orange flowers keep right on coming from spring into fall atop the bushy, green foliage. Try pairing it with the new Luscious® Royale Cosmo which thrives in the same conditions.

14-16” tall x 10-16” spread. Full sun.

TOUCAN® Coral Canna x generalis

If you love the look of tropical plants but need one that is as easy to grow as a petunia, try our Toucan® Cannas. They grow quickly to make bold thrillers in your large containers and thrive in the landscape too. Their more manageable size makes them more proportional and easier to pair with other plants in combination containers. Cannas flower like crazy all summer in warm climates where they love the heat, and are grown more for their bold foliage in northernmost climates where they bloom late in the season. Toucan Coral bears tropical salmon pink flowers that attract pollinators atop its lush green foliage.

30-48” tall x 18-24” spread. Part sun to sun.


lantanaLUSCIOUS® Berry Blend Lantana 

If you're looking for a tough plant it's hard to beat lantana. Drought? Heat? No problem! This pink and yellow bicolor makes a huge statement in the container or garden. Grow it on its own or paired with other sun loving plants. Clusters of fragrant blooms attract pollinators all season and bloom like crazy without deadheading. 

12-26” tall x 12-24” spread. Full sun.


The flower power of this new Supertunia Charm Petunia is remarkable, as the plant becomes completely covered in bright pink flowers from spring into fall. No need to remove the spent blooms; these petunias are self-cleaning. Supertunia Mini Vista varieties have a very bushy, mounded shape, so they are perfect for upright containers, hanging baskets and planted in the garden where they make a good substitute for Calibrachoa. They thrive in heat and humidity, so even gardeners in the south can enjoy their spectacular bloom power all season long.

6-12” tall x 18-24” spread. Part sun to sun.

SUPERTUNIA® Lovie Dovie Petunia

Patterned petunias are back in style! This adorably ruffled, white petunia is decorated with a magenta pink star pattern on every flower. Don’t let its good looks fool you: this pretty petunia is every bit as durable and floriferous as all of our Supertunia petunias, blooming like crazy from spring through fall without having to remove the spent flowers. Grow it in your hanging baskets, upright containers and window boxes either on its own or paired with your other favorite flowers.

 6-12” tall x 18-24” spread. Part sun to sun.

INTENSIA® Red Hot Phlox drummondii 

We’ve found the ideal plant to include in your patriot flower pots and window boxes this summer! This amazing plant is covered in true red flowers from early spring through fall without having to remove the spent blooms. Its mounding shape and vigorous growth makes it a fast filler for hanging baskets, upright containers and landscapes. This species of Phlox is extremely tolerant of sun, heat, humidity and drought, so it withstands the heat of summer with ease at a time when some other plants might struggle. Grow it like you would a succulent, but expect fantastic flower power, too.  

10-16” tall x 10-16” wide. Full sun.

white phloxINTENSIA® White Phlox drummondii

Intensia® Phlox are easy to grow in combination containers and sunny landscapes where they’ll play well with other medium vigor varieties. They bloom from late spring through fall on mounding plants that exhibit great disease resistance. You’ll be impressed by their tolerance of heat, humidity and drought.

10-16” tall x 10-16” wide. Full sun.



We’ve taken this popular super-sized salvia and made its awesome flower power even better. Bright violet blue flowers emerge from purple calyxes which hold their color after the flowers are spent, giving the illusion of being in bloom over a longer period. New flower spikes continue to emerge all season long above the bushy, bright green foliage, even in the hot, humid conditions of the deep south. This plant is the perfect thriller for large containers and a fantastic vertical element for landscapes. Pollinators will delight in its flowers from spring through fall. 

2-4’ tall x 2-3’ spread. Part sun to sun.

ROCKIN’® Deep Purple Salvia 

If you want to see pollinators in your garden, plant a salvia. This new selection is more refined than its predecessors, forming a dense, bushy clump of deep green foliage topped with large, deep purple flowers with black bracts all season. Butterflies, hummingbirds and bees delight in their sweet nectar. Planting this large-sized annual is a quick way to get a lot of color in your landscape in a short amount of time. It works great as a thriller in large container combinations too. 

18-36” tall x 24-30” spread. Part sun to sun.

SUPERBENA® Stormburst Verbena 

Gardeners love plants with bicolor blossoms, and the soft lavender and white striped flowers of the new Superbena Stormburst are no exception. Like all of our Superbena Verbenas, it produces large clusters of flowers through the heat of summer without going to seed and is exceptionally resistant to powdery mildew. Pair it with your favorite flowers in hanging baskets, upright containers and window boxes and enjoy its pretty blooms from spring through fall.  

6-12” tall x 18-30” spread. Part sun to sun


Señorita Blanca® Cleome

You'll love the Proven Winners line of cleomes because they are thornless, seedless, odorless, and not sticky. Whether your preference is for pure white or soft pink blooms, these are superb plants for the sunny landscape and large containers where their vigorous growth and heat, humidity, and drought tolerance make them shining stars.

2'-4' tall x 18"-2' spread. Full sun.

dahliaMystic Illusion Dahlia

Dahlias are the signature flower of the summer border. Their blooms make long lasting additions to fresh bouquets and the 20-30” tall plants are excellent fillers for the middle of the border in full sun.

18"-3' tall x 12"-16" spread. Full sun. 

star flowerBeth's Blue® Isotoma

Beloved for its unique star-shaped, lavender flowers and interesting texture, this plant plays well with others in combination containers and landscapes in full sun. Once it gets started, it blooms right on through the heat of summer until frost.

12"-14" tall x 10"-14" spread. Full sun. 


Mojave® Yellow Portulaca umbraticola

These durable and colorful flowering succulents bloom all summer long. The vivid blooms are a welcome sight especially in high summer when they really come into their own. These plants are a great choice for full sun in warm climates and poor, drier soils. Also available in juicy shades of tangerine, pink, red, or fuchsia. 

4"-8" tall x 12"-16" spread. Full sun. 

sedumLEMON CORAL® Sedum mexicanum

A tough as nails filler for hanging baskets, troughs, combination containers and landscapes, this beautifully textured succulent is very vigorous as well as heat and drought tolerant. Its lime green to chartreuse foliage pairs well with other vigorous plants in sun and part shade. Though many sedums are perennial, this one is an annual in zones 6 and colder.

3"-10" tall x 10"-14" spread. Part sun to sun. 

meteor shower verbenaMeteor Shower® Verbena bonariensis

An updated look for the species, Meteor Shower® has a denser, more vigorous growth habit which equates to more manageable and attractive plants as a flowering thriller in containers and massed in the landscape in full sun. And since the plants set little seed, it won’t become invasive like most Verbenas of this type. Heat and drought tolerance and deer resistance sweeten its appeal.

20"-2'6" tall x 8"-12" spread. Part sun to sun. 

Learn More About Heat and Drought Tolerant Annuals Through These Resources:

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