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16 Annuals for Sun Scorched Patios and Window Boxes

When the dog days of summer arrive, and the heat is stifling and the humidity is high, most plants are going to be stressed.  However, there are plants that not only survive, they thrive when the heat is on. These sixteen plants will take the heat and keep growing strong.

Contributors: Kerry Meyer

New Angelface® Cascades Angelonia 

Common Name: Summer Snapdragon

You’ve come to love summer snapdragons for their extreme heat, humidity and drought tolerance. Until now, they all were strictly upright plants that make showy thrillers in containers and landscapes. The new Angelface Cascade varieties are different in that they have larger flowers and outward to downward spreading stems. That makes them perfect for growing in hanging baskets, window boxes and upright containers as a filler and spiller. Pair them with other sun loving annuals and they’ll easily weave their way in and around to create a full and floriferous combination. They come in three colors - blue, pink and white - and require no deadheading to keep the flowers coming non-stop all season.

20-30” tall. Sun. Annual.



 Angelface® Angelonia

Common Name: Summer Snapdragon

If you’re looking for easy care flowers for your containers and landscape but struggle to find something that survives your hot, humid summers, try Angelface summer snapdragons. They bloom all season long with flowers on tall spikes and don’t need to be deadheaded to keep them flowering. This robust annual will fill a smaller container on its own, or you could use it as a tall thriller at the back of window boxes or in the middle of a large combination container planting. And it’s not one to faint the first time you miss watering either—thank goodness for easy to grow plants like Angelface!   It comes in five colors which are Angelace® Blue, Angelface® Perfectly Pink, Angelface® Steel Blue, Angelface® Wedgwood Blue and Angelface® White.

18-30” tall. Full sun. Annual.


 Diamond Mountain Euphorbia

Common Name: Euphorbia

If you’ve grown the Diamond Frost® types of Euphorbia before, you know they pair well with just about everything in sun and part shade. Think of it like baby’s breath, adding a hint of white to complement everything around it. We recently introduced Diamond Mountain which is a super-sized variety able to compete with our most vigorous annuals like Supertunia Vista® petunias, creating magnificent hanging baskets, window boxes and huge upright containers. It’s also a great heat and drought tolerant plant for the landscape, growing similar in size and shape to a spirea shrub. You’ve never seen a euphorbia quite like this!   

2-3’ tall. Part sun to sun. Annual.


 Truffula Pink Gomphrena

Common Name: Globe Amaranth

Here’s a must-have plant for any lover of awesome plants. It’s so easy to grow this vigorous annual that blooms like crazy all season and keeps its shape better than some gomphrenas. Full, bushy plants become covered in hot pink, cotton ball-shaped blossoms that pollinators adore. They last a long time when cut for fresh bouquets and even dry the same color, so you can use them in dried crafts and arrangements too. This plant thrives in heat and humidity and handles drought once its roots are established. Grow it in containers, window boxes or in the landscape where it will shine brightly from spring into fall.

22-30” tall. Full sun. Annual.


 Sweet Caroline Raven Ipomoea

Common Name: Ornamental Sweet Potato Vine

If you love to include sweet potato vines in your combination containers but are tired of all that pruning to keep them in check, try Sweet Caroline Raven. Its more compact, shorter trailing stems won’t quickly grow out of bounds and overrun everything you’ve planted it with. Deep purple leaves in a unique dissected shape add interest and texture, retaining their deep coloration in full sun, even in hot, humid climates.

6-16” tall. Part sun to sun. Annual.


 Sweet Caroline Kiwi Ipomoea

Common Name:  Ornamental Sweet Potato Vine

If you love to include sweet potato vines in your combination containers but are tired of all that pruning to keep them in check, try Sweet Caroline Kiwi. Its more compact, shorter trailing stems won’t quickly grow out of bounds and overrun everything you’ve planted it with. Kiwi green leaves in a unique dissected shape add interest and texture, retaining their bright coloration in full sun, even in hot, humid climates. It truly thrives when the heat is on.

6-16” tall. Part sun to sun. Annual.


Luscious® Lantana

Common Name: Lantana

We’ve improved on a classic favorite by adding more flowers on more densely branched plants for this series. Watch as the hummingbirds come calling when its clusters of tubular flowers are on display. Plant one in your window box so you can see the show up close. Luscious lantana are fantastic sun, heat and drought tolerant flowers for large patio containers, window boxes and landscapes. Since they are selected to have no or few seeds, they’ll bloom continuously all season without deadheading. 

20-30” tall. Full sun. Annual.

 Rockin’® Salvia

Common Name: Salvia

If you want to see pollinators in your garden, plant these salvias. These revolutionary new varieties bear large, beautiful flowers with black bracts. Their deep throats hold plenty of nectar for your favorite winged creatures all season long. Rockin’s are also more refined than many salvias of this type, forming bushy, upright clumps of deep green foliage. That means it won’t take over the container when you plant it with other vigorous annuals for your patio planters, and it will fill out beautifully when given plenty of room to strut its stuff in the landscape. However, with their height and larger size they aren't necessarily good plants for window boxes.

24-40” tall. Part sun to sun. Annual. 

Available in 4 flower colors:


Whirlwind® Scaevola

Common Name: Fan Flower

Don’t be fooled by the delicate looking, fan-shaped flowers and gracefully mounded to spreading habit of this beautiful series. It is native to the Bush Country of Western Australia, which makes it extremely tolerant of heat, humidity and drought once established. It makes a fun filler and spiller in your containers and window boxes but is also a durable groundcover when planted in the landscape. It is available in pink, blue and white.

8-14” tall. Part sun to sun. Annual.


Toucan® Canna

Common Name: Canna Lily

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. 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.  They come in 4 colors Yellow, Coral, Dark Orange and Scarlet.  They love the heat, but despite the title of this article they aren’t really a good option for window boxes!

30-48” tall. Part Sun to Sun. Annual.


Senorita Cleome

Common Name: Spider Flower

Cleome has been around for a long time. But there was talk. Thorns. Sticky leaves and stems. The Senoritas have restored Cleome's reputation. The magnificent dark leaves on their 3-5 feet tall upright branches are topped by clusters of flowers. And they bloom with abandon from late spring through fall. They scoff at heat and humidity and renounce all thorns and sticky substances. Deadheading isn’t needed. They are free of pests and disease, although peacocks will munch the flowers. So avoid them if you have flocks of free-roaming peacocks! They are too tall to really be good for window boxes, but they are great in patio planters alone or in combinations.
24-48” tall. Sun. Annual.


 Vermillionaire® Cuphea

Common Name: Large Firecracker Plant

Vermillionaire is an absolute hummingbird magnet! It is extremely heat and humidity tolerant; very low maintenance, and great for southern production and gardens. It is drought tolerant but can also tolerate higher water and fertilizer. It will work well in larger window boxes and is great a component plant in a patio planter or in combination recipes.

18-28” tall. Full Sun. Annual.


Blue My Mind® Evolvulus

Common Name: Dwarf Morning Glory

Sky blue flowers are in short supply. The most common sky blue flowers, Lobelia and Delphiniums, are decidedly not heat lovers. Enter Blue My Mind Evolvulus which is both a true sky blue color and a true heat lover. It will thrive in the deep South and handle humidity it with ease. It’s a great plant for the most heat blasted locations in your garden. It's sized well for window boxes and will thrive in patio planters as well.

6-12” tall. Full Sun. Annual.


Intensia® Phlox

Common Name: Phlox

We’ve found the ideal plants to create your patriotic flower pots and window boxes! These amazing plants are covered in flowers from early spring through fall without having to remove the spent blooms. They come in White, Blueberry and Red Hot. 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.

10-16” tall. Full sun. Annual.


Mojave® Portulaca

Common Name: Purslane

These durable and colorful flowering succulents bloom all summer long in juicy shades of TangerinePinkRedFuchsia and Yellow without deadheading. Choose which color suits your color palette and the use them in your window boxes, patio planters,  landscapes and as a component in combination recipes. 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 warm climates and poor, drier soils. 

Lemon Coral® Sedum

Common Name: Sedum

Lemon Coral is a world-class champ at looking great when conditions are challenging. The spikey chartreuse foliage looks like it would be tough and prickly but is actually quite soft and "petable." It is wonderful in landscapes and is an outstanding container plant, where it will fall over the edge of containers. It loves heat and can tolerate dry soils, although average moisture will keep it looking fresh. Lemon Coral is grown for its lovely foliage, although if you are lucky it may bloom as well. It's adaptable to almost any situation. It fits well with window boxes where small soil volumes makes its drought tolerance is a huge plus, as well as in patio planters of all sizes and as a landscape plant as well. Not to mention that chartreuse works well with every color of the rainbow.


 Want to Learn More?

 Browse Container Garden Recipes that use ColorBlaze® coleus. 

Watch dozens of gardening videos on our YouTube channel.

Explore our Pinterest board that features plants that are great in both sun and shade.

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