20 Durable Plants for Hot Weather
Every garden has challenges that you must tackle in order to be successful in creating a beautiful space. Long term, you can make it easier on yourself by choosing durable plants that are well-suited to the area you have in mind.
Define what the challenges are in your garden and then start looking for plants that are well suited to thrive despite that challenge. For many of us, the heat of a long summer is one of the primary situations to solve. The good news is there many plants that are tough and durable enough to thrive when the summer seems intent on roasting us and our plants too. Consider the annuals, perennials and shrubs listed below if you face long summers with quite a bit of heat and sunny days.
Common Name: Caladium
If you live in the South, Caladiums are probably already a staple in your garden and why wouldn’t they be? They absolutely adore hot weather. It’s not a matter of they “handle the heat just fine” – they prefer it to be hot. Which means they are perfect for places where the heat is sweltering. One of the things that make Heart to Heart Caladiums different from the rest is they are vigorous enough to perform well in more Northern climates too. Looking to add a splash of the tropics to your Michigan Garden? Heart to Hearts are just what you need. The second unique feature of our line is that in addition to traditional shade caladiums, about half of the Heart to Hearts will handle full sun as easily as they do shade – although keeping the soil moist will help them thrive in sun. There are 20 different options with a wide range of colors, sizes and leaf shapes to choose from.
Uses: Mass Landscape Planting, Front to Middle of the border, Thriller in Combination Recipes, Mono Baskets, Filler in Combination Recipes, Mono Patio Planters.
12-24” height. 12-24” spread. Some Shade only and some Sun or Shade. Annual, except frost-free zones.
Common Name: Egyptian Star Flower
If you live somewhere hot and have never tried Pentas, you don’t know what you’re missing - especially with our brand new Sunstar series. Sunstar boasts extra-large flower clusters nearly the size of hydrangea blooms atop well-branched plants. They have excellent summer durability, powering through high heat and humidity, and make ideal bedding and container plants for hot climates. They are medium-sized plants well suited to being planted in the middle of beds and can be thrillers and/or fillers in combinations planters. Butterflies, bees and hummingbirds are all attracted to the brightly colored flowers which will add another level of color and movement to your plantings. Now available in four colors – Red, Rose, Pink and Lavender.
Uses: Mono Patio Planters, Combination Recipes, Pollinator Gardens, In-ground Beds
18-22” height; 16-24” spread; part sun to sun. annual.
This plant grows in a dense, compact mound. The flowers are fiery orange with a subtle yellow eye in cooler temperatures but become bicolor red and yellow as the summer heats up. The tight mounds remind me of mums. However, unlike mums, they bloom all summer long without deadheading. Pollinating bees enjoy the flowers which provide a consistent source of food for months on end. This plant is perfect for edging landscape borders and growing in smaller monoculture patio containers.
Uses: Garden Beds, Patio Planters, Landscape Borders, Pollinator Gardens
8-14” height; 10-16” spread; full sun. annual.
Diamond Snow is similar to Diamond Frost®, but with fuller flowers and a somewhat denser habit. If you’ve never grown any of our Diamond Euphorbia you might take one look and think that the frilly plants will keel over at the slightest hint of hardship. But nothing is further from the truth. Despite its delicate look, Diamond Snow is as tough and durable as they come. The plants are a reliable mound of color in upright containers and make a great landscape plant, too. Like all our euphorbias, expect Diamond Snow to power through heat, humidity, and drought with ease. For combination recipes, we suggest Diamond Frost, which weaves among other plants while Diamond Snow tends to be more of a mass of color in one spot.
Uses: Patio Planters, Garden Beds, Combination Recipes, Bright Shade Gardens
12-18” height; 12-18” spread. part sun to sun. annual.
We’ve been incredibly impressed with this wonderful new Gaillardia series in trials all across the US and Canada. Heat it Up comes in two colors yellow and Scarlet. Heat it Up Yellow produces bouquets of fresh sunshine yellow flowers, while Heat it Up Scarlet has orange-red flowers with slight yellow tips. The plants are extremely long blooming, lasting long into the fall even in hot, humid climates. The plants are very uniform in habit, express great vigor, come into bloom early and don't need to be deadheaded to bloom prolifically. They are great in landscapes and work as both fillers and spiller in container recipes. They are wonderful pollinator plants, I almost never see the plants without bees present. They are also attractive to butterflies.
Uses: Annual Groundcover, Combination Recipes, Hanging Baskets, Patio Planters, Pollinator Gardens
12-24” height; 18-36” spread. full sun. annual.
This everblooming sunflower is built on a well-branched bush-like habit that is perfect for the back of the bed, as an annual screen or along a fence. The blooms are about 4” across and do not need to be deadheaded to continue blooming, but can be groomed for tidiness, and also makes a great cut flower. This plant blooms several weeks longer than similar sunflowers. It is great for pollinators, especially bees and butterflies - blooming all season and well into the fall for a great seasonal pop of color. Use in landscapes or in large containers.
Uses: Back of the Bed Height, Pollinator Gardens, Cut Flower Gardens, Large Patio Planters
24-42” height; 20-32” spread. full sun. annual.
Red Hawk offers rich red foliage color, good vigor and matches perfectly with Sweet Caroline Raven and Sweet Caroline Kiwi. All three plants have a well-behaved habit that mixes well in combinations, without overwhelming the other plants in the recipe. They also perform beautifully as a dense and evenly spreading groundcover in sun and shade conditions. Whether you grow it in cool Northern sun or hot Southern climates, you’ll notice it has superior color retention in full sun compared to older red cultivars.
Uses: Annual Groundcover, Recipe Combinations, Hanging Baskets, Patio Planters
6-16” height; 20-36” spread. part sun to sun. annual.
This landscape-sized lantana features golden-yellow flowers. It has a large, densely branched, mounded habit. Like all Luscious Lantana, expect Goldengate to bloom non-stop all season without deadheading, as it sets little to no seed. This is perfect for people looking for low maintenance, heat and drought tolerant, long-blooming, pollinator-friendly, deer resistant flowers.
Uses: Pollinator Gardens, Large Patio Planters, Middle of the Bed Filler, Low Maintenance Gardens, Beyond the Hose Planting Areas
20-30” height. 20-30” spread. full sun. annual in most areas, perennial in frost-free areas
This collection of Salvia varies somewhat, with several different types included. Our newest addition has rare cool blue flowers that represent a breeding breakthrough for this Salvia guaranitica hybrid. Large, crisp blue flowers held by black calyxes are produced above the foliage, attracting all sorts of pollinators from spring through fall. Like Rockin’ Deep Purple and Rockin’ Fuchsia, this is a refined, well-branched salvia that presents beautifully in containers as well. They love heat, can tolerate some drought stress and are pollinator magnets.
Uses: Middle of the Bed Filler, Thriller in Patio Planters, Pollinator Gardens, Low Maintenance Gardens
30-40” height; 24-30” spread; part sun to sun. annual in most areas, perennial in frost-free areas
True blue flowers that attract pollinating bees and butterflies are produced prolifically on well-proportioned plants from spring into fall without deadheading. At a bit over a foot tall, this salvia is about half as tall as the Rockin’ collection. It is sized perfectly to add height to small and medium-sized patio planters and works well towards the front of garden beds. It is heat and humidity tolerant, and its aromatic foliage helps with deer resistance.
Uses: Front of the Border, Thriller in Small and Medium-sized Patio planters, Filler in Large Patio Planters, Window boxes, Pollinator Gardens, Low Maintenance Gardens
14-24” height; 12-16” spread; part sun to sun. annual.
Join the craze with this new collection of single Coneflowers. These varieties will be uniform in color and habit. They have excellent basal branching, flower performance, large flower size, and horizontally held petals which all contribute to great habits and gorgeous flowers. They add late summer interest to your garden. They are pollinator magnets and during late fall to winter the seed heads will serve as food for birds. Two varieties, ‘Orange you Awesome’ and ‘Yellow My Darling’ are available the first year, stayed tuned for more colors in the future!
Uses: Pollinator Gardens, Middle of the Border, Thriller in Patio Planters, Late Summer Color
18-24” height. 16-20” spread. part sun to sun. Perennial in zones 4-8.
While Hardy Hibiscus are fairly well known, they are still almost criminally under-utilized plants. Our Summerific series is heat tolerant, hardy in zones 4-9 and has well-branched plants with nicely controlled habits. Gone are ten-foot-tall plants with sparse flowers. In are four to six-foot-tall plants with tons of huge flowers - up to 8 inches wide - just keep coming. Our two newest introductions are fabulous plants. First up is ‘Candy Crush’ which has an upright, columnar habit, fantastic garden presence, and excellent flower coverage. 8in, bright bubblegum pink flowers have a near-black, dark red eye and are produced all over its habit of rich, bright green leaves. in place of a shrub to provide structure in your sun garden. Second is ‘Evening Rose’ which is an excellent combination of hot pink flowers and near-black foliage. 8 inch puckered flowers cover the round, dense habit top to bottom. These are must-have statement pieces for your garden!
Uses: Specimen Plant, Mass Planting, Deciduous Hedgerow, Pollinator Garden
4-4.5’ height. 4-4.5’ spread. full to part sun. Perennial in Zones 4-9.
This series began with three new Salvia nemorosa whose claim to fame was fantastic rebloom throughout the summer. Our newest color is ‘White Profusion’! Like all salvia, this hardy perennial version is heat tolerant and durable. The Profusions are chosen to repeatedly rebloom, as long as you regularly sheer back the old flowers and the tips of the stems. They feature a full, round habit that’s unbothered by deer and rabbits, but quite attractive to bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. It a perfect choice for the early summer garden.
Uses: Summer Color, Pollinator Gardens, Deer Resistend Gardens, Borders, Provides Summer Color
16-20” height. 16-20” spread. full sun. Perennial in Zones 3-8.
Gardeners tend to love variegation in perennials, and this is an exciting new option! ‘Boogie Woogie’, a fantastic summer-flowering groundcover type of sedum, will definitely make your garden feel groovy. ‘Boogie Woogie’ has cream margins that make the plant look bright all summer. In early to midsummer the plants are sprinkled with yellow flowers. A fantastic variegated option for a groundcover in the landscape. Perfect for rock gardens! Sedum adores heat and takes tough conditions with ease which makes them a perfect tough and durable plant. Bees and butterflies find it attractive as well.
Uses: Perennial Ground Cover, Rock Gardens. Low Maintenance Garden. Beyond the Hose Gardens. Front of the Border. Pollinator Gardens
6-8” height. 16-18” spread. full sun. Perennial in zones 3-9.
Looking for a beautiful groundcover? ‘Yellow Brick Road’ is your answer! This perennial will cover its dark green leaves and red stems with fine-textured yellow flowers mid to late summer. The habit is gorgeous with strong, upright stems that help keep a tidy appearance. This variety blooms a few weeks later than the standard summer flowering Stonecrop bridging the gap between summer flowering and fall flowering groundcover Sedum. Sometimes being a little late to the party is just what your garden needs! Bees and butterflies will adore it as much as you do.
Uses: Perennial Ground Cover, Rock Gardens, Low Maintenance Gardens, Front of the Border Plant, Beyond the Hose Garden. Pollinator Gardens.
6-8” height. 22-24”spread. full sun. Perennial in zones 3-9.
‘Pure Joy’ has become a garden staple for the late summer and early fall garden. Now joining the light pink ‘Pure Joy’ and the white-flowering sport ‘Bundle of Joy’ family comes the dark pink ‘Pride and Joy’. This sport of ‘Pure Joy’ shares the same impeccable habit, serrated leaves, and bloom time as its parent, but with darker leaves and darker pink flowers. At the end of summer when many plants for pollinators might be struggling, ‘Pride and Joy’ comes into full glorious bloom much to the delight of both bees and butterflies.
Uses: Pollinator Gardens, Fresh Late Summer Color, Front of the Border Plant, Low Maintenance Gardens, Flowering Groundcover.
10-12” height. 16-20” spread. Full sun. Perennial in Zones 3-9
Montana Moss® juniper is a low-growing evergreen juniper that contributes appealing texture wherever it is planted. Soft-to-the-touch blue-green foliage resembles moss or maybe even something from the under the sea. It makes an excellent edging or groundcover and pairs nicely with all colors of both buildings and plants. Deer resistant and sun-loving!
Uses: Groundcover, Edging Plant, Front of the Border, Mass Planting
4-5’ height. 3-5’ spread. full sun. Hardy in zones 4-9. Flowering shrub.
Crapemyrtle is a summer stunner with colorful blooms in July, August, and September - but why wait all season for conventional crapemyrtles to do their thing when you can plant one with fabulous foliage, too? Rikki Tikki™ crapemyrtles offer unique silvery-green foliage with deep purple new growth. It creates a shimmering effect in the landscape which is easy to use with other colors. Rikki Tikki™ Pink crapemyrtle adds shocking pink blooms and Rikki Tikki™ Rouge adds cherry red blooms to the equation for a bright and eye-catching display. Thanks to their dwarf, shrubby habit and outstanding disease resistance, Rikki Tikki crapemyrtles can be used in all sorts of different ways in the landscape or garden.
Uses: Low Hedge, Specimen Plant, Mixed Border, Large Patio Planters, Mass Planting.
3-5’ height. 3-5” spread. full sun. Hardy in zones 6-10. shrub.
Plant a piece of history! Appreciated and cultivated since ancient times, pomegranates are a true link to the past. Peppy Le Pom™ pomegranate is a new take on the classic, with a cute little dwarf habit that not only adds ways of how it can be used in the garden - it also expands where it can be grown, as its petite size is perfect for growing in a pot in colder climates. Just bring it indoors when the temperatures dip to continue to enjoy the show. Peppy Le Pom spends summer covered in the orangest blooms you've ever seen, each dangling from the stems like an ornament. These develop into tiny little pomegranate fruits, which, while technically edible, have only a few small, sour seeds inside, so they're really best appreciated on the plant.
Uses: Patio Planters, Garden Beds, Adaptable as a Houseplant, Specimen Plant
36-38” height. 30-36” spread. full sun. Hardy in zones 7-10. Evergreen Shrub
Enjoy bright, vivid color every day of the year with Wax Wings™ mirror bush. Foliage is glossy in the extreme, and each waxy leaf presents a nice sheen. It's an ideal plant for a low hedge, edging, or mixed with other plants in a colorful flower garden. This very heat tolerant shrub cannot survive winters in areas colder than USDA zone 9, but not to worry: it can be brought indoors for winter and enjoyed as a colorful houseplant in cold climates. It comes in three colors. Orange which has a fiery array of glossy red and yellow leaves. Lime whose leaves are a swirling melange of yellow, lime green, and mahogany purple. And Gold where each leaf is splashed with emerald green, bright gold, and in cool weather, a perky red edge that gives a glowing effect.
Uses: Low Hedge, Mixed Borders, Large Containers, Groundcover, Mass Plantings
12-30” height. 30-36 spread. part to full sun. Hardy in zones 9-11. Evergreen shrub.
Want to Learn More?
- Explore our Pinterest board of Drought Tolerant Plants.
- Watch this video featuring 5 heat-tolerant perennials.
- Learn how to keep your annuals blooming strong all summer in this article.