With warmer weather heading our way, we thought we would compile a list of our favorite flowers that work well in containers. Most of them can also be used as groundcover or borders. These flowers will tolerate the heat and thrive in the sun. You will find many of them are low maintenance and some are drought tolerant as well as deer resistant. 

Learn more about these flowers that will thrive in the heat:

Bidens – these flowers are a brilliant and cheerful daisy-like flower.  While yellow is the most popular, they are also available in orange, pink, red, and white.  There are many new bi-color and patterned varieties that are now available.  These flowers look great in a garden border, flower bed or cascading over the side of a hanging basket.  Try mixing Bidens with Petunias or Calibrachoa in a hanging basket. They are a prolific bloomer and do not need to be deadheaded.  Bidens bloom from spring until fall.  They are low-maintenance but can use a dose of fertilizer every month.   Once established, they are a drought-tolerant annual. For the best blooms plant them in the full sun.  They can become leggy and if that happens try cutting them back to encourage new growth. 

Calibrachoa – these small petunia-like flowers are one of our favorites.  This sun-loving flower works best in a container, hanging baskets or window box. The flowers have abundant blooms and come in bright, cheerful colors.  You will also find bi-color varieties, as well as double flowered ones and some, have different patterns on them.  This is a newer flower as it only came on the market in the 1990s. Calibrachoa loves the sun but can also do well with a little shade. Since the plant is in constant bloom it needs to be fertilized regularly.  This plant looks great when grown with Dusty Miller and Bacopa.

Canna – if you are looking for a great thriller for your container, try growing a Canna. Cannas are also known as Canna Lilies and they add a touch of the tropics to any garden. The plant has large flat leaves that grow out of a long stem. The flowers bloom at the top of the stem. The flower has three sepals and three petals. The flowers usually come in red, orange or yellow.  There are regular sized varieties that grow 6 – 9 feet and dwarf varieties that are smaller.  These plants are perennials in zones 7 and warmer, otherwise, you will need to dig up the rhizomes and store them for the winter.  Cannas love the sun and fertile, moist soil but they are pretty low-maintenance. As the flowers diminish, they should be deadheaded to encourage more blooms.

Lantana – Lantana is a sun lover and is great in hot, dry garden locations. The plant is native to the tropical areas in the Americas and Africa.  These low-maintenance flowers grow in small clusters in blue, orange, red yellow, and white.  These pretty little flowers are drought and humidity tolerant and are loved by pollinators. Lantana will bloom all summer and into the fall. Lantana can be used in flower beds or containers.  The plants perform best in 6 – 8 hours of sun and in any type of soil as long as it is well-drained.  Lantana is also deer and rabbit resistant.  These plants look great with Cannas and Black-Eyed Susan.

Pentas – Pentas look great in the ground, in a container, and even makes a great houseplant if there is enough light. Even under the hottest conditions, Pentas will do well. These plants have green leaves and small star-like clusters of flowers in shades of pink, purple, red, and white that bloom in the summer and fall. They are a pollinator’s delight attracting hummingbirds and butterflies.  In most parts of the country, Pentas are considered an annual flower. It is hardy for zones 10 - 11. Pentas need to be planted in a sunny location and in well-drained soil, just make sure the soil does not get soggy.  Try these as a border in your garden or in a container mixed with marigolds.

Portulaca – Portulaca is known by several other names including Moss Rose, Sun Rose, and Purslanes. It is a tropical plant and is native to Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay.  Portulaca is tough as nails and is easy to grow.  This succulent plant has bright colored semi-double flowers. These easy-to-grow plants need 6 – 8 hours of sun, the sunnier better. The blooms need sunlight to open; they will close in cloudy weather and in the evening. They can grow in most types of soil but prefer sandy, well-drained soil.  Portulaca looks great in a rock garden, as a groundcover, or in a hanging basket.

Verbena - Verbena have blooms that will last all summer long even in extreme heat. The plant has small flowers with five petals. Verbenas have a large number of varieties in their family. They are tender perennials but are treated as annuals in most of the country. The flowers bloom in clusters of blue, purple, pink, red, white, yellow and bi-color. Plant these beauties in the sunniest hottest area of your garden such as a retaining wall or in a hanging basket with other flowers such as Calibrachoa or Petunias.  This plant does not need any special type of soil, but make sure it is well-drained.  Until the plant is established keep the plants evenly moist.  When planting Verbenas make sure you water and fertilize the plants for lasting color. Be sure to remove the old or spent flowers to promote more blooms. This plant is deer resistant.

Zinnia – Zinnias are another one of our favorites.  This plant comes in just about every color except for blue and the flowers are brilliant.  They are one of the toughest annual flowers. They bloom best in full sun and can be planted through July for flowers throughout the season until frost.  Zinnias look great as borders or in containers. If planted in containers, make sure the container has at least a 12-inch diameter for best results.  One thing great about Zinnias is they make great cut flowers too.  Zinnias are also a fast-growing plant and it is low maintenance.  You can just sprinkle seeds on the soil, water them and they will just grow.  Zinnias also will add some height to your garden as they have long strong stems. A light dose of fertilizer will help but it is not necessary.  They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, they are a gardeners dream.

If you have any other heat-loving plants, let us know!

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