7 Best Plants for Summertime Blooming

Summertime Bloomers that Deliver!

Blooming shrubs, perennials and potted options brighten up any yard to make for a summer filled with color and joy! When thinking about which shrubs and perennials to add to your garden it’s important to take time to consider color, fragrance, pollinators. We’ve taken the liberty to compile a list of plants that flourish during the summer time!

1.  Hydrangea

Flowering starts in spring and often lasts throughout summer into early fall, making hydrangea a foundation plant for your landscape. Nothing worth having comes easy so they take some care and attention, but trust us they are worth it, as hydrangeas reward you with stunning globes of color.

When is the best time to plant them? 

The best time to plant Hydrangea is in the late fall, followed by early spring. Keep the roots well-watered until they’ve fully established and then you can back off.

What color do Hydrangeas come in?

Hydrangeas are unique in that you can almost control the color of the blossoms.  Bigleaf hydrangeas, H. macrophylla, react to changes in soil pH. To get blue flowers, use a low soil pH allows the Hydrangeas to absorb aluminum, or lower your soil pH by adding sulfur or peat moss to the soil. If you prefer pink and red flowers, simply add ground limestone to increase the pH.

What soil is best for Hydrangeas?

Although Hydrangeas aren’t picky about soil, they tend to do best in soil that drains well so the roots don’t have a tendency to rot when water builds up. Heavy clay soil can kill hydrangeas, as they retain too much water. Fertile and well-drained soil is best. 

How much water do they need?

Water Hydrangeas more in the growing season, and daily in the summer months, with a deep watering 3x a week. 

How much sun to give them?

They enjoy morning sun, and prefer partial sun.

Do they attract pollinators?

They do not support bee pollinators, which may be an upside for those who do not want bees around or a downside if you like honey!

What about insects and pests?

Hydrangeas can be affected by powdery mildew, wilting, spots and blight. Pests are rare, but can appear if the plant is stressed.

2.  Rhododendron

These late-spring early-summer Bloomers provide big bold color bloomers to your property. Great for mixed borders and under your tree canopies. Rhododendrons provide clusters of flowers and big green leaves, which show all year long. Rhododendron flowers come in a variety of colors:

  • White
  • Yellow
  • Magenta
  • Pink
  • Red
  • Purple

To care for them, you’ll want to keep them planted in rich, well draining soil that is acidic. They like moderate to a lot of water so keep the soil damp. As for sun, they prefer partial shade or filtered light best. As far as pollinators, yes, Rhododendron flowers will be a lovely gift to our friendly pollinators.

3.  Knockout Rose 

The name says it all! The Knockout Rose are a new variety, created by a gardene to be one of the easiest shrubs to care for, not requiring much care at all. The Knockouts are also disease resistant too. With short blooming cycles of about every five to six weeks, you do not need to deadhead them.

How to care for a Knockout Rose?

You do not need fertilizer. If you do decide to fertilize make sure you do so after one year in the ground. They must be firmly established beforehand. They prefer a balanced “neutral” soil, neither acidic nor alkaline. A desired pH level is between 5.5 and 6.5. You can even keep them in planters.

How much should I water a Knockout Rose Flower?

Give the Knockout Roses a deep soaking with water every once in a while, as they prefer this to shorter frequent watering. With the humidity in New England, you may see black spot. This should not affect the overall health of the plant. You’ll want to water at the roots though and not over the entire plant, as the flowers and leaves don’t like the water.

What color do Knockout Roses come in?

Knockout Roses come in all colors and can provide color in the garden between spring and summer blooming plants. Also as summer flowers fade and plants are just beginning to turn their autumn hues.

Do they attract pollinators?

Knockout Roses attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds for pollinator friendly gardens.

How much sun do they need?

 Knockout Roses can handle shade shade pretty well.. While most roses are usually full-sun plants, Knock Out Roses will tolerate partial shade.

When is the best time to plant them? 

 The best time to plant the Knockout Rose is in the spring or fall. 

4.  Peonies

These sun lovers are known to be big, fluffy, fragrant flowers in a wide range of colors, forms and sizes. They’re resilient, long-lived perennial bushes have a history of popularity as a garden plant.

What colors do they come in?

Colors range from white, pink and red to coral, maroon and yellow.

How to care for Peonies

Peonies are susceptible to botrytis blight. This is a fungus that can cause young shoots to rot, unsightly spots on leaves and prevent flower buds from developing. Be sure there’s plenty of air circulation around your plants to help prevent fungal diseases. Unlike the Knockout Rose, peony bushes do not require precise pruning to thrive.

How much water do Peonies need?

Provide approximately 1 inch of water weekly when there is no rain so the top 6 inches of soil remains evenly moist. The peony foliage must remain healthy through the summer to ensure healthy plants next year. Provide well drained soil. Overwatering can lead to problems. Begin watering in spring, especially if there are two weeks without rain. Keep watering after flowering, but not once they have gone dormant.

How much light do they need?

Peonies thrive on the South Shore and flourish as far south as Climate Zones 7 and 8 and anywhere Peonies can get full sun, and don’t mind cold winters, because they need cooler temperatures for bud formation. They need 6 hours of sun to pollinate.

Do pollinators like them?

Bees delight in the sweet succulent nectar of Peonies, which are divided by flower types: Single and Double. However, there is a petal type called the bomb double, which does not produce pollen, so the bees have no use for them.

How about the soil?

Herbaceous varieties love potassium; a 5-10-10 slow release fertilizer is a good choice.

They are heavy feeders and prefer alkaline soil, which may require adding garden lime or wood ash. Additional trace minerals will inspire tree peonies to increase their flower size, bud count and ratio of double flowers, and to intensify flower color.

What about pests?

 Peonies’ yummy nectar definitely attracts ants. They won’t hurt the plant at all and aren’t required for the blooms to open. If you’re cutting flowers to take them indoors, delicately rinse the blossoms in a bucket of water to get rid of them! 

5.  Queen of the Prairie 

The Queen of the Prairie is a large puffy dusty-rose flowers that kind of looks like cotton candy! The flowers blossom early to mid-summer and they have an intoxicating sweet fragrance. The Queen of the Prairie should be purchased locally as it can be difficult to germinate from seed. 

How much sun do they need?

They require full sun or a little shade. 

Soil treatment

This plant is great for damp drainage areas, as it grows easily, spreading by rhizome roots, helping to balance wet soil areas. 

How to care for the Queen

You do not need to deadhead the flowers because the faded flower heads retain visual appeal, and pruning doesn’t help to improve rebloom. Cut plants back late summer if foliage becomes unsightly.  The Queen flourishes when left undisturbed and divided but if you absolutely must divide in order to manage proliferation, the fall is the best time. 

How much water do they need?

These plants like a lot of water. Keep the soil moist, especially during heat and drought and plant in soil that is rich in organic matter like guano and water-holding capacity.

6.  Black Eyed Susan

These are a fun contrasting blossom, with bright golden-yellow petals and a brown center. They blume June-October which provide a nice long season of color, and are considered a hearty plant when maintained. They also make lovely cut flowers on the table, borders, and even in containers. 

How much sun do they need?

Sunlight: Black Eyed Susans really like the sun. Full sun if available, and they will grow in partial sun too. 

What are the optimal soil conditions?

Black-eyed Susans like soil with slightly acidic to slightly alkaline conditions that are within 6.0 to 7.0 pH levels. You’ll need soil that drains well and loam and sand are both fine.

How to care for Black Eyed Susans

Black-eyed Susans like compost and do well with organic materials. Mulch is also helpful because it locks in much needed moisture  during the summer months.

How much water to give them?

They need moist soil consistently to grow to their maximum height of around 36 inches. You can conserve their water by planting in the shade. They will need approximately 1 inch of water a week during the hotter months, which includes rainfall.

Expect pollinators to flock to your garden because Black-eyed Susan’s are big favorite of butterflies, bees, and all pollen-loving little creatures!

7.  Rose of Sharon 

The Rose of Sharon is renown for its bountiful and enduring flowering cycles, making it an ideal addition to any garden from beginners to advanced horticulturalists. Expect the Rose of Sharon to bloom in late August. An interesting fact about the Rose of  Sharon is how it belies its monicker in that it is not a rose, but instead belongs to the Hibiscus family. 

How much sun does it need?

Full to partial sun is best. Older bushes will struggle if not in full sun. 

What kind of soil does it prefer?

Moist, acidic to slightly alkaline soil is what the Rose of Sharon prefer. In lieu of rich soil, she can tolerate sand, clay, chalk, and loam. While she prefers nutrient-rich soil, the Rose of Sharon is hardy and robust and will survive in most kinds of soil. Rose of Sharon thrives in a wide range of soil pH from 5.5 to 7.5.

How to care for them

She is fertile and will drop seeds so you’ll want to keep an eye on those but the flowers are beautiful! They will attract beetles but this can be easily remedied by placing the beetles in soapy water. 

The roses can handle some extended dry spells but like most flowers, will reach full potential with regular watering. Try to give a deep soaking once a week during the spring and more during summer.

What colors does she come in?

Rose of Sharon comes in white, red, lavender, or light blue blooms and her sweet pollen attracts several species of bees.

We appreciate you taking the time to stop by! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to the experts at JMF Landscaping and Garden Center. Come by to view our wide variety of shrubs, planters, perennials and annuals! We’ll see you soon.

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