The 15 Best Heat Tolerant Plants (Because the Dog Days of Summer Are Here!)

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When summer’s in full swing and the temperatures are steamy, you need plants that not only withstand the heat but actually thrive in it. While some plants such as pansies, violas and lobelia have long-since faded in your summer garden, many other hardy annuals and perennials bloom gloriously during the hottest days of summer. When planting perennials or shrubs, make sure they’ll survive winters in your USDA Hardiness zone (find yours here). And don’t forget to keep your plants watered; Even the most heat tolerant plants need a drink if it hasn’t rained in a week or so. Keep an especially close eye on pots and hanging baskets, which tend to dry out fast and may need water more than once a day during a heat wave.

If your garden’s starting to look sad and scraggly, plant these heat-loving plants that will bloom until frost:

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1. Cuphea

Cuphea has tubular orangey-red flowers that pollinators, especially hummingbirds, love. Give cuphea its own planter because it tends to take over if planted in the same pot with other flowers. It’s an annual in most of the country.

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2. Lantana

Lantana has tons of flowers in rich, saturated colors. In cold climates, it’s considered an annual, but it’s a shrubby perennial in warm parts of the country.


3. Marigold

There’s a reason these sturdy annuals have been popular for decades: They’re almost impossible to kill. If your pots and planters have faded by now, plant these bright flowers that will keep going all the way until a hard freeze; plus, their yellow and orange colors coordinate nicely with autumn displays of pumpkins and gourds.

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4. Sedum

Sedum comes in low, ground-hugging types and tall varieties, so there’s something for every garden. Because they’re succulents, these perennials retain water in their fleshy stems and leaves, making them perfect plants to withstand scorching summer days.

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5. Pentas

Pentas is a butterfly-magnet with its starry blooms on low-growing foliage. The red, white, pink or purple flowers of this hardy annual look great spilling out of containers and window boxes.


6. Caladium

Caladium doesn’t just tolerate heat, it loves, loves, loves the heat! With pretty heart-shaped leaves in white, hot pink and green, this plant is considered an annual—but you can bring them indoors for winter as a houseplant, or dig up the bulbs and save them to replant next spring.


7. Fan Flower

Fan flowers are low-growing annuals that are amazing in mixed containers. Their pink, purple or white flowers bloom profusely all season long, and you never have to deadhead them (remove spent blooms) to help them keep in flower.


8. Coneflower

This hardy perennial has cheery flowers that bees and other pollinators love. It comes in a multitude of colors from lemony yellow to peachy-pink to fuchsia. Plant several clumps of this perennial for long-lasting color that shines on even the hottest days.

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9. Hibiscus

Lend an exotic look to your landscape with the large, luxurious blooms of hibiscus. This shrub comes in many different colors from deep red to pure white. Make sure to choose a cold-hardy one for northern climates.

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10. Salvia

Salvia have pretty purple, pink or white spikes of flowers that stay in bloom for weeks. Pollinators love these perennials, and bunnies and deer tend to leave them alone.

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11. Lavender

Sweetly-scented lavender is one of those romantic plants that every garden should have. It may look delicate, but it’s extremely heat and drought tolerant once it’s established. Plant this perennial in large swaths for best effect.

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12. Agastache

This perennial, also called hyssop, has licorice-scented foliage and purple spikes of flowers that attract pollinators all season long. It’s also a great cut flower. Or snip off and add a few leaves to iced tea for a unique flavor.

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13. Delosperma

This hardy low-growing perennial, which is also called ice plant, ignores the heat and keeps on blooming week after week until a hard frost. Its brilliant colors and pretty foliage are eye-catching, and this succulent works equally well in beds or containers.

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14. Mandevilla

This tropical vine blooms and blooms all season long in the heat. It’s considered an annual in most climates, but it is perennial in zones 10 and 11. Give it some afternoon shade in hot climates.

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15. Blanket Flower

The fiery red and yellow blooms of blanket flower attract butterflies. This heat lover also is incredibly cold-hardy, surviving all the way to zone 3.

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Arricca Elin SanSone

Freelance Gardening Editor

Arricca Elin SanSone is a gardener with more than 15 years of experience. In addition to PureWow, she writes for Prevention, Country Living, Veranda, The Spruce and many other...
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