Tips for Vibrant Blooms that Attract Winged Visitors and Keep the Garden Bright All Season Long

by Lisa Watters-Lain, Arizona’s Garden Gal

The brightest flowers of the summer season wait until temperatures rise above 90 degrees to “do their thing.” Like sunbathers on a golden California beach, summer-blooming varieties are best planted when the sun is bright and temperatures are hot. Here are my top 11 flowers that outpace the rest in fragrance and their ability to flower through the heat of summer.

Black-Eyed Susan thrives in full-sun containers and raised beds. Their yellow or rusty red flowers with black centers bloom summer through fall and attract hummingbirds and butterflies.

Butterfly Weed is a hardy plant with beautiful red and yellow flowers that sit atop bright green foliage. It’s a must-have to attract butterflies to a garden. It can tolerate heavy clay conditions and is the perfect plant for full-sun areas.

Coneflower is available in a multitude of colors here at Watters, including purple, pink, orange, red, yellow, and white. Typically, the daisy-like flowers consist of petals surrounding an orange, dome-shaped cone. They bloom from spring to fall in full hot sun, all the while attracting butterflies.

Coreopsis is another bright mountain flower with smaller blooms than the black-eyed-Susan or coneflower. It’s easy to grow and guarantees an abundance of flowers spring through fall. There are many colors to choose from: yellow, orange, pink, maroon, red, and chocolate. The blossoms are like magnets to butterflies while the seeds attract birds.

Dahlias are real show-stoppers! They have a broad range of flower types, shapes, and different colors. Dahlias are as tough as they are beautiful. I find the blooms last even longer in filtered sun.

Impatiens are ever-popular beauties and the workhorses of the shade garden. Their mounding habit can attain a height of 2 feet as they enjoy full-to-partial shade with regular watering. Impatiens are beautiful when planted in mass, in pots, or in baskets.

Lantana, a fragrant blossom clustered atop dark green foliage, blooms in yellow, orange, red, lavender, white and bi-colors. Birds and butterflies adore lantana. It needs to be planted in full sun and requires little water once established. Cute as a shrub, ground cover, or in pots.

Calibrachoas is closely related to the petunia, and because its profuse blossoms look like mini petunias, they commonly are called Million Bells Petunias. The plants become so covered with blooms their foliage is almost invisible.  Its neat mounding habit makes it perfect for container gardens as well as garden beds. Plant in full sun, and it blooms abundantly all summer.

Salvia comes in 11 different sizes and many different colors here at Watters Garden Center. All are easy to grow, with most varieties preferring full sun. They attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds alike.

Sun Parasol Mandevilla
vines are bred for their vibrant red, long-lasting blooms. They are extremely easy to grow in full sun, and once established require very little care. Hummingbirds love them!  The vines are 12-15 feet long and are perfect for trailing from hanging baskets and window boxes, and for climbing over trellises and arbors.

Zinnia has been grown by generations of gardeners passionate about this favorite summertime flower. The big flowers come in many different colors and are tough summer bloomers. Plant in full-sun beds and containers where they attract butterflies and hummingbirds.  Utterly detestable to deer, rabbits, and javelina alike.

Until next issue, I’ll see you among the summer-loving flowers here at Watters Garden Center.

Lisa Watters-Lain can be found throughout the week at Watters Garden Center, 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd in Prescott, or contacted through his web site at or