Gardens often take on the look of a Monet painting in the spring, a picturesque panorama of vivid yellow daffodil, purple iris and hyacinth, and bright red tulips. But the dog days of summer can be just as colorful if you choose plants carefully to fit your region, garden experts say.

Gardens often take on the look of a Monet painting in the spring, a picturesque panorama of vivid yellow daffodil, purple iris and hyacinth, and bright red tulips. But the dog days of summer can be just as colorful if you choose plants carefully to fit your region, garden experts say.


Perennials


Sun-loving perennial plants that can withstand summer’s dry, hot months include the Shasta daisy, which is typically a dainty white flower that blooms two to three weeks in mid- to late summer; coreopsis, a mound of small flowers that bloom for much of the summer; and purple coneflower, which has a very good root system and blooms for a few weeks in mid- to late summer, says Richard Hentschel, educator of horticulture with the University of Illinois’ Extension Services.


He says all come in a variety of colors, hold their shape and are compact so they can fit in a smaller garden. They also are great flowers to cut and bring indoors to brighten up a room.


Donna Lane, a master gardener with the Massachusetts Master Gardeners Association, adds delphinium – which are mostly blue and tall – campanula and sunflowers to the list. She says sunflowers grow about 3 feet and bloom July to August or September, depending on the variety, while campanula have delicate bell flowers from June to August.


“For late summer and early autumn, dahlias comes in 18 different types and a multitude of colors — everything but blue,” adds Lane.


Shade-loving perennials include the astilbe, some varieties of which will bloom for two months, either in August and September or July and August, Lane says.


“They want partial shade and absolutely need a lot of water,” she says.


Lane says hostas aren’t known for their flowers, but they maintain beautiful green and white foliage throughout the summer.


Annuals


Hentschel says petunias are a sun-loving annual that will continue to provide beautiful blooms all summer long and into the fall, provided you do some pruning in mid-July.


“There will be seven to 10 days where you won’t have a lot of bloom in mid-July, but if you prune the flowers back by one-third you will get a lot of growth afterward,” he says.


He says impatiens and coleus, both of which come in a variety of colors, are great shade-loving annuals that will last until frost.