Heat Tolerant Perennials, Shrubs & Grasses

yarrow moonshine

Here are a few 'go-to' plants that love the heat!

Choosing the right plants for the right location will make gardening easier.

 

Yarrow 'Moonshine' (Achillea)

Long-lasting, lemon-yellow flowers float above silver-green foliage... a classic choice for cottage or butterfly gardens and borders. Humidity, deer and rabbit tolerant.

Blooms: Typically blooms from late spring through late summer.
Light: Full or part sun
Size: 1 - 2' tall x 1 - 2' wide
Zones: 3-8 

 

Allium Millennium

Ornamental Onion 'Millennium' (Allium) (pictured)

Globe-shaped, florets of violet-purple flowers hover over clump-forming, thick grass-like foliage. The 'Millennium' cultivar has many showy flowers. Rabbits and deer don't like the 'onion-y' scent.

Blooms: July - August
Light: Full sun but appreciates light afternoon shade during the height of summer.
Size: 1 - 2' tall x 1 - 2' wide when mature
Zones: 4-9 

 

Echinacea Magnus

Coneflower 'Magnus' (Echinacea) (pictured)
Daisy-like petals surround a large cone-shaped center which gives this perennials its name. Coneflowers are the 'two for' plants: They are an important source of nectar for butterflies and also a good source of seed for birds, especially goldfinches in the fall. You can find it in just about every color of the rainbow except for blue. Plant in groupings for a pop of color for yourself and also nectar for the pollinators.

Blooms: July - September
Light: Full sun to part sun. Plants need at least four hours of sunlight per day. They thrive in spots with morning shade and afternoon sum or vice versa.
Size: Coneflowers, in general, are available in a variety of sizes in clumping habits and heights from one to four feet tall.
Zones: 5-9*
*Echinacea 'Magnus' is cold hardy to zone 3. 

 

Nepeta cats meow

Catmint (Nepeta) (pictured)
This is one tough perennial! Blue-purple flowers are surrounded by small and fuzzy, scented gray-green foliage. Attracts bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects. Look for cultivar, 'Cat's Meow,' with its abundant flowers and tidier habit.

Blooms: Late spring through summer and into early fall. The plant benefits from a 'haircut' in mid summer to promote more blooming.
Light: Full sun to light shade
Size: Available in many heights from 9" - 3 ft. tall
Zones: 3-8 

 

Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)
Clouds of blue-purple flowers burst into bloom in late summer. The leaves are finely cut in a gray-green color with a slight scent, too. It is drought tolerant once it is established. Then, it can handle hot, dry areas. If you want this plant to be tidier, look for newer hybrids that boast sturdier stems that won't bend from the weight of the flowers.

Blooms: Late summer and flowers into early fall
Light: Needs full sun to bloom well.
Size: 3-5 ft. tall and 2-4 ft. wide. 'Little Spire' is a smaller version and more upright.
Zones: 4-9 

 

Stonecrop 'Autumn Joy' (Sedum)
Tough stuff! Sedum is almost indestructible in heat or drought. The thick, succulent foliage stands up to the elements and large flower clusters make an appearance in late summer. The flowers range in color from bright pink to mauve and deeper burgundy. It's a plant for all seasons with tidy plants in spring, flowers in late summer into fall and brown seed heads that stand through the winter.

Blooms: Late summer into late October
Light: Part sun to full sun
Size: The classic 'Autumn Joy' cultivar is 20-24" tall and 18-24" wide
Zones: 3-9 

 

Heat tolerant SHRUBS
Don't forget to include heat tolerant shrubs in your garden plans.

- Barberry
- Butterfly Bush
- Cotoneaster
- Potentilla
- Spirea

 

Heat tolerant GRASSES
These low maintenance grasses can really tackle the heat and humidity of our summers. For best results, add a grouping of grasses to your garden plan for movement and texture.

Feather Reed Grass 'Karl Foerster': Narrow green foliage grows in manageable 2-ft. clumps. Later in late spring, feathery, wheat-colored seed heads rise up to 5-ft. tall. It's a tidy grass with good vertical interest.
Blue Fescue 'Elijah Blue': A short, silvery, blue-green grass is small and compact at only 6-12" tall and wide. It's an evergreen grass for small spaces in all seasons.
Little Bluestem: A North American prairie grass common to Midwest prairies grows with a clumping, upright habit. The narrow green leaves turn blue at the base in summer, followed by purple-bronze flowers and fluffy, silver-white seed heads that last into the winter. The bronze-orange, fall foliage is a standout. It's easy to grow in full sun and a well-drained soil. Tolerates high humidity and poor soil. The average size is 2 - 5 ft. tall x 1 - 2 ft. wide.