Plant a special garden filled with colorful, sun-loving flowers. These easy-go-grow favorites will keep it looking good all season long.
Plants have different light requirements, and to ignore them is folly. Choosing flowers for a sunny garden will be a rewarding experience as long as the plants’ light requirements are compatible with the light available in the intended planting area. Plants that like full sun will languish and die if planted in the shade.
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Marigolds, Tagetes sp., are among the most popular annual flowers for summer gardens. They come in various shades of yellow, orange, rust and mahogany with dramatic bicolors and blends that will lend a pop of glorious color to any part of the garden.
Varieties range in size from 6 inches to 3 feet in height. Noted for their distinctive odor, marigolds discourage garden pests. Adding them to vegetable gardens, flowerbeds or containers will reduce the need for insecticides.
Slugs are the only garden pest that finds marigolds attractive. If they appear on the scene, act quickly before they devour every plant. Marigolds are hardy in zones 3 through 9 and do best planted in full sun.
Perennial Shasta daisies, Chrysanthemum maximum, are the traditional white ones with the yellow center. Since they are perennial, they cost a bit more initially, but when you consider that you only buy them once and they keep coming back year after year, they really are quite a bargain.
Divide them after a couple of years to produce even more plants—at no additional cost. Attractive additions to any sunny garden, Shasta daisies are cheery, long-lasting cut flowers.
They are hardy in zones 4 through 10, do best in full sun and reach a height of 1 to 3 feet. Butterflies and bees find Shasta daisies attractive, but fortunately, deer do not. Remove dead flowers for repeat blooming.
An enduring garden favorite is colorful Begonia x semperflorens that will grow in shade or sun. It comes in white, pink, and brilliant red with either green or bronze foliage.
Those with bronze foliage are especially fond of sun. Growing from 6 to 12 inches in height and width, annual begonias tolerate both sun and summer heat if planted in the early spring so that they can become established.
Trimming off dead flowers and damaged leaves will assure continuous blooming throughout the summer until frost. Water thoroughly, but allow soil to dry before watering again. Begonias grow well in zones 3 to 11 and bloom until frost.
Petunia x hybrida comes in many colors. There are even some striped varieties. Pastels as well as deep, vivid shades are available to be compatible with a host of other colorful flowers.
Petunias are low-growing annuals that rarely get above 12 inches tall but can spread in every direction. New cultivars are heat and cold tolerant making them suitable for more gardens than ever and lengthening the bloom time. New varieties are useful as ground covers as well as border plantings.
If it matters to you, be sure to ask before buying seeds or non-blooming plants. Petunias are hardy in zones 3 to 11. They need regular fertilizer during blooming times and average water. Remove spent blossoms to keep blooms coming. Prune leggy stems to maintain a nice shape.