Five Fine Flowers for Summer

These are five of my favorite summer-flowering plants that you’ll see around the Sperry landscape each year. Next week I’ll be back with five plants I throw in for their colorful foliage.


• Fanflowers. This Australian plant (also known by its generic name Scaevola) has really caught on in past 30 years. It produces blue or white flowers on trailing plants. Blue flowers are hard to find anyway, and to find one this willing to thrive – hey, this is a winner! It’s good for bed edgings, pots and hanging baskets.


• Pentas. An adult friend of our family grew pentas when I was a kid. But his plants were 24 inches tall and floppy. The much newer hybrid types stay short and bloom non-stop all summer and fall. Shades of red, pink, white and lavender. These grow to 12 to 16 inches tall. They’re great for hummingbirds and butterflies.

Continued Below

Wax begonias

• Wax begonias. I’ve grown these since I was 12. I grew them from seed way back then (in a greenhouse, of course). They are best in morning sun and afternoon shade. Bronze-leafed types are more tolerant of sun. Green-leafed types need almost total shade. Flowers are red, pink or white. Dragon Wing hybrids are large-leafed, large-flowering types. I’m going to be picking up some more of the giant Whopper series in the next few days. They were big hits last summer.


• Angelonias. Also occasionally referred to as “summer snapdragons” because the plants and flowers bear some resemblance. These beauties are nice in pots where they can be the “thrillers” (upright plants in centers), also massed in beds. These were unknown to Texas gardeners just 25 years ago.


• Firebush. This is a fabulous Native Texan! It’s great for flowers and, as the weather cools in fall, for coppery, bronze foliage. It blooms non-stop in sunny settings, making it very popular with hummingbirds. It’s perennial in the southern half of the state. Thanks to our friend Greg Grant for this, as well as many other fine plants that he’s brought to us.

So those are my five faves for flowers. Tune in same time and same station next week for foliar color. Those plants will be just as much fun!

Posted by Neil Sperry
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