Summer-Approved Bloomers

Looking for flowering plants that can take the heat in the summer garden? Father Nature Landscapes of Birmingham, Alabama, shares favorite varieties of hydrangeas, roses, and natives
pale pink climbing roses on a wall
A trained ‘New Dawn’ climbing rose blooms along the top of a garden wall. All photography courtesy of Father Nature Landscapes in Birmingham, Alabama


These rose varieties are durable, handle full hot sun, and bloom on new wood, meaning you can prune them as late as March.

  • Drift Roses—a beautiful rambling rose, this ground cover mixes well with formal borders, grasses, or other perennials.
  • Rugosa Roses—a shrub rose for those who want people to think they are “rose people.” They are easy and fragrant, with beautiful, thick foliage.
  • Climbing Roses—‘Climbing Pinkie’, ‘New Dawn’, or ‘White Dawn’ are my go-tos thanks to their extended bloom time, richness, and ease. They do require a bit of TLC but are worth their love.


blue and pink-blooming hydrangea bush in the sunlight, photo courtesy of Father Nature
From part-shade varieties, such as ‘Penny Mac’ pictured above, to those that thrive in the sun, choose a hydrangea suited to your light conditions.

Panicle Hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata): These can handle the sun and heat!

  • ‘Little Lime’—dwarf, white blooms, full to part sun.
  • ‘Tardiva’—humongous! with white blooms, full sun to part shade. As the latest-blooming of all hydrangeas, it will add beauty and interest during the transition from summer to fall.

Oakleaf Hydrangeas (Hydrangea quercifolia)

  • ‘Snowflake’—large, complex white blooms, part shade.
  • ‘Munchkin’—dwarf, complex white blooms, part shade.

Wild Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens)

  • ‘Annabelle’—dreamy white, ball-shaped flowers; part sun.
  • ‘Incrediball’—durable; dreamy white, ball-shaped flowers; part to full sun.

European Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)

  • ‘Sister Theresa’—white blooms, part to full sun but not on the western side of the house.
  • ‘Penny Mac’—pink to blue blooms all summer long in part shade. For deep blue flowers, add a teaspoon of aluminum sulfate around their root zone four times a year (once a quarter).
wild hydrangea with large white flowers
'Annabelle', a wild hydrangea

Native Plants

Two of our three native plant selections bloom in a season other than summer. Still, they are ideal for adding texture and interest to the summer garden because they are durable, look healthy with “less than suboptimal” maintenance, and thrive in rougher conditions than most non-natives.

  • Mt Airy’ Fothergilla—a delicate white bottlebrush bloom for early spring. Partial shade with well-drained soil.
  • ‘Little Henry’ Sweetspire—enjoy white blooms in early summer, incredible bright color in fall, and beautiful red twigs in winter. Full sun to full shade.
  • Muhly grass—this pink- or white-bloomed grass can handle the heat and blooms in early fall. Full sun.
'Little Henry' Sweetspire

By Daniel McCurry

Father Nature Landscapes has locations in Birmingham and Mobile Bay, Alabama, and Tacoma, Washington. Learn more at

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