Blooming Heat Tolerant Plants

The heat is on! If you look around, you will see there are many plants in the summer landscape that don’t seem to mind the higher temperatures of mid to late summer.  Listed below are some of the best blooming heat tolerant plants for the East Tennessee area.

Trees & Shrubs

Two of these “Show Stoppers” are woody plants (trees or shrubs) that can be seen blooming all over town.

Limelight Hydrangea is one shrub with huge lime green to white blossoms on 6-8’ tall rounded shrubs. They can be planted in mass, as a summer privacy screen.  Planted individually they can be used as a strong accent piece on a bare corner of the house.

Crape Myrtles which are also blooming now, are a favorite of Southern gardeners. Flowering from midsummer through September, they come in many colors: white, red, pink, and many shades of purple. Crape Myrtles range in size from 3’ dwarfs, 6-8’ shrub forms, and 10-25’ tall trees.  There is a Crape Myrtle for every sunny landscape situation!

Hydrangea and Crape Myrtles are deciduous, so they will lose their leaves in the winter.  They are drought tolerant once they become established, meaning after the first or second year the roots should be deep enough in the soil to withstand dry periods.  You still may need to water them well during drought conditions.


Perennials that are preforming well in the summer heat are Salvia, Coneflowers, blanket flowers and ice plants to name a few. It’s interesting that most plants with grey, fuzzy foliage are heat tolerant because they lose less water through that type of leaf. Bloomers with beautiful grey leaves include Russian sage, catmint, lavender, santolina, and lamb’s ear (they are also deer resistant).


There are several annuals that perform well in hot summer sun. One of the most popular is Lantana.  It is a sprawling plant, that is covered in yellow, orange, or pink mixes of flowers.  They are wonderful for attracting butterflies and are also deer resistant.  Another great plant is Mandevilla.  It is a climbing vine with large pink or red trumpet shaped flowers and will attract hummingbirds. Portulaca (moss rose) has fat, water filled leaves and acts like a ground cover that blooms with yellow, orange, or pink flowers all summer long.

Remember that even though all these beautiful flowering plants bloom well during high summer and are fairly drought tolerant, there are periods of extremely dry hot weather when they need your help getting through. Give them a good watering when you see wilting or scorched leaves .Usually they will perk back up and keep on rocking.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Summer Water