Enduring St. Louis Summers

Flowers!!!!! Flowers overflowing in containers and gardens. Flowers everywhere! Is that your dream garden? Did something happen last year to deflate your bloom? 

If your annual flowers were brown and crunchy, looked more like a new bran cereal than the flower pictures in a mail order catalog, you need durable plants for our upcoming grueling summer. There are such enduring annuals and perennials available, it’s just a matter of finding them. These long lasting annuals and perennials have many similar qualities. They are heat and drought tolerant.

The following 16 annuals and perennials are St. Louis summer proof:

Begonias. Fibrous rooted or wax begonia.
Native to the tropics, these plants have either green or bronze foliage. Once established, these plants are durable and need less water than other annuals. They are reliable bloomers in full sun to partial shade. Flower colors are pink, rose white and bi-colors.

Celosia. (C.plumosa—feathers or plums; C.cristata—cockscomb)
Children are attracted to these plants because the flowers don’t look like ordinary flowers. For best garden performance, it is best to grow them from seed or purchase green plants without blooms. Flower colors range from cream to pink to crimson. Height ranges from 6 inches to 4 feet, and taller varieties can be used as cut flowers.

Cleome. Spider plant.
This tall plant is native to the Caribbean and thrives on hot, dry conditions. It can reach up to 6 feet tall in full sun if give enough water and nutrients. Colors are limited to violet, rose and white.

Coreopsis. Pot of Gold (C. grandiflora—perennial; C. verticality)
Native to North America, these yellow or red daisy-like flowers will grace a garden during summer and fall. The Moonbeam coreopsis was awarded the perennial plant of the year.

Cosmos. Mexican aster. (C.bipinnatus or C.sulphureus)
Native to Mexico, these plants range from a dwarf form of 12 inches in height to a bushy 6 feet tall. Very heat and drought tolerant, cosmos prefers infertile but well drained soil, for prolific blooms. Cosmos are available in a wide color range from yellow to scarlet, to pink, rose and white.

Globe Amaranth. Gomphrena globosa
This annual is native to the tropics and is a wonderful long-lasting flower. There are dwarf varieties, as well as taller ones that reach up to two feet. New colors include lavender, rose, pink and strawberry.

This underused annual is a superb landscape plant covering the soil with lush growth dotted with small yellow daisy-like flowers. The plant tolerates summer heat and humidity.

Morning Glory. Ipomoea.
Native to the tropics, this annual vine is best grown from seed. A vigorous plant, Morning Glory needs a trellis or vertical support---it can reach 8-10 feet. The delicate looking single flowers unfurl each day. Flower colors are white, blue, pink or red.

Nicontiana. Flowering tobacco.
Burst of tubular, star-shaped blooms are held above the lush green foliage. Plant height can be dwarf and bushy or up to 4 to 6 feet. Native to South America, this flower colors are pink, rose, lime or white.

These popular annuals thrive on drought conditions once the plants are established. Native to Argentina, petunias are available in a rainbow of colors. Wave and Tidal Wave petunias are the St. Louis favorite for color and drought tolerance.

Portulaca. Mose Rose.
This hardy annual has distinctly round, fleshy leaves almost succulent. Native to South America, portulaca plants need little water once established. The tissue paper like petals close at night. Flower colors include cream, scarlet, pink and fuchsia.

Salvia. S. coccinea or S. farinacea.
Both of these salvia are heat and drought tolerant, blooming prolifically in full-sun gardens. The S. cocinea red flower spikes may attract butterflies. The blue flowers of S farinacea are wonderful cut flowers that can be used fresh or dried.

Sunflower. Helianthus
Sometimes planted by squirrels or chipmunks, these North American flowers are available in white, bronze and cream colors in addition to the traditional yellow. Heights range from 1 foot to 10 feet tall. Sunflowers tolerate heat and poor soil. Easy to grow from seed, these are popular as cut flowers.

Vinca. Perwinkle. Catharanthus roseus.
Native to Africa, vinca plants are one of the most heat tolerant annuals. The waxy lush foliage grows rapidly in full sun. Recent new cultivars have been introduced to provide an array of different color hues.

Yarrow. Achillea
These durable perennial plants are so hardy that they need to be controlled. The drought tolerant plants will flower freely and when cut, can be used as fresh or dried. Yellow is the dominant color but shades of peach and red are St. Louis favorites.

Native to Mexico, zinnia plants prefer hot and dry weather once they are established in the garden. A wide range of colors and heights are available. Zinnias are easy to grow from seed or preplanted.


From A-Z, these flowers will endure St. Louis summers.

If you were disappointed in your flower garden last summer, try some of these durable annuals and perennials. Some plants are more foolproof than others. Using this group of flowers should help you be prouder and more satisfied with the results of your gardening dreams.