The Best Red, White and Blue Flowers For The Summer Garden

For many Americans, the 4th of July is a time to fly the flag and dress in patriotic colors. But for gardeners, the fireworks start early as red, white and blue flowers begin taking shape in summer gardens. As nature’s palette turns from pastels to brights, white never looked crisper, nor red so fiery-hot. Blue, well, that’s a different story, so please see below.


Considered the most attention-grabbing of colors, red stirs strong emotions that vary across cultures. In China, it is a symbol of good luck and prosperity, while on Wall Street ‘in the red’ means you’re losing money. And on the American flag, the red stripes are meant to symbolize ‘hardiness and valor.’

Hybrid tea rose

In the summer garden, red flowers make a bold statement, too, especially when framed by red’s complementary color, green. For a big impact, group red flowers in the back of the border in front of an evergreen hedge or combine them with other ‘hot’ colors’ for a strong composition.  Conversely, cool them down by pairing them with silvers. Either way, people will stand up and notice.

And just like the stripes on the flag, white flowers offer a crisp contrast to all that red.

Here are some of the best red flowers for your summer garden. 

Red-Flowering Shrubs

Quince ‘Double Take ‘Scarlet’

Crimson bottlebrush, Callistemon citrinus

Stewartstonian azalea

‘Mister Lincoln’ Hybrid Tea Rose

Red-Flowering Perennials

Begonia ‘Dragon’s Blood’

Geranium ‘Americana Red’

Dahlia ‘Bishop of llandaff’

Daylily ‘Always Afternoon’

Asiatic lily (red)

Gaillardia ‘Spin Top Orange Halo’


The purest of all colors in terms of composition, white is considered in most cultures to be symbolic of goodness and light. It can also indicate cleanliness and is the color of perfection. On the American flag, the white stripes signify purity and innocence.

White hydrangea

In the summer garden, white has a certain innocent quality, too. White plants reflect light, instantly brightening and drawing attention to key areas of the garden. And planted alone, they act as beacons, calling attention to themselves while highlighting other colors.

White flowers look great planted in drifts in a mixed-color border, or you can go all-out and create an all-white garden while planting them as thick as hasty pudding.

Drift of white echinacea

Here are some of the best and brightest white flowers for the summer garden:

White-Flowering Shrubs

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’

Mock Orange ‘Snow White Sensation’

Azalea ‘Delaware Valley White’

Rose ‘Boule de Neige’

White-Flowering Perennials

Phlox paniculata ‘David’

Iris germanica ‘Immortality’

Allium ‘Mount Everest’

Echinacea ‘Pow Wow White’

Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’

Physostegia virginiana ‘Crystal Peak White’


On the color spectrum, blue is found at the other end from red. It is considered the hardest color to see. For this reason, it is known as a cool color. On the American flag, blue is the color of the Chief and signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice.

Himalayan blue poppy

Since blue color appears to recede, it can be used in the summer garden to add depth and volume to a composition. The only problem with blue flowers is that there aren’t many that are actually blue. Most are tinged with lavender or purple.

Here are the truest blue flowers I’ve found to date for the summer garden:

Blue-Flowering Shrubs

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Nikko Blue’

‘Bluebird’ lacecap hydrangea

Caryopteris ‘Longwood Blue’

Blue-Flowering Perennials

Blue coleus, also know as bush coleus

Gentian Sage, Salvia patens 

Lewis flax, Linum lewisii

Blue Daisy

Muscari aucheri ‘Blue Magic’

Mostly blue with lavender tinge

Hidcote Blue English Lavender

Veronica spicata ‘Royal Candles’

Russian sage, Perovskia

Catmint, Nepeta

Wishing you all a very Happy Fourth of July!



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