Top Red, White and Blue Flowers for the Summer Garden

For many Americans, Fourth of July is synonymous with fireworks. But for gardeners, the pyrotechnics start early. That’s because by mid June, spring pastels are already giving way to explosive color as red, white and blue flowers begin lighting up the summer garden.


On the color spectrum, red is the most attention-grabbing of colors. In Asia, it symbolizes prosperity and good luck, while on Wall Street ‘in the red’ means you’re losing money. And on the American flag, the red stripes stand for ‘hardiness and valor.’

Hybrid tea rose

In the summer garden, red flowers act like fireworks, especially when framed by red’s complementary color, green. Looking to dazzle? Try grouping red flowers in front of an evergreen hedge and watch the pyrotechnics begin!

red roses and green hedge

Red roses and green hedge

 Or, combine them with other hot colors for an eye-catching composition. 

Too many red flowers? You can cool things down by pairing them with silver. 

red salvia and silver ragwort

Red salvia and silver ragwort

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

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

Red-Flowering Shrubs

Quince ‘Double Take Scarlet

Crimson bottlebrush

Stewartstonian azalea

Mister Lincoln Hybrid Tea Rose

Red-Flowering Perennials

Begonia Dragon Wing

Geranium ‘Americana Red

Dahlia ‘Bishop of Llandaff

Asiatic lilyRed Country

Gaillardia ‘Spin Top Red


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

White hydrangea

In the summer garden, white flowers bring a pristine quality to the mix. Since white reflects light, white flowers instantly brighten key areas of the garden. They also help highlight other colors. 

Below, Echinacea ‘White Swan’ enlivens a mixed border.

Drift of white echinacea

Some gardeners even go all out and create an all-white garden. (The great thing about white flowers, by the way, is that they look especially good at night.)

Garden composed of all white flowers and silver foliage.

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


Located at the other end of the color spectrum from red, blue 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. It signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice.

Himalayan blue poppy

The thing about blue is that it appears to recede (notice how the blue section of the flag seems less intense than the red.) Because of this quality, blue flowers can add depth and volume to a garden composition.

That said, there’s just one problem with blue flowers. Most aren’t truly blue. Most are tinged with lavender or purple. Even so, color can be subjective, so people have different opinions on what’s blue.

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

Blue-Flowering Shrubs

Hydrangea macrophylla Nikko Blue

Lacecap hydrangea Bluebird 

Caryopteris Longwood Blue

Blue-Flowering Perennials

Gentian Sage, Salvia patens 

Wild Blue Flax 

Cape Town Blue Blue Felicia Daisy

Muscari aucheri ‘Blue Magic

Mostly blue with lavender tinge

Blue English Lavender ‘Munstead

Veronica spicata ‘Royal Candles

Russian sage,Blue Jean Baby‘ 

Nepeta (catmint)

Wishing you all a very Happy Fourth of July!