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SunPatiens are just what they sound like: impatiens for the sun. Greene, Hogue, and Ostrander all recommend them. “I look for them to replace geraniums,” says Ostrander. “You don’t have to deadhead them, they’re disease-resistant, and they take full sun and heat.” They come in a wide variety of colors and grow faster and larger than their New Guinea impatiens look-alikes. Keep them well watered for best performance. Photo courtesy Sakata Ornamentals.

Many colors (Vigorous Orange shown at top)
18 to 30 inches tall
Full sun

‘Gryphon’ begonia
“I’m a big begonia pusher,” Greene says. “They are plants you can leave for a few days and grow almost anywhere.” Some begonias produce flowers, but she loves foliage begonias such as ‘Gryphon’ for the shade, where its silver and green leaves light up dark areas. “So many people have deep shade because their homes are older and the trees around them are mature.” Photo courtesy National Garden Bureau.

10 to 24 inches tall and wide
Full to partial shade

Petchoa SuperCal Pink Ice
This combination of a petunia and calibrachoa offers the best of both worlds, says Hancock. “Like a petunia, it grows great in the ground or in containers, but it also has large flowers in a jewel-tone shade of soft pink.” An added bonus: It tolerates cool temperatures well. “So you can enjoy it longer into the fall.” Photo courtesy Sakata Ornamentals.

SuperCal Pink Ice
Trailing habit
Full sun

Scaevola Suntastic
Most fan flowers come in a purple-blue shade, but the new ‘Suntastic’ is a buttery yellow. Hogue recommends it as “one of those heat-loving, drought-tolerant varieties that survives most summer conditions.” Photo courtesy Burpee.

8 to 10 inches tall, 12 to 14 inches wide
Full sun

‘Silver Stream’
Love alyssum? Hogue recommends ‘Silver Stream’. It’s more compact than Snow Princess and stays covered with white double flowers even in Iowa’s heat. “It’s a wonderfully fragrant alyssum that is a showstopper both in the ground and in containers,” lauds Hogue. “Keep it watered and it performs magnificently. It’s very useful in wedding containers for a soft, lacy look.” Photo courtesy Danziger Flower Farm.

‘Silver Stream’
8 to 12 inches high, 12 to 15 inches wide
Full to partial sun


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