ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Extremely Hardy Summer Perennials

Updated on April 25, 2018
The Dirt Farmer profile image

Jill is a former Master Gardener and Naturalist who enjoys cooking, abstract painting, and stewardship.

Hardy summer bloomers that will turn your brown thumb green

Sea holly is a deer-resistant, salt-tolerant, drought-tolerant and low-maintenance perennial.
Sea holly is a deer-resistant, salt-tolerant, drought-tolerant and low-maintenance perennial. | Source

Sea holly, globe thistle, anise hyssop, deadnettle, blue false indigo— not only are these herbaceous perennials deer resistant & drought resistant, but they're also impervious to neglect.

Even stone-cold plant killers will be hard pressed to destroy these tough-as-nails perennials. They're so tough their species' name should be 'Chuck Norris'!

Not only are they resistant to just about everything, but they bloom when most other plants falter in the hot summer sun.

Try one of them or all of them to add interest and color to your summer garden.

Sea Holly (Eryngium)


Sea Holly

When it comes to gardening with perennials, it doesn't get much easier than Eryngium, commonly called sea holly.

Sea holly thrives under drought conditions in poor, baked soil. Sow it from seed in the hottest, least hospitable part of your garden and watch it grow.

Not only is it deer resistant and drought tolerant, but sea holly is also salt tolerant. And bees and butterflies love it!

If you decide to add sea holly to your garden, the most maintenance you may have is occasionally deadheading, that is, removing spent blooms. Otherwise, your sea holly could self seed too much and become invasive.

Many species of sea holly are readily available online. All have silvery-gray foliage and either white, blue or purple-blue spiky flowers. Most are hardy in USDA Zones 4-10.

Amethyst sea holly (Eryngium amethystinum) is one of the hardiest species, performing well in Zones 2-10. It produces prickly purple-blue blooms.

Because it has tap roots, sea holly doesn't transplant well. It's best to start it from seed, broadcasting it directly outside.

It's probably the prickly texture of sea holly that causes deer to give it a miss.

Globe Thistle (Echinops)


Globe thistle is a great cutting garden flower, producing big blue blooms with sturdy stems.


Globe Thistle

Globe thistle has several traits in common with sea holly. It's a deer-resistant, drought-tolerant self seeder that has greyish foliage.

In midsummer, globe thistle produces round blue flowers that contrast beautifully with its silvery green leaves. Want your globe thistle to spread? Allow some of the flowers to dry on the stalk, and the plant will self seed. Globe thistle's flower seed also attracts birds.

How big blue globe thistle flowers are depends upon the species. Echinops bannaticus 'Blue Glow' produces deep blue flowers, while the smaller Echinops ritro's blooms turn bright blue when they're mature.

Ordinarily, species of globe thistle reach heights of one to three feet, with a single plant growing as wide as two feet. 'Blue Glow' is one of the taller species, reaching heights of four feet, while small globe thistle (Echinops ritro) only grows to about one foot in height.

Some species are hardier than others; however, on average, many globe thistle varieties will grow well in Zones 3-10.

Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)


A fragrant herb in the mint family, anise hyssop attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

Anise Hyssop

Like the other perennials on this list, anise hyssop is deer resistant, drought tolerant and low maintenance.

Unlike the others, anise hyssop is an herb. It tastes and smells like anise, the flavoring in licorice. Anise hyssop may be used fresh or dried in salads, baked goods and teas.

It grows best in full sun but will also perform well in partial sun.

Along with other Master Gardeners, I grow anise hyssop in a public garden that's serviced roughly four times a year.

Along with other Master Gardeners, I grow anise hyssop in a public garden near my home. The garden doesn't have an irrigation system; the plants there grow on rainfall alone. And because it's cared for by volunteers, the beds are maintained only about four times a year.

Despite the heat and neglect, anise hyssop thrives there, displaying tall, purple flower spears throughout the summer and a lovely brown silhouette in the fall and winter months.

While deer avoid anise hyssop, bees and butterflies are drawn to it, as are hummingbirds. In fact, the plant's common name is hummingbird mint.

Although it's a herb in the mint family, anise hyssop is often designated in guidebooks as a North American wildflower. Its leaves look a lot like the leaves of catnip.

Most anise hyssop is hardy in Zones 4-10, reaching heights from one foot up to eight feet, depending on the species and the location.

In both summer and fall, anise hyssop produces small flowers on large flower spikes.

Usually blossoms range in color from light blue to purple, although some varieties produce pink, white or yellow flowers. The flowers of sunset hyssop, for instance, are a blend or orange, red and purple. The flowers of Agastache cana 'Rosita' are pink.

Fresh or dried, anise hyssop flowers retain their odor, making them perfect for arrangements and potpourris.

Summer Flowers

Do you need more hardy summer bloomers in your garden?

See results

Deadnettle (Lamium)

Our purple dragon's head lamium grows in dry shade and looks its best when the summer is at its hottest.
Our purple dragon's head lamium grows in dry shade and looks its best when the summer is at its hottest. | Source


Deadnettle— what an ugly name for a herbaceous perennial ground cover that's available in some very attractive species these days.

A member of the mint family, deadnettle is tough, tough, tough in Zones 4 to 8. It's deer resistant, drought tolerant and requires little maintenance other than deadheading.

Although lamium doesn't like full sun (it prefers partial sun or shade) it doesn't mind poor soil. Plant it in dry shade and enjoy blooms from late spring through summer. It's ideal for erosion control.

Bees, butterflies and birds are attracted to deadnettle flowers, which may be pink, purple, yellow or white, depending upon the species. The foliage also varies, but it is usually either grey and silver or gold and chartreuse.

Blue False Indigo (Baptisia australis)

Blue false indigo growing wild along the Potomac in Fairfax, VA.
Blue false indigo growing wild along the Potomac in Fairfax, VA. | Source

Blue False Indigo

A wildflower native to the U.S., blue false indigo is also commonly called blue wild indigo or wild blue indigo.

Hardy in Zones 3 to 8, blue false indigo is deer resistant and drought tolerant. It does well in both full sun and part sun.

False indigo is a tall plant, with some varieties growing as high as eight feet. Most types, however, grow up to three or four feet.

False blue indigo is well loved by the birds and the bees. It blooms in late spring and summer. Depending on the species, the blooms may be violet, blue or white.

Its leaves are either bluish green or greenish yellow. In late fall, the foliage turns a silvery-gray.

Like sea holly, false blue indigo has long tap roots, so it grows best from seed, as it doesn't transplant well.


© 2014 Jill Spencer


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)