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Moss' Top Ten Plants of August

Some Like it Hot!

The August top ten relishes the heat. They bloom in vivid summer colors and some some have deliciously sweet scents. A few, like crepe myrtle, joe pye, phlox, and cleome, are workhorses that flower the whole month. While the lilies make dramatic accents of color for a week or so.

As always, tropical, mild winter, and Chicago winter hardy plants comprise the list.  


Click on thumb for larger image





purple crepe myrtles


(Lagerstroemia indica)

Deciduous, small tree to 30'. Profusion of flowers in summer. Drought tolerant. I usually don't include overused plants, and this one is everywhere in the South. But it's spectacular!

Mild winters. Temperate to subtropical climates.

joe pye

Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum)

Large perennial to over 8'. Panicles of flowers attracts butterflies of all sorts. This native plant is available in many cultivars including dwarf varieties for small gardens. Drought tolerant.

Mild to cold winters. Temperate climates.

woodland sunflower

Woodland Sunflower (Helianthus divaricatus)

Large perennial to 6'. Tolerates dry, shade. The bright flowers light up eastern woodlands. Drought tolerant.

Mild to cold winters. Temperate climates.

tiger lilies

Tiger Lily
(Lilium tigrinum /lancifolium)

Bulbous perennial to 7'. This common lily is one of the last to bloom. Spreads aggressively through bulbils and forms large stands. Perhaps should be named leopard or jaguar lily because it is spotted not striped.

Mild to cold winters. Temperate climates.

pink phlox

Phlox (Phlox paniculata)

Spreading perennial to 4'. Another common, reliable selection. Panicles of pastel flowers have a sweet scent and attract butterflies.

Mild to cold winters. Temperate climates.

balloon flower

Balloon Flower (Platycodon grandiflorum)

Spreading perennial to 3'. Buds swell like a balloon before "popping" to reveal luscious purple stars. Great companion for yellow flowered plants like black-eyed Susan, tickseed, and ox-eye daisy. Drought tolerant.

Mild to cold winters. Temperate climates.

belladonna lily, naked lady

Belladonna Lily (Amaryllis belladonna)

Bulbous perennial. Foliage grows in winter and is dormant by spring. Flower stalks appear as "naked ladies " without foliage. Larger, more fragrant flowers than close cousin Lycoris. Drought tolerant.

Mild winters. Subtropical climates.

agapanthus flowers

Lily of the Nile (Agapanthus)

Rhizomatous perennial. Deciduous species are hardier than evergreen ones. As commonly planted in southern California as daylilies are in the East. Many species and cultivars available. Drought tolerant.

Mild winters. Temperate to subtropical climates.


Spider Flower (Cleome hassleriana)

Annual to 5'. Flower stalks continue to bloom, set seed, and add buds all summer. Spidery effect comes from seedpods and long stamens. Drought tolerant.


Crookneck Squash
(Cucurbita pepo)
Large annual with watery trailing stems. Attractive form mounding, dissected foliage plus it fruits. Now that I'm older I understand why Grandma Sarah ate them. Here's a recipe with shitakes that I concocted this week. Annual

wemoss.org 2007, Last Updated August 2, 2007