Top 5 Native Annual Flowers that Bloom All Summer

Looking for native annual flowers that bloom all summer? Many native wildflowers are fleeting, only providing a burst of color for a few weeks in the spring.

However, there are a handful of hardy wildflowers that can be counted on for a summer of beautiful blooms. Incorporate these long-blooming annual plants into your perennial garden bed for even more bright colors!

Native annuals that bloom all summer

Like the native perennials, these annual flowers are great plants for attracting butterflies and bees to your flower beds. They are also important butterfly and moth host plants. Even better, all of these gorgeous flowers require little maintenance and can handle dry conditions. They are the perfect choice for a sunny area of your yard!

Here are some of my favorite native annual flowers that bloom all summer. I have included both their common name and scientific name (in parentheses):

Top 5 Native Annual Flowers that Bloom All Summer

1. Blanket Flower (Gaillardia pulchella)

With the right conditions, this wildflower with showy flowers can bloom from late spring through fall. If planted in a location it loves, these compact plants can grow densely, creating a ground cover of wildflowers.

Its colorful flowers are tinged with yellow at the tips. Regular deadheading and supplemental watering can encourage more blooms throughout the heat of summer.

Native to: Throughout the United States (except Northwestern U.S.)
Bloom period: May – August
Sun requirements: Full sun
Height: 1-2 ft.
Wildlife benefits: Host plant to Gaillardia Flower Moth and Painted Schinia Moth.

Blanket Flower also goes by the common name Indian Blanket.

2. Common Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)

Native sunflowers are the perfect addition to a butterfly garden because they are both a butterfly host plant and nectar plant. Choose a sunny location and these will grow with minimal effort, blooming throughout the summer heat and thriving in warmer climates and drought conditions.

Common Sunflowers can grow tall, so they are a good choice to border the back of your garden. Leave the flower heads after they go to seed. Birds such as goldfinches love to feast on them!

Native to: Throughout the United States
Bloom period: July – Oct.
Sun requirements: Full sun
Height: 2-6 ft. tall
Wildlife benefits: Host plant to the Silvery Checkerspot and Bordered Patch butterflies. Great source of nectar and pollen for pollinators. Birds love the seedheads.

Annual sunflower
Annual Sunflower can often be seen growing in disturbed soil in the harshest and driest of conditions!

3. Mexican Hat (Ratibida columnifera)

Mexican Hat has a long growing season, providing vibrant colors from early summer through fall. This is an excellent choice if you have deer in your area. They tend to avoid it.

Native to: Midwest states south to TX
Bloom period: May – Oct
Sun requirements: Full sun
Height: 1-3 ft.
Wildlife benefits: Nectar and pollen for pollinators. Seeds for birds.

Mexican hat flower
Mexican Hat Flower is a wonderful flower if you have deer. They tend to avoid it!

4. Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

Not a true annual, Black-Eyed Susan behaves more like a biannual or short-lived perennial plant. However it will reseed like an annual, forming new plants. Either way, this iconic plant with yellow flowers and a dark center blooms throughout the summer months!

Black Eyed Susans are beautiful cut flowers. They are a popular choice to plant next to Purple Coneflower, or are a great option for container gardens. Leave the spent flowers so Goldfinches can enjoy the seedheads.

Native to: Throughout the United States
Bloom period: June – Sept.
Sun requirements: Full sun to partial shade
Height: 1-3 ft.
Wildlife benefits: Host plant for Bordered Patch and Gorgone Checkerspot butterflies. Nectar and pollen for pollinators. Seeds for birds.

Black eyed susan
Black Eyed Susan is a great addition to a container garden if you don’t have much space.

5. American Basket Flower (Centaurea americana)

These beautiful flowers are always certain to have at least one insect on them! American Basketflower is a unique purple and white wildflower with tall stems. It is a pollinator magnet, and one of my favorite annuals.

American Basketflower can bloom from spring through late summer if conditions are right. It is also a great cut flower to add to a bouquet.

Native to: Central United States
Bloom period: May – Aug.
Sun requirements: Full sun – part sun
Height: 3-4 ft.
Wildlife benefits: Nectar and pollen for pollinators, especially bumblebees.

American Basketflower
American Basketflower is the ideal choice for attracting pollinators to your yard!

Where to Buy Native Annual Flowers

It isn’t always easy to find native annuals at big box garden centers. Head to a locally owned nursery that carries native plants to look for transplants of these annuals. However, it is often easiest and most cost effective to plant these native annuals from seed.

Native American Seed offers seed packets for each of these top 5 annuals:

Rather than sowing individual species, you can also try a native wildflower seed mix for a wide range of colors and colorful blooms in your garden. If you have a part shade area, I recommend finding native seed mixes that can tolerate some shade.

How to Grow Native Annual Flowers

Most wildflowers, including the five listed above, thrive in full sun and well-drained soil. As long as is well-drained, they can handle poor soil and little water once established. If your soil is particularly poor, you can mix in some compost for a little additional organic matter. Native annuals are low maintenance annuals! That’s why I love to grow them.

They are often very easy to sow from seed. If you live in warm climates such as the southern United States you can sow them through late fall, before the first frost. In Zones 3-6, you can sow them in late spring.

After sowing the seeds, you want to water daily to maintain moist soil until the seeds germinate. If you sow in the fall, you’ll start to see new leaf growth called basal rosettes. However, you won’t see new blooms until early spring.

Native annuals that bloom all summer

Like these annual flowers that bloom all summer?

Check out my Top 10 native perennial flowers that bloom all summer:

native perennial flowers that bloom all summer long

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