January is a good time to look back at other times in the garden, and today, with the winter cold and snow all around, I thought I’d take a look at my favorite hot flowers—reds, oranges, yellows, fun colors to liven up the garden.
Coreopsis auriculata (Zones 4–9) is called the mouse-ear coreopsis for the small, apparently mouse ear–shaped leaves at the base of the plant. But you have to love it for the masses of bright yellow-orange flowers in late spring to early summer.
Flame azaleas (Rhododendron hybrids, Zones 5–9) are well named. While the evergreen species (mostly native to Asia) tend to bloom in shades of pink, deciduous species (most of the North American natives) kick off the year in fiery shades of yellow, orange, and red.
If you have a shaded garden in Zone 7 or warmer, you should be growing this hardy ground orchid, Calathe striata (Zones 7–10), which has beautiful broad leaves and kicks off spring with masses of intense yellow flowers.
You are no doubt familiar with annual zinnias, but how about this wonderful perennial species, Zinnia grandiflora (Zones 5–9)? Native to western North America, it thrives in hot, dry sites, spreading slowly to make a carpet and blooming all summer long with cheery yellow flowers. Good drainage in winter is key to maximum winter hardiness.
Early in the spring, from little bulbs, comes Corydalis solida (Zones 5–9). The wild species is more of a pinkish purple, but red selections like this are stunning. It thrives in woodland conditions, giving early color to the shade garden.
Zauschneria (also known as Epilobium, Zones 5–9) is another group of plants that loves dry soil. They might not overwinter if they are too wet during the cold months, but in the right site they fill the summer with bright red flowers much loved by hummingbirds.
Native columbine (Aquilegia canadensis, Zones 3–8) has red-orange blooms in abundance. It will grow in light shade, but it blooms the heaviest with a little more sun. Individual plants tend to be a little short-lived but will often self-sow when happy.
Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa, Zones 5–9) is often grown as a food source for monarch butterflies, but the flowers are fantastic no matter what. Ranging from deep orange to yellow, they are always gorgeous.
What are your favorite hot-colored blooms? Send them in to the GPOD!
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