Our Top Picks For August

August is the quintessential summer month here in the Pacific Northwest. Consistently dry, sunny, and warm, but with a slight tinge of fall in the air by the second half of the month. The sun is starting to set a little earlier, but we still have pleasantly warm summer evenings to enjoy in the garden. Flowers abound and we can enjoy sizzling colors under the sun as well as find comfort in the coolness of the shade garden. Here are some of our favorite plants for August.



Dahlias burst onto the scene in July and August, filling the garden with showstopping blooms that continue well into fall. Choose from a variety of colors, flower shapes, and sizes, from 3” diameter flowers to blooms the size of dinner plates! Best of all, with a little care, they will produce spectacular flowers year after year.

  • Full sun to part shade (more sun for best blooms)

  • Fertile, well-drained soil

  • 12”-5’ tall, depending on type

  • Blooms summer to fall


Edward Goucher Abelia

Edward Goucher Abelia.jpg

Pollinators love the delicate lilac-pink flowers that abound throughout the summer on this semi-evergreen shrub. Glossy leaves emerge with a red tinge in the spring and mature to dark green on gracefully arching stems. Best of all, this plant is deer resistant.

  • Full sun to part shade

  • Prefers rich, acidic soil

  • 4’-6’ tall and wide

  • Blooms summer to late autumn


Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)

Rose of Sharon.jpg

The large pink, blue, or white flowers of Rose of Sharon add a tropical vibe to the garden and are sure to impress. ‘Blue Satin’ (shown above) is a strong grower with a striking and unique blue flower. It is a reliable and long-blooming plant. Although it looks tropical, this deciduous shrub is hardy to -20 degrees F.

  • Full sun

  • Well-drained soil

  • 8’-10’ tall and 4’-5’ wide

  • Blooms July-September



Ayesha Mophead Hydrangea.jpg

Hydrangeas are a must for every PNW garden. Choose from the globular blooms of mophead varieties, the cones of panicle varieties, or the elegant crowns of the lacecap varieties. Tons of colors to choose from as well. Ayesha Mophead Hydrangea (shown above) is adorned with unique, pale pinkish-lavender blooms that are lightly fragrant and have spoon-shaped petals that resemble lilacs.

  • Part shade

  • Well-drained soil

  • 4’-7’ tall and wide, depending on variety

  • Blooms summer into fall


Coneflower (Echinacea)

Tangerine Dream Echinacea.jpg

A bee magnet, Coneflower (Echinacea) is a staple in the summer garden. These pollinator-attracting blooms are long-lasting and make great cut flowers for bouquets. They look stunning planted en masse or mixed into the perennial and annual flower border. Seed-hunting birds love the seed heads in the fall. This variety is called Tangerine Dream.

  • Full sun to part shade for best blooms

  • Well-drained soil

  • 24” tall and 30” wide

  • Blooms July-October


Lettuce and Kale


Plant lettuce and kale now for delicious, fresh salads in the fall. Kale is hardy and will continue to produce into winter. Lettuce appreciates a little shade through August. Both plants need to be watered regularly but the homegrown salads you will enjoy in September and October is so worth it.

  • Full sun to part shade

  • Rich, well-drained soil

  • Lettuce grows 4”-8” tall and Kale 12”-36” tall and wide, depending on variety

  • Protect lettuce as temperatures drop in late fall


New Zealand Flax (Phormium)


Drama! The bold, swordlike leaves of Phormium are a statement piece. Try ‘Dark Delight’ (shown above) or ‘Guardsman’, with its vivid red stripes. Plant with a bright green accent (Autumn Joy Sedum shown above) for maximum impact. This evergreen perennial likes sun or light shade, most types of soil, and moderate water.

  • Full sun to part shade

  • Well-drained soil

  • Up to 7’ tall, depending on variety

  • Blooms on older plants may attract hummingbirds




Cheerful Coreopsis offers up masses of flowers over a long period in the summer. This native of the Americas prefers lots of sun and is highly sought after by bees and hungry butterflies. They are drought-tolerant, easy-going, and available in shades of yellow, orange, red, cream, and pink. Shown above: Li’l Bang ‘Enchanted Red’.

  • Full sun

  • Average, well-drained soil

  • 6”-24” tall and wide

  • Blooms summer-fall


Xenox Sedum


Want something unique and unusual? How about Xenox Sedum? This drought-tolerant, purple-tinged succulent plant definitely has the wow factor. It also attracts bees, butterflies, and beneficial insects with its clusters of red velvet buds that open to rose-colored flowers from late august through fall.

  • Full sun

  • Well-drained soil

  • 12”-14”” tall and 18” wide, depending on variety

  • Blooms late summer to fall




Stay cool in the shade with Hostas. These architectural foliage plants are right at home in shady and woodland gardens. Plants range from tiny 4” dwarfs to massive 6’-wide giants, with leaves that can be deep green, blue, or chartreuse. ‘Patriot’, shown above, has leaves with white margins that reach 7” long and lavender flowers on 2’-tall stalks.

  • Shade to part shade

  • Average, well-drained soil

  • 4”-24” tall and 12”-72” wide, depending upon variety

  • Blooms early to late summer, depending on variety

We’d love to help you choose something perfect for your individual space, whether in person or on social media using #heyswansons!