What Flowers Grow Well in Kentucky? (Here Are 9 Great Options)

Even though the state of Kentucky has only a couple of hardiness gardening zones, there’s a diverse range of flowers that thrive in the region.

So what flowers grow well in Kentucky? The Bluegrass state is located in hardiness zones 6a to 6b, which pushes it into the humid subtropical weather category. Various kinds of flowers can grow in Kentucky’s weather conditions ranging from petunias, coneflowers, zinnias, and more.

Flowers That Grow Well in Kentucky

Flowers That Grow Well in Kentucky

1. Rudbeckia

Rudbeckias, also known as black-eyed Susans, are native to Kentucky. There are several variants of rudbeckia to choose from, such as “Irish Eyes” and “Prairie Sun.”

These flowers can stand the Kentucky heat and easily pop up on sidewalks and garden meadows. Hence, Rudbeckias are the perfect no-fuss flower for your yard, home, and garden.

The black-eyed Susan variant is adorned with bright yellow thin petals and thick brown centers, almost like a tiny version of a sunflower. Meanwhile, other variants like the “Cherry Brandy,” have rich red-wine-colored petals with a similar dark brown center.

For Rudbeckias to survive, all they need are ideal sun exposure, dense soil or mulch, and regular watering. That said, you can go for a few days without watering the plant to give the soil time to dry between waterings.

2. Zinnia

Zinnias are one of Kentucky’s many summer flower bloomers. These flowers don’t even need compact soil to grow. Instead, you can germinate them in containers, garden beds, and window boxes with loose soil.

Zinnia variants come in all sorts of spring colors. Some of them include “Big Red,” which, as the name suggests, is a fully vibrant red-colored flower. If you want a brighter option, you can go for a “Crystal White” zinnia variant with snow-white petals.

When growing zinnias, avoid overwatering. To keep a well-organized routine, you can water them early in the morning, thus giving the moisture enough time to dry by nighttime.

To maintain optimal blooming, you need to deadhead zinnias. This means cutting the old parts of the plant, and any spent blooms to give way for new growth.

Picture of a field of echinaceas used in article titled What Flowers Grow Well in Kentucky

3. Echinacea

Do you want pollinators, like bees and butterflies, visiting your garden? Then, planting a few coneflowers will certainly do the job! Echinacea, or coneflowers, are considered one of the prettiest perennials you can grow in Kentucky weather.

These flowers usually come in different shades of pink, as well as orange, yellow, or white. Echinaceas have large dark centers that are slightly yellow-tinged in the middle.

Like most other Kentucky flowers, coneflowers can tolerate heat and drought. It’s one reason why they do so well in full sun exposure.

That’s why you need to find a spot that receives around six to eight hours of sun rays each day. Otherwise, their stems might wilt and die. The best part about caring for coneflowers is that they only need a weekly watering of around one inch to keep them healthy and happy.

4. Hibiscus

Hibiscus flowers would be an exotic addition to your garden. The best hibiscus you can grow is Hibiscus trionum, also known as “flower-of-an-hour.”

Unlike their popular red alternatives, this kind of hibiscus is decorated in white petals and has a mesmerizing violet center with small yellow anthers. They can grow up to two inches from the stem.

The flower-of-an-hour can germinate in sunny, less moist conditions. You can grow them in all kinds of soil as well, such as clay, sand, and loamy soil.

This is a beautiful, no-fuss flower to grow. However, keep it contained since it can quickly become invasive from its snaky vines.

Picture of Begonia ,Begonia x semperflorens-cultorum or pink Begonia

5. Begonia

Summer usually involves some travel where you have to leave your plants behind for a few days or more. Luckily, begonias don’t mind that much because they’re hardy and versatile. Nevertheless, not all begonias have the same care routine.

A portion of varieties might prefer the shade while others thrive better outdoors. One of the most common types of begonias is the tuberous variety.

They come in an array of peachy colors like orange, yellow, and pink. Their layered petals make them look like a blooming rose. Yet, unlike roses, they prefer full to partial shade.

Tuberous begonias can grow exceptionally tall, reaching up to 12 to 18 inches high. Because of their height, it’s easy to deadhead begonias to allow for new flowers to appear, especially in spring and summer.

6. Butterfly Bush

Butterfly bushes are a summertime favorite in Kentucky. They’re cone-shaped and filled with smaller flowers that come in fun colors, like yellow, orange, and white.

You probably guessed from their name that the butterfly bush attracts butterflies. Yet, that’s not the only pollinator they attract; they’re also known to lure in bees, gnats, and hummingbirds.

These friendly blooms appear at the beginning of summer until September. They can come in large sizes that span about three to five feet. Although, other varieties like the “Pugster Pink” can grow a smaller two feet instead.

Interestingly, this type of butterfly bush might be able to withstand wintry conditions due to its strong stems. Though, similar to most hardy plants, all a butterfly bush needs are drained soil, regular watering, and full sunshine.

Picture of yellow and orange coreopsis

7. Coreopsis

Coreopsis will add a dainty but flashing element to your garden. They have small bright yellow petals with a relatively sizeable brown center. The pistil or middle part is surrounded by a flower-like brown shape as well.

Other varieties are completely yellow from the middle and outward towards the petal, called “Big Bang Full Moon.” Coreopsis is also called tickseed because its seeds resemble the shape of a tick.

These flowers spread out over an area of about two to six feet. To curb their quick spread, clip off dead flowers to make room for new ones.

You can plant them from the beginning of summer until early autumn to avoid any frost. In addition, Coreopsis needs a lot of sunshine and well-drained soil to survive.

8. Daylily

Daylilies will give you a tropical feel to the garden with their trumpet-like appearance and sunset color variations.

There are orange, pink, purple, and other color variations you can find for daylilies. That being said, their beauty is fleeting because they only bloom for one day before they wilt.

Here’s a fun fact: daylilies are a part of a deer’s diet. So, you might want to consider planting them near your house rather than on the edge of the garden.

Wherever you decide to plant them, make sure you choose a spot far from trees and other nutrient-leaching plants because daylilies need all the nourishment they can get. Full sun exposure can also promote their blooming process.

9. Petunia

Petunias are gorgeous and will liven up any garden, whether they’re in a hanging basket or an indoor pot. They come in a wide array of colors, such as purple, red, pink, and white. Petunias are small with thick petals, giving them a hexagonal shape.

One of the most gorgeous kinds of petunias is the “Supertunia Silverberry” kind. They’re white-petaled with pink and purple hues in the center.

When it comes to caring, petunias can grow in both shaded and sun-lit conditions. Their seasonal growth is usually around late spring until summer.

Unlike other plants mentioned, petunias might require a bit more care, specifically with soil choice. You might want to opt for a soil conditioner for better growth.

Where watering is concerned, petunias can live off of a couple of inches of water every week. Bear in mind, however, that some varieties, like the trailing petunias, might require more water than their compact counterparts.

Wrap Up: What Flowers Grow Well in Kentucky

Kentucky’s subtropical weather calls for heat-tolerant bloomers in your garden. With a choice of any of the flowers from above, the garden is bound to have an enticing pop of color that can attract all kinds of pollinators like butterflies and bees.

After all, nothing says picture-perfect like a garden filled with colorful flowers, buzzing bees, and a few pollinating hummingbirds. To think that all of this can all be achieved with a bit of low-maintenance gardening and just a basic knowledge of what flowers grow well in Kentucky! Amazing, right?

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