Best-Looking Plants in my July Garden



I’m in the mood to post photos of the plants that are doing the best in my garden right now, starting with these sun-tolerant Coleuses (with one ‘Rubrum’ Pennisetum  in the mix). They were stars in these pots last year, so I’m sticking with them.


One more.


‘City Lights’ and ‘Earth Angel’ in their third season, with ‘Ice Dance’ Carex and an unidentified Hellebore.


Unidentified Pulmonaria with ‘Ogon’ Spirea and Oakleaf Hydrangea.


‘Husker Red’ Penstemon, ‘Frosted Violet’ Heuchera, Sedum takesimense and Echinacea purpurea are all blooming now.


I like my Black-eyed Susans massed, and they’re very accommodating.


‘Little Joe’ Eupatoriums are the most robust of all the plants I’m trying in a new pollinator garden.


ALL my visitors comment on this plant – ‘Blazin” Iresine. Who needs blooms with foliage like this?  I’ve cut them back about two feet.

And you’ve already seen my ferns.

So what are YOUR best plants in July? 

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Susan Harris

Susan’s a garden writer, teacher and activist in the Washington, D.C. area. Co-founder of GardenRant, she also wrote for national gardening magazines and independent garden centers before retiring in 2014. Now she has time for these projects:

  • Founding and now managing the pro-science educational nonprofit GOOD GARDENING VIDEOS that finds and promotes the best videos on YouTube for teaching people to garden.
  • Creating and managing DC GARDENS, the nonprofit campaign to promote the public gardens of the Washington, D.C. area, and gardening by locals.
  • Creating and editing the community website GREENBELT ONLINE to serve her adopted hometown of Greenbelt, Maryland (a “New Deal Utopia” founded in 1937).

Contact Susan via email or by leaving a comment here.

Photo by Stephen Brown.


  1. Oh my gosh! How gorgeous! You’ve got the superb designer eye for sure, I’m going to do those sun coleus next year for sure. And your Black-Eyed Susans: wish I could do them like many can in Texas. My soil defies them every time. But what a kick that they grow “up north” and of course, you must have them for their name!

  2. Love the sun tolerant coleus. I would like to find those next year.
    My biggest hit every year is pineapple sage. I buy little 3″ plants in the spring, and now they are 3 ‘ bushes, with beautiful fragrant foliage. In Aug-Sept. they are covered in red tubular flowers – welcome hummingbirds.
    . In fact, several salvias and agastaches are rocking now…and the sunflowers and wild mullein are a big hit with the goldfinches. It’s a great year in the garden, isn’t it?

  3. I too have enjoyed experimenting w sun coleus, and being in Maryland as well, love the splashes of color from batches of Black-eyed Susans and other cone flowers. But my star is Limelight Hydrangea. We have five that are now close to being an eight foot high hedge,! We planted the six years ago.. We also have Limelight trees defining various entrance areas in our gardens.

  4. I have the shade coleus and they are doing tremendous. They all started from last year cuttings that were grown all winter in my office. If you have a good sunny window for the winter take a few cuttings and just plant yours in a container. They are so easy to grow from cuttings. No rooting hormone needed. Then in spring take more cuttings and quadruple your stock.

  5. Your coleus look great! My best flowers right now are my white “David” phlox. They just keep going and going despite temperatures in the 90s (Zone 7). So fresh and white against their backdrop of evergreen azaleas.

  6. Love them all. Sun coleus are great because they will take sun to shade. My favorite at home is ‘Mainstreet Riverwalk’ which comes from the University of Florida breeding program. It is lime green with yellow veins and really lights up the yard. I’ve never tried the ‘Blazin’ Lime’ Iresine. Now that I’ve seen yours I’ll have to try it. BTW, I don’t see any ‘Husker Red’ penstemon in your photo with the sedum and Echinacea. There is a blooming Heuchera in the lower left, however.

  7. Most people would probably say my lilies are the best, and they are wonderful, but my blue leaved rhododendrons (R. oreotrephes, R. cinnabarinum, and R campanulatum) are quietly beautiful. As is the Fuchsia ‘Steel and Stars’, another silver leaved plant.

    • We do have to explain that to the uninitiated. I expect that I’ll see some along the road to Half Moon Bay, CA, next week.

  8. I have 6 Lilium ‘Gold Band’ in the front garden that are dominating the show right now, both visually and fragrantly. Several other lilies are also blooming, but that one is the most amazing. Daylilies are also at peak bloom, and Clematis ‘Purpurea Plena Elegans’. In my red border, Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ is blooming along with several red daylilies amid the foliage of Penstemon ‘Mystica’ and Rhus ‘Tiger Eyes’. And all the echinaceas, Karl Forester grass, blue sea holly, liatris and Shasta daisies are blooming together out by the road.

  9. I think that ‘Blazin” Iresine is a plant describing group choreography–just look at the movement in that plant!

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