Flowers that Not Only Survive But Thrive for this “Wannabe” Master Gardener

pink Rio Dipladenia flowers with creeping jenny

Explore hearty summer flowers good for planting in summer pots like Rio Dipladenia and other beautiful flowers to create vibrant flower pots for your deck or patio.

This post was updated throughout last summer to show you how our flowers blossomed!


I just love spring flowers but I don’t have a green thumb. You see . . . I am a “wannabe” master gardener.  This is when I miss my Dad. He became a certified master gardener late in life. He and my grandmother had green thumbs. However, with these flowers, my thumb is turning light green!

Rio Dipladenia

We discovered these flowers last summer which not only survived but thrived . . . even in the sweltering heat of Alabama! These are definitely hearty flowers for summer pots!

Why? Because they are DROUGHT RESISTANT (i.e. they survive when I forget to water them).

They are called Rio Dipladenia. We bought them at Home Depot.

The pink ones pictured below were on my Mom’s deck last summer.

The red ones pictured below were on our dock last year.

Here is a close-up of these beautiful flowers.

Neal likes red and I like pink . . . so we put red in the hanging baskets on the dock and in the erns in front of our house (perfect for 4th of July gatherings) and pink ones on our deck, where we have breakfast each morning in the spring and summer.

Here is an updated picture from early July:

Yellow Tickseed (Coreopsis Grandiflora)

These hardy yellow flowers are perennials and thus delight every year when they grow back. It is like they are saying, “Spring is here!” They resemble a daisy and add a bright splash of color.

Creeping Jenny

Another hearty flower for summer pots is creeping Jenny! Our next discovery was creeping Jenny. It is a light, bright green, and cascades over the sides of pots or erns. It is a nice finishing touch. The picture below is what I planted the other day. Soon Creeping Jenny will be cascading around all sides of the pot. I love my new friend Jenny and am thankful she is a creeper!

The picture below is an update from early July. Creeping Jenny has been creeping! Notice we have replaced our deck railing since the earlier photos.


I love zinnias . . .

orange zinnia and other flowers in bouquet

And so do bees and butterflies.

And butterflies…

They like FULL sun but must also be watered regurlarly.

Fond Memories

For many, many years I have loved zinnias. They remind me of my childhood. My parents planted an entire row of zinnias in our garden each year next to the green beans. As a child, I loved picking flowers but hated picking green beans.

My mother cut zinnias and made beautiful flower arrangements for our home. I have adopted this same practice. I love having beautiful flower arrangements in the house.

Zinnias need full sun and we have a lot of trees (i.e. shade). So Neal built this flower bed using leftover simulated stone from other DIY projects.

Check out our Zinnia garden now (early July) . . . these are also hearty flowers!

Here is another mid-summer photo.

Zinnias are perfect for flower arrangements. Check out How to Arrange Zinnias or any Fresh Flowers in a Vase (and other ideas).

Check out My Love Affair with Zinnias: From Planting to Care.


This year, we have added pretty light pink geraniums to the collection. They like full sun in the morning and light afternoon shade. We will see how these do.

We love the color; it reminds us of cotton candy.  Again, I love pink and because Neal loves me, we have more pink flowers this year.

When we planted them, they only had small blooms.

Below is an updated picture from late June. One thing I learned is to pinch off each bloom at the node when the blossom starts to die. This keeps the flowers repeatedly blooming all summer.  As summer progressed, it had more and more blooms! This was my favorite flower last summer.

To learn more about geraniums, check out Caring for Geraniums to Produce Beautiful Blooms.


And last but not least are impatiens. We planted these little beauties outside our basement apartment when we were newlyweds many years ago. Our toy poodle Jake would stop and smell them each morning. They are perfect for shady areas. We have them in small pots on the front part of our deck for that reason. And again, they are pink!

And there you have it!

Neal and I have been married for almost 35 years and it has taken us that long to figure out what flowers work for us in the hot Alabama heat. Our learning continues . . .

Since writing this post, I have learned a lot about composting so check out my post about Composting for Beginners. 

What are your favorite flowers to plant in the spring and summer?

Don’t forget to Pin this for future reference.

Pinterest pin flowers for summer

Happy Planting!!!!!


  1. Marianne on 04/16/2020 at 9:44 PM

    Beautiful! Did you plant multiple sprigs of creeping Jenny or just one sprig in a pot?

    • Suzanne on 04/17/2020 at 7:25 AM


      I just planted one creeping jenny spring in each pot (one sprig). As it grows, it will fill in the pot.

      Happy Planting!


  2. Karen on 04/17/2020 at 7:27 AM

    Thanks for sharing about drought tolerant plants. I have a black thumb too and perhaps these plants will survive me.

    • Suzanne on 04/17/2020 at 7:30 AM


      They have survived us, so I know they will survive you!
      Maybe our thumbs will turn green!

      Thanks for reading our blog!


  3. Marcie on 04/17/2020 at 7:44 PM

    I haven’t planted zinnias for years. You got me thinking about planting them this year.

    • Suzanne on 04/17/2020 at 8:54 PM

      Hey Marcie,

      I am glad to hear this! I really love Zinnias!


  4. Samantha on 04/18/2020 at 5:10 PM

    Pretty flowers!

  5. Holly on 04/19/2020 at 7:04 AM

    Good tip on creeping Jenny cause I’ve been looking for something that drapes.

    • Suzanne on 04/19/2020 at 9:57 AM

      We are glad we discovered it too!
      Thanks for reading our blog!

  6. Angela Ballard on 04/19/2020 at 5:27 PM

    Hi Suzanne, I’m Angela from a rural community in Piedmont section of our beautiful state of North Carolina. We are about 20 miles northwest of Charlotte in the country, which I love. I just came across your blog today while on Pinterest. I love everything about your blog. I too am a retired educator (25 years) but went back to work part time the last two years as a teach assistant in a private Christian school. There are so many things you have shared on your blog that I love, have in common with you or want to learn from you how to do myself. I love the chalk painting projects you have done and am very interested in trying that in the near future. I sew some, so I want to try your technique for pillow covers because I love pillows and have collected quite a few so instead of purchasing anymore I can maybe use them over by recovering as you did. I’ve never put a zipper in one but yours looked so good, I’m going to have to try it. I love flowers, especially impatients, begonias, and I planted some creeping Jenny in a couple of my pots as well. I’m going to try my hand at raised bed plantings. My husband just put together one for me yesterday and put it on legs so it wouldn’t be so hard on my back. I’m looking forward to planting this coming week. Thank you for expressing your love for the Lord. He is so good…….all the time, even during these challenging days. We are so very blessed! I sing as a soloist, in church choir, and have been a part of a Praise Team at our church. I love giving the gift of singing he has given me back to him and to encourage and comfort others. The song you shared, “It Is Well With My Soul” is a favorite of mine as well and the story behind it is so inspiring. I have sung and still sing this song at many funerals. He’s still working on me. I’m still learning, a work in progress and thankful to know that I am His and He is mine. Blessings on you and all your family. I enjoy learning more from you as you share your projects and words of wisdom from our Lord. Thanks, too for the encouraging scriptures you have shared.

    • Suzanne on 04/19/2020 at 8:47 PM

      Hey Angela,

      Your comment made my day! You must be my soul sister! I cannot thank you enough for your words of affirmation about my blog!

      I just love making or transforming things – – there is just something so rewarding about the process and the end result.

      It is always a delight to connect with others who love Jesus and cannot imagine living this earthly life without Him. ? I am still learning and growing in my faith and always will be. I am so glad to know you are active in your church. You are so blessed to have the gift of singing. I wish I had the gift of singing, but I don’t. ? However, I am learning how to play the violin. I am still terrible, but at least our cat Buddy no longer runs and hides each time I practice. ? Neal even says I am improving! My goal (maybe in 5 years) is to be able to play for family and church (in the background and not as a soloist). I love playing hymns and sing the verses in my head as I play. It is sort of becoming an extension of my quiet time.

      It is so funny you should mention raised beds because that is something on our list. Neal and I think we have finally identified a place in our yard to build some raised beds. However, I think that is a project for next year. Please let me know how your raised bed project goes for you.

      I love your beautiful state! We have visited Charlotte several times and many years ago almost moved to Clover, South Carolina, which is very close to Charlotte.

      Thanks again for connecting! I am just delighted to “meet” you digitally! Again, your sweet comments made my day!

      Blessings to you and your family during this “new normal”. May you feel the presence of Jesus each and every day!




  7. […] flowers that not only survive but thrive for this “Wannabe” master gardener. Click HERE to learn more about this flower bed Neal built for me (pictured below) and other spring and summer […]

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