Plant These 15 Flowers That Look Like Fireworks This 4th of July

There’s nothing like fireworks to highlight summer nights, especially on the Fourth of July. The fun extends to the garden, where plants with showy plumes and unique shapes and forms dazzle by day. Enjoy the show with gardening expert Katherine Rowe for captivating selections that brighten and enchant the planting display.

Red Hot Poker features tall spikes adorned with tubular flowers in shades of red, orange, and yellow, resembling vibrant fireworks flowers in the garden.

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While many of us enjoy fireworks by night on the Fourth of July, we can also enjoy them by day in the summer garden. Plants with bright plumes, fountain forms, and out-of-this-world colors glimmer in the display.

Add some sizzle and fun with plant selections that offer shining colors, flower shapes, and forms, with names inspired by the illuminated displays that bring delight and surprise. We love these selections for their sparkly names and what they represent in the landscape-enchanting displays so eye-catching you’ll want to sit back and enjoy the show.

Gomphrena ‘Fireworks’

Gomphrena pulchella ‘Fireworks’ features globe-shaped clusters of small, brightly colored pink flowers resembling exploding fireworks, set against slender green foliage.
Enjoy vibrant globe amaranth blooms in various colors all summer.
botanical-name botanical name Gomphrena pulchella ‘Fireworks’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 3-4’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

Gomphrena, or globe amaranth, is an old garden favorite with petite pink, red, gold, magenta, or white flowers. Gomphrena flowers have a papery texture and cheery, perfectly globe-shaped pom-pom blooms.

‘Fireworks’ flourishes during the warm season with quick growth and tall stems with hot pink powder puffs. Each puff glows with little tips of bright yellow. ‘Fireworks’ has an airy texture and blooms more prolifically than other gomphrenas. Stems reach three to four feet tall to float above other plants. Flowers are showstopping in a mass and in floral arrangements, fresh or dried.

Gomphrena grows best in full sun and well-drained soils. It’s a tough summer annual that thrives with neglect. It withstands heat, humidity, and dry conditions and may overwinter in mild climates.

Agapanthus ‘Fireworks’

Agapanthus africanus ‘Fireworks’ displays spherical clusters of blue or white star-shaped flowers atop tall, slender stalks.
Experience summer’s floral fireworks with tall, bell-shaped blooms in varied hues.
botanical-name botanical name Agapanthus africanus ‘Fireworks’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1-2′
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-11

Agapanthus produces lovely rounded flower clusters with bell blooms that wave atop tall stems. Depending on the cultivar, flowers are blue, lavender, or white and rise above deep green, strappy leaves. 

With its wanding, airy flowers, agapanthus harkens the spectacle of plumage bursting in the air. The essence of the show is ‘Fireworks,’ with full clusters of bright white petals with violet-blue throats. The huge umbels top stems reach over two feet tall. ‘Fireworks’ earned the Royal Horticulture Society’s Award of Garden Merit for its stunning blooms and hardy performance.

Agapanthus grows best in full sun to partial shade. It’s an adaptable perennial native to southern Africa, tolerant of drought and heat. Ideal soils, though, are fertile, moist, and well-drained. In cold climates, overwinter agapanthus indoors, where it grows well as a houseplant in bright light.

Dahlia ‘American Dream’

Dahlia ‘American Dream’ showcases a large, vibrant red-pink flower with petals arranged in a uniform, slightly curved form around a central disc, tightly covered with unopened petals.
Dahlias steal the show with their spectacular, colorful blooms.
botanical-name botanical name Dahlia ‘American Dream’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 3-4’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-11

Dahlias add drama to the summertime garden as stunning specimens and showy cut flowers. Beautiful, large blooms in an array of colors and petal arrangements make them a garden standout.

‘American Dream’ is a cactus dahlia with spiky, rolled petals that flare from dense centers. The blooms are deep berry pink with red streaks. Also called spider dahlias, this cactus group features exceptional flowers in wild forms (there’s even a firework technique called the “dahlia effect!”). ‘American Dream is a dinner plate dahlia with blooms that reach nine inches across.

Dahlias grow best in full sun with evenly moist, well-drained soils. While they tolerate partial shade, full sun increases plant vigor and flowering. Give them some afternoon shade in hot regions. In colder climates, dahlias grow well as annuals. Dig tubers and store them in winter for replanting in the spring, or start with fresh plants.

Cleome ‘Sparkler Mix’

Cleome hassleriana ‘Sparkler Mix’ presents tall spikes adorned with delicate, spider-like flowers in shades of pink, white, and lavender, emerging from fern-like foliage.
Enjoy summer’s vibrant display with tall, colorful cleome blooms.
botanical-name botanical name Cleome hassleriana ‘Sparkler Mix’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2-3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Cleome pops into summer with wands of purple, pink, rose, and white bloom clusters. Delicate flowers with long stamens line tall, upright stems from early summer through frost. Narrow seed pods emerge as each flower fades.

‘Sparkler Blush’ is the first hybrid cleome and is more compact than its old-fashioned parents. This All-America Selections winner grows three feet tall by three feet wide and free-flowers for all-season color. Cleome ‘Sparkler Blush’ is pink and white, and the ‘Sparkler Mix’ combination features magenta, lavender, white, and pink blooms.

Cleome loves the sun and the heat and is a low-maintenance grower. It adapts to most soil types and tolerates drought.

Red-Hot Poker

Kniphofia uvaria showcases tall, upright flower spikes with vibrant, tubular blooms in hues ranging from red to orange and yellow, creating a striking focal point in garden landscapes.
Tall spikes of fiery blooms light up the garden from spring through fall.
botanical-name botanical name Kniphofia uvaria
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 3-4’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9

Red-hot poker glows with flowering “torches” in the late spring through fall, depending on the variety. Tall spikes of tubular, drooping flowers rise above strappy leaves, setting the scene ablaze. The red buds and blooms transition to yellow for a multi-tonal bloom appearance.

Kniphofia flowers emerge from dense clusters of tightly packed buds with a succulent appearance. ‘Rocket’s Red Glare’ boasts striking white and red blooms. ‘Backdraft’ has a showy ombre of gold to melon to orange-red, and ‘’Gold Rush’ brightens in deep yellow.

Red-hot poker’s bladed blue-green foliage mounds and spreads by rhizomes. A tough, clumping perennial, plants do best in organic soils with good aeration and drainage. They won’t survive soggy conditions. Provide plenty of sunlight (six or more hours daily) for the best vigor.

Blazing Star Liatris

Blazing Star Liatris features tall spikes covered in fluffy, purple flowers resembling bottlebrushes, ascending from a basal rosette of narrow, grass-like leaves.
Tall spikes of vibrant blooms attract pollinators throughout the summer.
botanical-name botanical name Liatris spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1-5’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Blazing star, or gayfeather, holds dense flowers in vibrant purples, pinks, and whites on tall, upright stems. Arching, fine-bladed, deep green foliage forms clumps beneath the leafy stems.

Liatris ‘Lavender Glowsticks’ has exceptionally long bloom spikes in electric lavender along narrow stems. The flowering batons thrive in the summer heat, with long-lasting color that attracts pollinators. 

Liatris are hardy perennials native to North America, from Canada to Florida, depending on the species. Once established, blazing star is cold-hardy, withstands heat, and is drought-tolerant.

Firecracker Plant

Russelia equisetiformis forms cascading branches laden with tubular, scarlet-orange flowers, against feathery, dark green foliage.
With fiery blooms and cascading foliage, they charm all year round.
botanical-name botanical name Russelia equisetiformis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2-4’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

Firecracker plant, or coral fountain, overflows with tropical color and drama, with orange-red tubular blooms dotting weeping stems. They make lovely hanging basket and container specimens, or accents along border edges and rock walls.  

Firecracker plants, with their narrow foliage and stems, lend a fine texture to planting designs. They bloom freely from spring until frost and are a magnet for hummingbirds. 

These easy-growers tolerate a variety of soil conditions, including dry and moist soils (though evenly moist soils are preferable). Where not hardy, plants overwinter indoors.

Nicotiana

Nicotiana sylvestris bears long, tubular, white flowers, set among large, velvety green leaves.
With its starry blooms and sweet scent, it captivates all season.
botanical-name botanical name Nicotiana sylvestris
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 3-5’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

Nicotiana boasts star-shaped trumpet flowers that drape and cascade in deep red, pink, lime green, and creamy white. The unique blooms dazzle from summer through frost, and their sweet fragrance attracts butterflies and other pollinators to the garden.

N. sylvestris, or giant flowering tobacco, is a big-leaf species with a tall habit with graceful white “shooting star” flowers. ‘Lime Green’ shines with creamy chartreuse flowers that complement other blooming annuals. 

For best blooming and vigor, nicotiana needs soils rich in organic matter with even moisture and good drainage. In hot summer climates, protect plants from direct afternoon sun.

‘Fireworks’ Fountain Grass

Pennisetum ‘Fireworks’ showcases burgundy-red foliage with streaks of pink and white, creating a vibrant, explosive appearance reminiscent of bursting fireworks.
Fountain grass adds vibrant color and graceful movement to gardens.
botanical-name botanical name Pennisetum ‘Fireworks’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2-2.5’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-10

Fountain grass, available in an array of height, color, and hardiness characteristics, brings fine, arching grass blades with showy plumes. It adds sway and movement to planting designs and provides a lovely textural backdrop to blooming perennials and annuals. Annual fountain grass cultivars appear in vibrant colors for long-lasting seasonal interest.

‘Fireworks’ is a purple and red fountain grass cultivar with bright red blades and green and white variegation. Fox-tail plumes are purple-red and appear mid-summer, aging to tawny for the rest of the growing season. ‘Cherry Sparkler’ is another themed selection, with bright white and green blades and deep pink tips.

Showy plumes of fountain grass persist into the fall and provide forage for songbirds. ‘Fireworks’ does not produce viable seed, an advantage among other annual fountain grasses that reseed aggressively. These are tough heat- and drought-tolerant annuals, seldom browsed by deer.

Solidago ‘Fireworks’

Solidago rugosa ‘Fireworks’ exhibits dense clusters of small, golden-yellow flowers that create a dazzling burst of color above deep green, serrated foliage.
Goldenrod bursts with bright, bee-attracting blooms from summer to fall.
botanical-name botanical name Solidago rugosa ‘Fireworks’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2.5-3.5’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-8

Solidago, or goldenrod, enlivens the landscape and provides food for pollinators with golden yellow bloom clusters from summer through fall. Most solidago are native to North America and naturalize readily in the landscape, but there are well-behaved selections to keep plants in bounds easily.

Solidago ‘Fireworks’ is a showy dwarf goldenrod that keeps a tidy form with no aggressive spreading. Arching spires of bright golden blooms pop with exciting color and texture.

To prolong flowering, deadhead spent blooms, but leave some to go to seed for the birds who find it a valuable food source. Solidago also attracts numerous bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects.

Solidago is a rugged perennial and highly tolerant of poor soils. Plants tolerate heat, humidity, and drought. ‘Fireworks’ performs best in moist, well-draining soils, though it withstands spells of dry or wet soils.

Papyrus ‘King Tut’

Cyperus papyrus presents tall, triangular stems crowned with umbrella-like tufts of fine, thread-like green foliage, resembling miniature palm trees.
Towering green umbrellas bring a striking presence to waterside gardens.
botanical-name botanical name Cyperus papyrus
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 4-6’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

Papyrus, the plant historically used to make paper, is a showy specimen in wet, boggy garden zones and planters. It blooms in tall umbrellas of grassy-green ray threads tipped with petite flower clusters – like fireworks rising above other plantings.

‘King Tut’ brings a more compact form than the straight species, which reaches 15 feet tall. ‘King Tut’ reaches six feet with multiple canes of flowering umbels.

Papyrus is an easy-care ornamental. It thrives in moist soils, ideal for edges and pots near water features.

Monarda ‘Fireball’

Monarda ‘Fireball’ displays dense, spherical clusters of bright red tubular flowers atop sturdy stems, accented by lance-shaped green leaves.
Flaring blooms in crimson and carmine light up summer gardens.
botanical-name botanical name Monarda ‘Fireball’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1-2′
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

Monarda, or bee balm, is native to the eastern U.S. and is a favorite for its outstanding blooms. Numerous hybrids offer spidery flowers in purple, pink, and red hues. Blooms with flared petals cluster on stems above minty foliage and create pops of sizzling color.

‘Fireball’ is a compact plant with large, bushy flowers in bright crimson. The plant’s small size doesn’t reduce the big bloom show from mid-summer on. ‘Cherry Pops’ is another dwarf cultivar with robust growth and a uniform habit. Prolific carmine blooms persist on sturdy stems.

Ensure plenty of air circulation for monarda and organic soils with consistent moisture. Cut back spent blooms to prolong flowering, which lasts from early summer through fall.

Frosted Explosion Grass

Panicum ‘Frosted Explosion Grass’ features airy, arching sprays of slender green blades tinged with a silvery-white hue.
Glittering plumes of seeds add sparkle to summer floral displays.
botanical-name botanical name Panicum ‘Frosted Explosion Grass’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 2-3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Frosted explosion grass boasts feathery plumes of shimmering seed heads. Multiple stems bear bunches of petite white blooms that “explode” into the showy seeds. Stems make strong, stiff, glittering canes that glimmer in the sun, adding sparkle and texture to the garden. Plumes start a creamy, silvery green with bronze tinges as they mature.

‘Frosted Explosion’ grows easily from seed to highlight the summer planting bed or cut flower garden. It makes a decorative, long-lasting “filler” specimen from summer through frost in fresh and dried floral arrangements.

Panicum ‘Frosted Explosion’ grows best in sunny garden locations. It tolerates poor soils—as long as they’re well-drained—and thrives with consistent moisture until established.

‘Hot Pops’ Ornamental Pepper

Capsicum annuum ‘Hot Pops’ showcases compact plants adorned with small, round peppers in various shades of red, orange, and yellow, creating a fiery display against glossy green foliage.
Colorful peppers bring vibrant hues and striking visual interest to gardens.
botanical-name botanical name Capsicum annuum ‘Hot Pops’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 4-5”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

Ornamental peppers offer high contrast and visual interest with shiny pops of color among dark purple and green leaves. The showy peppers range in size from long candles to rounded pearls; some are flashes of fiery color, while others are deep and near-black.

‘Hot Pops’ is a compact plant with perfectly round peppers in deep purple and yellow. Plants show multiple colors as the fruits transition between purple and yellow to orange and red. Another pepper to light up the look is ‘Candlelight,’ an All-America Selections winner with bundles of upright, slender fruits in green, orange, and red. A single plant produces more than a hundred peppers!

Ornamental peppers thrive in the summer heat, and fruiting lasts well into fall. Although ornamental peppers are technically edible, many are intensely hot and best enjoyed for their looks. 

Cuphea

Cuphea ignea presents slender, tubular red-orange flowers with dark tips, resembling miniature cigars, nestled among glossy dark green foliage.
Firecracker plant lights up gardens with its fiery, multicolored blooms from summer to fall.
botanical-name botanical name Cuphea ignea
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1-2′
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-12

Cuphea, also called giant cigar plant or firecracker plant, has tubular yellow, red, orange, and purple blooms that spark among dark green, burnished foliage. The plants have a hot glow as a result of the multicolored flowers.

Hummingbirds find cuphea irresistible, and its explosive color persists from late summer into fall for food sources and appeal when other flowers fade. The ‘Firecracker’ variety from certain retailers is a dwarf grower, reaching 10 to 14 inches tall. Other Cuphea ignea are rounded and bushy with dense stems and leaves. 

Cuphea is a rugged perennial (in zones 10-12) that thrives in heat and withstands drought. Plant it in full sun with evenly moist, well-drained soils for the best flowering. Where it is not hardy, grow cuphea in containers to overwinter indoors.

Final Thoughts

Summer is a time for sparkle and delight in the landscape. The 4th of July is a good marker for enjoying time together, appreciating garden rewards, and celebrating dazzlingly, whether marveling at illuminated skies or savoring a captivating bloom. With fiery flowers and fountainous forms, your garden will shine throughout the season.

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