6 Best Plants for Northeast Ohio Weather

As an area of Northeast Ohio that can often see unpredictably hot and muggy summers, but also experience huge blankets of snow in the winter, the Akron and Canton areas have been categorized as a “hardiness zone.” This means that the plants we work with here need to be able to survive extremes in hot and cold. Northeast Ohio, in particular, has been dubbed a blend of Zone 5 and Zone 6, meaning that plants here should be able to survive in our hot and humid summer climate.

Best Zone 5/Zone 6 Plants

Photo Credit

Here are six plants that can handle our always changing Akron/Canton temperatures and climates:


Mums are gorgeous, and provide a beautiful pop of color to your landscaping, especially in the late summer and early fall. They are perfect perennials for both pots and gardens. Mums do well when planted early spring, but are such great, hearty flowers, you can also plant as late as early fall, when temperatures are still warm.

Give your mums moist, but drained soil (no standing water!), and let them enjoy a sunny spot. Depending on the mum variety, some will bloom more quickly than others, so check with your nursery or garden center to verify which type you have. Make sure to use those early-blooming mums if you plant late fall…you know how Northeast Ohio is! We never quite know when that first freeze (or final heat wave) will hit us.


Hydrangea is a remarkably versatile shrub that blooms in all shapes, colors and sizes. They can be grown in pots, or planted in your flower garden or landscaping. Unlike some of the other sun-loving plants listed here, hydrangea does love a part-sun/shade mix, so be sure to not plant these in direct sun. And be sure to have a good watering plan in place for a hot northeast Ohio summer: hydrangea thrives in a moist, fertile and well-drained soil.


Clematis is a climber that brings a delicate beauty to any landscaping. You can even train some Clematis as ground cover, and many produce incredibly beautiful, vibrantly hued flowers. Cultivating this climber is a little tricky, though, since the roots should be both moist and cool, but the crown of the flower needs full sun. Don’t worry, though, if you like to get started early on your summer planting, Clematis does well with container growth.


Is there anything better than a hot summer day and the heady smell of a Lilac shrub? It’s almost as if the shrub knows it’s a star, and thrives a little better on its own, rather than tucked away with other shrubs and landscaping. While Lilacs do well in a sticky Canton, OH climate, they do require upkeep on pruning, as well as removal of faded flowers. But the work is worth it, just so the shrub can let you know, every year, that the summer has officially begun.


The coneflower is a daisy-like prairie native that is not only hardy, but also is wildly attractive to the sort of critters every garden craves, like butterflies and gold finches. Plant coneflowers in full sun and good soil, and enjoy the many different blooming colors. These are also flowers you won’t mind if your spouse or child cuts out of the garden. Bring in an armful and enjoy the outdoors, indoors while this NE Ohio-friendly plant spreads.


This versatile shrub can grow as high as six feet tall, but also comes in compact varieties. Weigela is perfectly suited to hot Akron area summers, and enjoys both full sun and moist soil, as well as part-sun and drier soil. While Weigela does produce pretty, bell-shaped flowers, there are also varieties that display beautifully colored leaves in shades of gold and rose for a visually appealing look all summer long. As an added bonus, Weigela is a favorite of hummingbirds and easy to grow even for the most novice of gardeners.

Of course, for any of your summer plant needs in Northeast Ohio, Rice’s Nursery is here to help you! Come learn with us or visit us soon!