Planting & Landscaping

Planting In Full Sun

Plants that grow in full sun are the largest group of all the plants and require at least 6 to 8 hours of sun a day.

Plants have adapted to a range of different light intensities. Some require large amounts of sunlight, while others just a little sunshine.

Planting in full sun can vary depending on your climate. Full sun in the heat of Arizona or Texas and full sun in Vermont or Oregon will be very different.

Sunlight Requirements For Plants

Insufficient sunlight is often the cause of plants not doing well.  Full sun requirements mean at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day to perform well.

Plants that require partial shade or dappled shade require 3 to 4 hours.

Plants for shade will thrive with 2 hours of direct sunlight a day.

How To Measure Full Sun

To measure how much sun a part of your garden gets, start early in the morning and note the amount of sunlight in that particular space.

Keep an hourly record of whether that area is getting sun, dappled sun, or shade.

Remember that the sun changes position at different times of the year. Keep an eye on that area and map it every few weeks throughout the year. Noting the annual amount of sun each area of your garden receives will determine your plantings during the four seasons.

Can Full Sun Plants Grow In Shade

Remember to read the labels of each plant and note their sun requirements.

Some plants which prefer full sun will still grow well in partial shade for a few hours a day. They may get "leggy" looking for sun or not flower as profusely.

Full Sun Shrubs

Shrubs are woody plants with several main stems. They are distinguished from trees by their multiple stems and shorter height. Shrubs are woody medium-sized perennial.  Remember to mulch to prevent evaporation.

Lilac (Syringa)


There are many shapes and sizes of Lilacs to suit every garden. Zone 2 - 7.

Buddleia (Butterfly Bush)

Buddleia bloom from summer to fall. They are fast-growing and have masses of flowers in many colors. Zone 5 - 10.




Flowers from midsummer which attract the hummingbirds and butterflies. Zones 5 - 9.

Magnolia Stellata

Very fragrant white or pink blooms in spring on bare branches, just before the new leaves emerge. Zone 4 - 9.

Shrub Rose Bushes

Hardy, sun-loving, and low maintenance giving you summer-long color. Zone 4 - 9.


Attractive foliage and beautiful pink flowers in early summer. Zone 4 - 9.


Beautiful burgundy foliage with white flowers in early summer. Zone 2 - 7.

Full Sun Perennials

Perennials are great as they flower at different times of the year, so you can get blooms most of the year if you plant a variety. With the right mix of perennials, you will have color from spring to your first frosts.

Star Jasmine

Star Jasmine

Very fragrant white flowers with dark green foliage. Used as a groundcover and can be trained into a climber. Zones 7 - 10.

Perennial grasses

These grasses bring structure and texture into your garden and have attractive seed fronds. Depending on the variety Zones 3 - 9.



Hardy, beautiful flowering vine. Zones 9 - 10


Spikes of colorful flowers in shades of blue, pink, white, and purple. Zones 3 - 7.



Thick succulent leaves with clusters of star-shaped flowers. Zone 3 - 10.


A long-lived plant covered with flowers ranging from pink to blue. Zones 3 - 8.


Fragrant flowers are excellent for cutting. Zone 3 - 8.




A strong-scented perennial herb with grey to gray to green foliage from the mint family. Zones 5 - 9.

Oesteoporum (African Daisy)

Sometimes called Cape Daisy. Evergreen perennial making a beautiful display. Zones 9 - 11.

Osteospermum African Daisy



An all-time favorite plant that requires little water and thrives in the sun. Varieties have large to tiny blooms. Zones 10 - 11.

Echinacea (coneflower)

North American perennial in the daisy family. Coneflowers love being hot and dry. Zones 3 - 9.



Pelargoniums are from South Africa and are related to the geranium. They are frost sensitive in colder areas. Zones 9 - 12.


Native to North America and very bee-friendly. An aromatic herb with many healing properties. Zones 3 - 9.




Easy to grow perennial, also called Speedwell, which grows in clusters. Zones 3 - 11.


Common name Sea Thrift grows on cliffs and seashores. Easy to grow and bee-friendly. Zones 4 - 8.

Guara (butterfly plant)

Guara loves a dry, sunny site and very little moisture. Beautiful flowers that look like butterflies fluttering by. Zones 5 - 9.



Different varieties flower at different times. Mildew resistant. Ones 4 - 8.

Shasta Daisy

Long flower spikes and heavy bloomer. Classic white daisy flower. Zone 5 - 9.

shasta daisy

Full Sun Annuals

There are plenty of lovely annuals for the full sun to choose from. These can be grown in containers or straight into your prepared beds.


Petunias are heat tolerant and do not require a lot of water. They are tender and do well in Zones 9 - 11.




Very cheerful flashes of gold. There are tall, bushy, and tiny varieties. Zones 2 - 11.


Zinnia has a daisy-like flower that comes in a variety of colors. Zone 3 - 10.

Annual Vinca

Annual vinca is hardy and very rewarding in the garden. They come in shades of pink and white. Zone 4 - 8.

Annual Vinca



They are also known as moss rose. They are perfect for rock gardens and can tolerate drought. Zone 2 - 11.


Sweet-pea is a cool summer or mild winter climate annual that comes in a bush or climbing variety. Zone 8 - 11 in a mild winter climate.


Happy smiling sunflowers brighten up any sunny corner of your garden. Zones 2 - 11.


Sweet Alyssum

Sweet Alyssum

Sweet Alyssum grows into a sweet-smelling carpet of flowers. Very bee and buffer fly friendly. Zones up to Zone 8. It can be grown as a perennial in warm climates. Sweet Alyssum looks stunning planted between pavers in a winding path.


Tall growing self-seeding annual and very easy to grow. Zones 8 - 11.



Nasturtiums are vigorous growers and come in vine or bushy variety. They self-seed and can grow all year long in warmer climates. Zones 9 - 11.

California Poppy

Hardy annual in a range of golden yellow colors. California Poppy is the state flower of California. Zone 5 - 10.


Pansys and Violas bloom during the cool season of the year. Zones 2 - 9.


Million Bells

Also called million bells. They look like miniature petunias. Zone 9 - 11.

Annual Phlox

Native to Texas Annual Phlox is sometimes called Texas Bell. Zone 2 - 11.



Dianthus can tolerate heat as well as cooler weather in spring and fall. Zone 3 - 9

Planting in full sun


Many of the plants that grow well in full sun are also drought tolerant and easy to maintain.

Before you decide on a plant, make sure that it falls within your USDA Hardiness Zone.

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