As we head into the warmer summer temperatures, gardening under these conditions can be a challenge. Not all plants can take the blistering heat especially the summer sun. We have put together a list of our favorite plants that will thrive in the sun. They look good in the spring, summer, and fall. These selections come in a variety of colors and will be great in containers or added to a flower bed. Their blooms look striking in the sunshine.
Here are 10 plants that are perfect for the sunnyside of your garden:
Angelonia – Angelonia is a tender perennial that can take the heat and humidity of summer. There are many different varieties to choose from including dwarf ones which are best for containers. One of the most popular is Serena. Serena Purple stands up to the summer heat all season long. Angelonia comes in many colors including blue, pink, purple, red, and white with blooms lasting from spring through fall. It grows 1 to 3 feet tall. When planting these beautiful flowers make sure it is sunny and there is lots of airflow. The plant will not produce flowers if it is in the shade. It is drought tolerant too.
Calibrachoa – Calibrachoa looks like a tiny petunia. It is one of our favorite annual flowers and a prolific bloomer. It is also known as ‘Million Bells’. Each year it is difficult to decide which colors to buy. It is fast-growing and looks wonderful cascading out of containers as well as in-ground. The flowers come in bright, cheerful colors, bi-colors, and double flowers. This plant was first introduced in the 1990s, so it is fairly new to the flower world. The flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds. The only thing this plant will demand of you is to be planted in the sun, they need about 6 hours of sun a day. Although they tolerate some shade; if they don’t get enough sun, you will not see as many blooms.
Hens & Chicks – Hens & Chicks are an increasingly popular plant and also known as Sempervivum. This low-maintenance plant is a succulent and can tolerate a wide array of growing conditions including hot, dry, and rocky soils. The main plant, known as the hen, has fleshy leaves with pointed tips and can be topped by a stalk of star-shaped flowers. Once the flowering finishes the hen dies but new plants are produced around the base of the hen, and these are known as the chicks. Hens and Chicks are useful as a groundcover, bedding plant, or even in a container. Hens & Chicks add color and texture to any garden.
Lantana – Lantana is great for those hot, dry spots in your garden. It is also known as shrub verbena. It is considered an annual in the northern parts of the US and an evergreen shrub or groundcover in frost-free parts of the country. Lantana’s flower clusters are a mix of vibrant colors including orange, purple, pink, red, white, and yellow florets. The foliage on the plant is blue/green or chartreuse/gold. The plant spreads and thrives in the full sun, needing at least 6 to 8 hours of full sun a day. The plant is easy to grow and attracts pollinators.
Liatris – Liatris also goes by the name Blazing Star or Gay Feather. This native American perennial generates tall spikes of purple or white feathery flower plumes. Liatris is a great addition to a perennial garden as it provides a vertical contrast in the garden. The flowers are especially attractive to bees, butterflies, and other insects. They make great cut flowers, for both fresh and dried arrangements. Plant Liatris in full sun and well-drained soil. It presents best when grown in full sun but will tolerate some light shade. Once established, Liatris is fairly drought tolerant.
Petunia – Petunias are one of the most popular annuals that you will find in a garden. These pretty flowers will add massive color to your garden and containers. The plant will add tons of trumpet-shaped blooms all season long with a variety of colors and patterns and even come in single or double flowers. There are two different types of petunias. Grandiflora are bred for large blooms and Multiflora are bred to produce many smaller blooms. They come in just about any color imaginable. Petunias will need regular watering and feeding and need full sun for at least 6 hours. A little afternoon shade will help with their blooming and keeping them looking fresh.
Princess Flower – Princess Flower is native to Brazil and has a beautiful tropical look. It is an evergreen shrub with exotic deep-purple flowers that bloom all summer long. It makes a great hedge or screen and looks beautiful on a patio or as a poolside accent. Princess Flower needs at least 5 hours of sun a day. In frost-free zones, it is fast growing. It prefers to be planted in a sheltered area. The plant can grow 10-20 feet tall and 6-10 feet wide. This sun lover needs moist, well-drained soil. The evergreen shrub blooms on the previous or current year’s growth and will need a little pruning. It is hardy for zones 9-11. In cold areas, it can be grown in a container and then moved indoors as a houseplant in colder locations.
Salvia - Salvia is part of the mint family and is also known as Sage. Ancient Greeks and Romans used the plant as a memory enhancer. Salvia comes from the Latin “salvere”, which means “to heal” and is known for its healing properties. There are more than 900 species of Salvia, and many are tender perennials or annuals in locations that are not winter hardy. The flowers on Salvia come in a variety of shapes, fragrances, and colors. The many colors of Salvia include blue, green, pink, purple, red, salmon, white, and yellow. Hummingbirds love the tubular shape of the flowers. The plant blooms for a long time and grows well in hot, dry, and sunny locations. Salvia can be planted after the danger of frost has passed in the spring. The plant needs well-drained soil. Remove dead flowers to promote more blooms. In the spring, wait until new growth appears to remove old stems. Tender perennials can be divided every few years in the early spring. Hardiness zones 5 – 9.
Scaevola - Scaevola is a sun-loving annual flower that also goes by the name fan flower. It will grow 8 – 12 inches tall. The tiny petals of this delicate flower are arranged in a fanlike design. Each flower has 5 petals, and the flowers grow in clusters around the stems. They are found in blue, pink, purple, and white. The foliage has small bright-green oval leaves with toothed edges. Scaevola is an Australian plant that is heat tolerant and has almost no insect or disease problems. The plant does not need to be deadheaded. It is ideal for window boxes, hanging baskets, and containers as well as flower beds. Grow Scaevola plants in a location that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily in well-drained garden soil. It is drought tolerant and a great selection for low-water gardening. The plant attracts bees and butterflies as well as other pollinating insects. It is also deer resistant.
Yarrow – Yarrow is also known as Achillea and is an easy-to-grow perennial that can tolerate a wide array of growing conditions. It does well in cold winters and hot humid summers. The plant tolerates wind, heat, and drought and while the most well-known color is yellow the last decade has seen the introduction of a variety of colors including red, pink, and purple. The foliage on the plant is fern-like. It also makes a great cut flower and is used in dried floral arrangements. Yarrow attracts pollinators and is particularly popular with butterflies. It grows in garden zones 3 through 9 and blooms from June through September.
Let us know your favorite sun-loving flowers.