Try Growing These Sun Loving Annuals In The Summer

The bold, beautiful flowers of summer always put me in a happy mood.  Whether it is a beautiful flower bed, window box, container or hanging basket I just can’t get enough.   In the summer, the sun can be very strong especially if you are in the southern part of the US making the choice of what to plant challenging.

While all plants need some sun not many do well in full sun.  The best conditions are some sun and shade.  You may find it challenging to grow plants in full sun, so we thought we would share some that thrive in full sun. Get ready to enjoy the sun more than you do now!

Here is our list of 10 favorite annuals that love the full sun:



These cheery daisy-like flowers are drought and heat tolerant.  They are known for their bright yellow flowers.  They look great trailing over the side of hanging containers or window boxes as well as a border in a flower bed.  Bidens have grown in popularity as they are being incorporated in many container combos.  New varieties come in shades of orange, pink, white, and bi-color.  Once they get growing they are wide-spreading. Biden flowers bloom prolifically and do best when you regularly fertilize them with a general-purpose fertilizer.


These sun-loving flowers are one of our favorites.  You will have blooms all summer long.  They remind us of mini-petunias and are about an inch in diameter.  Calibrachoa are another container favorite and make great spillers in window boxes and hanging baskets.  They come in so many colors and bi-color we can’t even list them all.  Just know there is a color to match any color scheme you have in your garden.  There are also double-flowered varieties. To keep the plants blooming you will need to regularly fertilize them.


Cosmos will grow best in a sunny location where they can get 6-8 hours of direct sunlight. These flowers are known as an essential flower for a cottage garden.  They have feathery foliage with daisy-like flowers. The flowers come in orange, pink, red, yellow, and white.   Cosmos are easy to grow from seeds.   The plant grows 15 to 36 inches tall, depending on the variety.  They look great for the middle of an annual flower border or cutting garden.  They are “no fuss” when it comes to soil type but really like well-drained, rich soil.  Learn more about Cosmos here.


I found this plant so interesting when I saw it at a trade show.  So when I discovered it at a nursery, I knew I had to grow it.  The silver-green foliage of Silver Falls Dichondra goes well with other bright annual flowers.  There is a green version but I prefer the silver-green one.  Make sure the Silver Falls variety gets plenty of sun or the green color will be more pronounced. This versatile plant is heat tolerant, drought-tolerant, and deer resistant.   Use it as a groundcover or in your hanging baskets.  The plant looks the most beautiful trailing over a hanging container.  You can even try growing this plant indoors.


Lantana thrives in the sun and is also heat and drought tolerant.  In hot garden locations where other plants might struggle Lantana does well. This plant is great in garden beds and in warmer climates can actually turn into a low shrub. Lantana is easy to grow and will bloom all summer long.  It attracts pollinators, especially butterflies and hummingbirds.  Lantana can also be grown in containers.  The flowers come in many colors and there are many multi-color ones too. Some varieties also have variegated foliage.  Find out more about growing Lovely Lantana.


Marigolds are native to Mexico and South America and prefer being grown in a sunny garden.  These happy flowers will bloom all summer long. Marigolds come in different varieties and heights.  The African variety will grow around 3 feet tall and look terrific in the back of your flower garden.  You will also find a dwarf French variety that grows around 1-foot tall and look nice in containers.  Butterflies are a big fan of this plant.  Grow Marigolds in your vegetable garden as their nectar brings beneficial pollinators to your garden, which helps your vegetable harvest.   They also have a scent that helps repel pests.  Learn more about the different Marigolds in a previous blog post.


Petunias come in an assortment of colors from pastel to rich jewel tones.  You will also find striped or speckled varieties, single and double flowers as well as trailing ones.  These easy to grow flowers have colors and varieties for any garden.  You can grow them anywhere.  When planted in the sun and are watered regularly you will have plentiful blooms all summer long. These flowers will need to be deadheaded regularly to keep the blossoms up.  There are even some new varieties that are self-cleaning. Petunias don't like frost, although they can tolerate some cool temperatures.

If you are interested in learning about the different types of Petunias, read this article.


We can’t have a sun-loving list of annuals without including the Sunflower. Sunflowers are a big and bold annual that will put a smile on your face. This fast-growing plant is fun to watch grow especially if you have children. With its tall height, this flower will look best grown in the rear of your flower border.  If you want to grow them in containers there are dwarf varieties.  Of course, you will find Sunflowers in yellow but there are also multi-colored ones that are stunning. Plant your seeds every couple of weeks and you can have fresh Sunflowers until the first frost.

Learn more about growing Sunflowers here and check out our five favorite Sunflowers here!


Plant Verbena and you can enjoy flowers from early summer to fall.  This flower is considered a filler if you plant containers.  If you want color in your flower beds plant Verbena there.  The flowers are available in orange, purple, red, yellow, and white or bi-colored blooms.  Verbena is an enthusiastic bloomer and it is also deer-resistant and drought-tolerant.  For best blooms make sure the plant does not dry out. Water when the soil is dry. Verbena is a great selection for rock gardens or retaining walls. Newer varieties of this plant have been breed so they are self-cleaning.


Zinnia plants are easy to grow, so try growing them from seeds. These attractive daisy-like flowers come in just about every color but blue.  The flowers are loved by pollinators especially butterflies and hummingbirds.  They do not require much care and will produce flowers all summer long.  Zinnia flowers come in different sizes and shapes and make excellent cut flowers.  They make excellent cut flowers for floral arrangements.  In fact, cutting the Zinnia blooms will help you produce more blooms.

Find out more about growing Zinnias.

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