Outdoor Plants That Like Direct Sunlight

Outdoor Plants That Like Direct Sunlight

As the early summer approaches, you will want to keep your favorite shade-loving plants inside for a proper sun cover. However, why should you give up on having outdoor plants and flowers when there are so many species that thrive in full sun?

Outdoor plants that like direct sunlight include full sun perennials like lavender, coneflower, artemisia, and mini roses, along with annual flowers like sunflower, petunia, and marigold

However, these are just the tip of the iceberg, since there are also large outdoor plants that like direct sunlight including palms and trees like a banana plant colocasia, ponytail palm, and snake plant. So, without further delay, let’s see what you should consider when dealing with full sun plants for your own yard.

Things To Consider With Direct Sunlight Plants

Before you set out to enrich your garden with plants and flowers that will thrive in full sun, there are a few things to keep in mind. First off, some species like the sun slightly more than others and might need 8 to 10 sunny hours per day, while some annuals need just about 5 or 6 hours of sun a day.

So, species like Sunflower will require at least 8 sunny hours each day, while others like Lavender only need 5 or 6 sunny hours to thrive. Based on this, you can adjust the location of each plant in your garden, and provide a slight bit of coverage for those that don’t need so many sunny hours.

Sun-loving plants are also drought-tolerant, but you should make sure that you’ve chosen the right plant before fully exposing it to the sun. Some of the negative consequences that could occur are dry leaves and producing reactive oxygen. In the case of them being overly exposed to the sun, chlorophyll molecules will produce too much reactive oxygen and absorb more energy than the molecules are able to take in.

Because of this, the leaves might dehydrate and dry out, and absorbing too much sunlight might kill the plant due to too much oxygen released. Still, it all depends on the tolerance of specific plants and flowers, and we’ll discuss the most resilient ones that thrive all summer long.

Plant Species Best For A Sun Garden

As we build our way towards the best sun-loving plants to grow, you’ll first need to know about the species with the highest rate of success:

  • Perennial plants
  • Annual flowers
  • Outdoor hanging plants
  • Palms and small trees

With a growing season that extends throughout the summer, your garden will be as colorful as it can be and we’ll lead you through the exact members of these plant groups.

Full Sun Perennials

There are two amazing things about the perennials – they mostly don’t mind basking in the sun, and you’ll get beautiful blooms every season with minimum effort. You won’t need much maintenance and your garden will get a whole new look.

Most of these flowers can be grown in containers Opens in a new tab.and you should just be careful when choosing drought-tolerant perennials. There are several colorful picks you can make including:

  1. Lavender 
  2. Artemisia
  3. Coneflower
  4. Shasta Daisy
  5. Lamb’s Ear
  6. Daylily
  7. Black-eyed Susan
  8. Summer Snapdragon

Growing Lavender In The Sun

Most perennials will demand at least 5 or 6 hours of direct sunlight and the same goes for lavender. It’s best to plant it from seeds in the early spring when you can work the soil and it even goes through dormancy when the fall comes.

So, it’s a sun-loving perennial that provides a beautiful scent for your garden that requires just some slight pruning in the woody section to maintain a beautiful appearance.

Artemisia – Bushy Summer Plant Like Lavender

If you are looking for a perfect companion for your lavender bushes to keep in the same flower bedOpens in a new tab., artemisia species are the best ones. You can choose from different varieties like mugwort, wormwood, and sagebrush.

Artemisia plants can take severe drought and are among the best plants to grow in full sun. Moreover, they blend in perfectly into container gardens or flower beds and the best part is – they even grow in dry soil types. Most species can even handle partial shade, so you don’t have to worry about them dying down when colder weather arrives.

Growing Coneflower In Full Sun

Coneflower is another beautiful perennial you can grow straight in the full sun. They need at least 6 sunny hours a day and come in large color varieties. Purple coneflower might be one of the best exotic-looking picks.

It brings joyful purple blooms that make your garden more colorful and you can mix them up with white flowers and red coneflowers for getting colorful blooms at the same time. It’s also a great pick of a full sun plant if you want to encourage re-blooming as coneflower blooms through the entire summer season, ending in September.

Sun-Loving Shasta Daisies 

In a pH-neutral soil, Shasta daisies can really thrive and they prefer sunlight-rich zones. To get some more blooms in your garden, seeding or transplanting these daisies in the full sun is the best way to do it.

To prevent ending up with rotten roots, plant these in well-drained soil as this is where the flower can advance the quickest.


Lamb’s Ear

Planting Lamb’s Ear in the full sun can be beneficial for growth, but you should be careful not to let the leaves dry out too much. With the hotter and dry summer, they’ll require more watering to keep the leaves moisturized.

Lamb’s Ear might not be as attractive as the pretty flowers we’ve discussed so far, but they are great for edging and require little attention. Other than constant watering due to the natural environment of the plant, you won’t need any specific fertilizers to keep your plant happy.

Daylily – A Beautiful Summer Flower

One of the most beautiful perennial flowers is daylilies. They are especially attractive and not just to us, since a daylily flower attracts hummingbirds as well. Daylilies come in bright colors and require low maintenance with almost similar thriving in zones 3 to 9.


A Beautiful Bud Of An Orange Daylily Flower
A Beautiful Bud Of An Orange Daylily Flower


They bloom through the mid-summer and need at least 6 sunny hours per day. With just a simple yearly compost addition, there will be no specific need in terms of fertilizer for these flowers to grow.

Black-Eyed Susan

Black-Eyed Susan will thrive in full sun as long as it has rich and well-drained soil and can get more than 6 sunny hours per day. As a full sun perennial, these flowers need moist and warm soil, and they won’t bloom as well in partial shade.

So, it’s a safe bet to plant these if you are looking for a resilient flower for your summer garden. It’s also possible to plant them in late spring, and they will bloom in the summer and the fall of a second season.

Summer Snapdragon 

One of the favorite full sun perennials of many gardeners is the Summer Snapdragon. They consist of flower spikes that can spread to be up to 8 or 10 inches long. They bloom throughout the whole summer, making them perfect full sun plants for your garden.

Each flower is beautiful on its own and the plant as a whole with lots of small flowers leaves a stunning impression. Like many plants on this list, this plant will need at least 6 sunny hours per day. it’s also necessary to plant them in moist and warm soil.

Full Sun Annuals 

Sadly, unlike perennials, the full sun annual flowers will bloom for just one season and then end their life cycle. Still, you can make the most out of that time if you choose them for your summer garden.

These flowers are mostly heat-tolerant, but you should still be careful when placing them in your garden as some can bare sunlight better than others. Here are the most beautiful flowers among annuals you can place in your summer garden:

  • Petunia
  • Sweet Pea
  • Calibrachoa
  • Marigold
  • Sunflower

Growing Full Sun Petunias

A way to enrich your full-sun garden is with annuals like petunias. If you’re short on patience these flowers are great with low maintenance while still producing beautiful blooms. Among the full-sun flowers, petunias are among the most demanding ones and a whole day of sunlight doesn’t bother them a bit.

In fact, they will achieve higher bloom when set in full sunlight. They do require soil conditioning, and you might need to use liquid fertilizer later on in the summer season. For spreading petunias, you need to water the plant regularly regardless of its sun resilience.

Sweet Pees In The Summer

Due to their flashy colors, sweet peas will attract bees and will bring joy to your summer garden. From purple and red shades to blue variants and even white flowers, your garden can get a new sensation.

They bloom mostly in late summer and are quite low maintenance. You might only need to add a nutrient mix with more Phosphorus than Nitrogen if you want to enhance the blooms even further.

Growing Calibrachoa In Summer

One plant that might stand out from the group is Calibrachoa with tiny flowers that bloom throughout the summer season. The red variations almost seem like mini roses, and the colorful variants spread to yellow, pink, orange, and white.

Butterflies love calibrachoa and so will you due to their simple needs. Placing them in a container with drained soil is just about all you need to do. They bring some of the most diverse flower colors to your garden.

Marigold – The Pinnacle of Sun Annuals

There’s no doubt that marigolds are the most beautiful full-sun annual flowers. Their orange variants and crown-like flowers are breathtaking and they need quite a bit of sun – at least 8 hours per day.

They require pH-neutral soil and bloom all the way to the fall season. One thing to keep in mind is that even if you encounter dying blossoms, you can remove them and the plant will keep on growing.


Perhaps the most logical choice of a full sun plant is the sunflower. They are known for rotating towards the sun and prefer 8 sunny hours a day. 

While a few of the unique caring instructions can sometimes turn off gardeners from adding these into their summer garden, we think they’re quite easy to maintain and something you shouldn’t be afraid of.

Mainly, there are a few things to keep in mind when the plant is young and in its early growth phase.

It’s only necessary to water the plants near the root zone. This is just during the beginning of their growth, and advanced plants need large amounts of water to establish spread roots. 

Also, you might need to support the flower heads with stakes before they fully develop

Once the flowers start appearing and gaining weight, you should use the stakes and high potassium fertilizer to entice the growth even more. 

Still, they are also great for keeping in your garden, since you only need to water them about one or two times per week once they’re established.

Outdoor Hanging Plants

Beautiful Spider Plant Hanging
Beautiful Spider Plant Hanging

Don’t just focus on your planted garden flowers when there are so many flowers that grow well in a hanging basket while exposed to the sun. While some of the plants you can keep in hanging baskets are annuals like petunia and calibrachoa, there are other color options as well.

Outdoor hanging plants that like direct sunlight include:

  • Spider plant
  • Black-eyed Susan vine
  • Scaevola
  • Begonias
  • Sweet alyssum

Caring For Hanging Plants In The Sun

While many flowers like petunias can be placed in baskets, you’ll need to frequently water them to ensure the soil isn’t completely dry. You should also be adding a fertilizer mix every few weeks just to make sure they get the right nutrients.

Spider plant, for instance, is most well-known as an indoor plant but will make a beautiful hanging addition due to its texture outside.

Sweet alyssum also requires minimum effort, while it blooms beautifully even in late spring. Tiny flowers and picks like Spider Plant make the most exciting-looking choices for full sun hanging plants.

Palms And Small Trees – An Exotic Addition

To finalize the list with some plant types that don’t mind even getting some afternoon shade, we’ll mention palms and small trees. 

As for the palms, you can try growing Majesty Palm or Sago Palm that’s not really a member of this niche. It still resembles a small palm tree and develops perfectly in sunlight. You will also need to provide a few hours of cover for their leaves not to burn in case the weather is too hot.

Other large outdoor plants that like direct sunlight include Dwarf banana trees and Citrus trees. These thrive well in full sunlight and you might just get your new favorite plant among one of these species!

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, you don’t need only flowering plants to make a rich and colorful garden in sunny areas. With at least 6 hours of sunlight per day, you can grow anything ranging from small trees to beautiful annuals and perennials that will bloom for a couple of seasons.

Why settle for only flowers when you can also plant a small palm tree and watch it grow into your new outdoor favorite? Use our guide to get the best ideas on sturdy plants that thrive in major sunlight.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

What plants grow best in full sun?

You can choose from flowers that bloom annually, to perennials and even smaller palm trees that thrive in the summer under frequent sunlight supply.

What potted flowers do well in full sunlight?

This type of flower often includes Petunias, Marigolds, and even Sunflowers as some of the most popular ones.

Which flowers bloom through the sun season?

With Black-eyed Susan, Coneflower, and Marigold flowers, you will have a colorful layout in front of the house through the entire summer season.

Are there plants that thrive in the afternoon sun?

Some plants like Shasta daisy, Daylillies, Petunias and Sunflower thrive best during the lower-density sun rays that appear in the afternoon.

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