Top 17 Best Full-sun Plants that will Make Your Summer Garden Flourish (Expert Recommendations)

Many plants, especially those considered to be full sun perennials, don’t thrive well in the summer because it’s just too hot.

That’s why we turned to our gardening gurus for some low-maintenance full-sun plants that still look great in the middle of summer. Some of them are:

  1. Lavender
  2. Peony
  3. Sunflower

Read our article to find out more!

Blake Harris from Vegepod North America

Lavender

Lavender has it all: looks beautiful, smells great, and grows well! This beloved plant is easy to grow in various conditions and mainly requires full sun and good drainage.

The purple blooms spruce up any garden, but the real plus is its aroma. Lavender attracts friendly pollinators, yet its high levels of linalool, a naturally found terpene, are effective at repelling insects.

Tomatoes

One of the best parts about growing plants is being able to eat them.

So enjoy ripe tomatoes from your backyard this summer by providing it a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight. Eight or more hours of sun will produce the most significant amount of tomatoes per vine.

The hardest part about growing tomatoes is keeping insects such as aphids, cutworms, or flea beetles from killing your plants. Instead of using pesticides on your next meal, consider buying a protected container garden bed like Vegepod.

These come with a porous mesh canopy that lets light, air, and rain in yet keep all pests out. Plus, the canopy creates a microclimate that increases the growth rate.

Okra

Okra is another vegetable that loves the sun and can handle the hottest summer you throw at it. It’s tasty when oven-roasted and even better when fried.

Make sure it’s warm before you plant – the soil should be at least 70 degrees. Okra enjoys the heat, but make sure to give it plenty of water (one inch per week), yet don’t overwater the plant.

It grows best in soil that drains well. The Vegepod is excellent because it has overflow holes to prevent drowning but is designed with reservoirs that allow the roots to self-water.

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Kurt Joshua from Garden Guidepost

When talking about full sun plants, there are two categories that one must understand before planting them in your garden.

These are the Perennials, which means the plant can live for 2 or more years, and the Annuals, which the name implies, are plants that live and die in 1 season.

Perennials

Dahlia

Dahlias generally thrive in Zones 8 to 11. This is because they like full sun. But, if you live in a super hot part of the country, you might want to give them a bit of afternoon shade so they can live healthier and longer.

Water sparingly during the early growing stages and begin watering regularly once they are several inches tall. They can grow year after year as long as you can keep them away from the freezing winter.

Peony

I always recommend Peonies to anyone who wants lush and exuberant flowers late in spring and early in the summer. The flowers have a spectacular fragrance which nectar is a strong attraction for ants.

Plant them in shallow holes as they are notorious for refusing to bloom if buried too deep under the soil.

Russian Sage

If you want something more laid back, then the Russian sage is perfect for you. Its lacy gray-green leaves are a joy to look at once they are fully developed sometime in mid-to late-summer.

Choose a location with hot and intense sun lest you want the plant to flop as it desperately stretches itself in search of sunlight.

Annuals:

Sunflower

This flower certainly doesn’t need introductions. If you enjoy late gratification, then the sunflower is your best friend. It also attracts plenty of birds and bees into your garden.

Ensure to plant them in a spot where they can receive the most sunlight and plant on soil well-drained to ensure healthy growth.

Lisianthus

If you love an assortment of purple, blue, lavender, and pale pink and want to admire them in massive, funnel-shaped petals, then look no further than the lisianthus.

Lisianthus love moist but never wet soil. As such, make sure to let the soil dry before watering again.

Sweet Peas

Looking for a lovely fragrant to smell for the summer? Then why not this flower which got a perfume scent named after it? Plus, its flowers with red, pink, and purple shades are also wonderful to look at.

If planting from seeds, be sure to soak the seeds first for 24 hours to help them germinate faster.

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Harry Williams from GrowReporter

Black-eyed Susan

If you like to add some color to your garden, this perennial is one of the best options, especially for newbies in gardening. Color varies from yellow to orange. Black-eyed Susan readily self-sows, and one plant can generate hundreds of seedlings.

You might want to keep this sun plant alive. Thus, there is a need to remove extra plants to provide sufficient airflow for this plant.

Although birds feast on Black-eyed Susan seed, usually before the fall season, deadheading faded blooms prevents self-sowing.

Black-eyed Susan grows across Zones: 3 to 7 and requires full sun. For the soil, it needs an average, medium moisture, well-draining soil.

Shasta daisy

This sun plant survives in dry, sunny areas, but it can also tolerate a cold snap. However, the best live, on average, dry to medium moisture, well-draining soil. Wet soil during winter could kill them.

Pro tip: Remove faded flowers to encourage reblooming. Shasta daisies grow across USDA Zones: 5 to 9 and require full sun.

Hens and chicks

If you are interested in succulents, check hens and chicks. It is called hens and chicks because it consists of parent rosettes (the hens) and tiny offspring (the chicks).

This perennial can tolerate drought and rocky or sandy soil and grows across Zones 3 to 8. Do not overwater this plant because this can cause its death.

You should remember that once a rosette blooms, it will soon die by removing these rosettes from the plant to allow the offspring plants to fill in the gap.

Willie Greer from The Product Analyst

Canna

Canna is best for plant owners or gardeners who want foliage best when placed under direct sunlight. These plants are in the family of the most colorful summer bulbs, making them very aesthetically pleasing.

It’s best to plant this during late spring or early summer, in a 15 or even warmer soil temperature.

What’s better with this is that this foliage plant isn’t that high maintenance as it can thrive with any fertilizer and isn’t prone to rust, bacterial blights, or fungal leaf spots.

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Ryan Smith from Ant & Garden Pest Control

Hibiscus

The delicate and stunning hibiscus flowers are the reason this shrub is a perfect choice to brighten your garden and add a tropical vibe to it.

All types of hibiscus enjoy the full sun the most to grow well. They require daily watering in warm environments; in a cooler climate, regulate watering and ensure you don’t overwater.

During winter, water only when the soil dries up. Ideally, pruning can be done in late summer.

Zinnia

What’s unique about zinnias is that they come in many flower shapes: buttons, domes, stars, daisies, etc.

Zinnias can grow rapidly, and they can serve as a colorful addition to your garden. However, these annuals grow best where there’s plenty of sunlight and summer heat.

They require fertile, well-drained soil, so adding organic matter and fertilizer can be beneficial. When watering, water only the roots or at ground level.

Barbi Gardiner from The Outdoor Apothecary

Daylilies

Daylilies multiply and spread every year, so one way to control them from taking over your yard is to eat them. But, did you know that every part of the daylily plant is edible?

You can cook the tender young shoots, boil the tubers as you would potatoes, or add some beautiful orange petals to a summer salad.

Daylilies grow best in full sun in well-drained, moist soil, but in my experience, they tend to be hardy, don’t require much fuss, and can tolerate most soil conditions.

Catmint

Catmint is another favorite of mine and is one of my go-to plants for tea. It has so many valuable medicinal benefits, from its ability to help relieve stress to its helpfulness in reducing digestive issues and stomach upset, diarrhea, and gas.

It may also help ease menstrual cramps and respiratory problems such as cough and congestion. In addition, catmint can grow well in poor soil conditions and can withstand drought.

Conclusion

Plants that thrive in full light do not have to be a source of concern. You should be rewarded with lovely flowers and foliage as long as you pick the right ones that flourish in your region and are heat and drought-resistant.

Also, remember to plant several varieties that bloom at different seasons so that there is always something in bloom to provide seasonal interest to your pots.

Photo of author

Jill Sandy

I am a sustainable focus gardener. I love decorating my home backyard with beautiful landscape design and creative garden care techniques I develop myself.