What To Plant In Full-Sun Gardens: Annuals & Perennials

What To Plant In Full-Sun Gardens: Annuals & Perennials

Photography by Janis Nicolay


What To Plant In Full-Sun Gardens: Annuals & Perennials

If you want your full-sun garden to thrive all summer long, you need flowers that can stand up to the heat.

Here's a comprehensive guide to help you select the best annuals and perennials for the sunny spots in your garden.

Understanding Annuals and Perennials

Annuals complete their life cycle in one growing season. They sprout, bloom, produce seeds and die within the same year. Gardeners often choose annuals for their bright and continuous blooms, adding instant colour to the garden.

Perennials live for more than two years. They may die in the winter but return in the spring from the same root system. Perennials have a long-term presence and lower maintenance requirements once established.

Best Annuals for Full-Sun Areas


Marigold (Tagetes)

  • Description: Marigolds are vibrant flowers ranging in colour from yellow to deep orange.
  • Care: They are easy to grow, drought-tolerant and bloom non-stop from spring until frost.
  • Uses: Ideal for borders, containers and companion planting in vegetable gardens to deter pests.

Zinnia (Zinnia elegans)

  • Description: Zinnias come in a wide array of colours and have daisy-like blooms.
  • Care: They thrive in hot, sunny conditions and need well-drained soil.
  • Uses: Perfect for cut flower gardens, beds, and borders.

Petunia (Petunia × atkinsiana)

  • Description: Petunias offer a variety of colours and patterns, with trumpet-shaped flowers.
  • Care: They prefer full sun and well-drained soil, and regular deadheading promotes continuous blooms.
  • Uses: Suitable for hanging baskets, window boxes and garden beds.

Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)

  • Description: Known for their large, cheerful yellow blooms, sunflowers can grow to impressive heights.
  • Care: They need full sun and well-drained soil and can tolerate drought.
  • Uses: Excellent for borders, backgrounds and wildlife gardens.

Best Perennials for Full-Sun Areas


Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

  • Description: These hardy perennials feature golden-yellow petals with dark brown centres.
  • Care: They thrive in full sun and well-drained soil and are drought-resistant.
  • Uses: Great for mass plantings, borders, and attracting pollinators.

Lavender (Lavandula)

  • Description: Lavender has fragrant purple flower spikes and silver-green foliage.
  • Care: Prefers full sun and well-drained soil and is drought-tolerant once established.
  • Uses: Ideal for herb gardens, borders and as a fragrant addition to any sunny spot.

Coneflower (Echinacea)

  • Description: Coneflowers display daisy-like blooms with raised centres in shades of pink, purple and white.
  • Care: They need full sun and well-drained soil and are drought-tolerant.
  • Uses: Perfect for wildflower gardens, borders and pollinator gardens.

Daylily (Hemerocallis)

  • Description: Daylilies offer a wide range of colours and have a long blooming period.
  • Care: They are very adaptable, preferring full sun and well-drained soil.
  • Uses: Suitable for mass plantings, borders and as a low-maintenance ground cover.

Tips for Gardening in Full-Sun Areas

  • Soil Preparation: Ensure the soil is well-drained and enriched with compost or organic matter to promote healthy plant growth.
  • Watering: Even sun-loving plants need adequate water, especially during establishment. Water deeply and less frequently to encourage deep root growth.
  • Mulching: Use mulch to retain soil moisture, suppress weeds and maintain soil temperature.
  • Plant Selection: Choose a mix of annuals for quick colour and perennials for long-term structure and reliability.
  • Maintenance: Deadhead spent blooms to encourage new flowers and trim back perennials after blooming to maintain shape and health.





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What To Plant In Full-Sun Gardens: Annuals & Perennials