Best Full-Sun Plants and Shrubs for Your Yard

Updated on April 29, 2019
jdavis88 profile image

Joseph has had a lawn and irrigation business in Florida for almost a decade and enjoys sharing his landscaping tips.

For many homeowners in the U.S., especially in the hot and sunny regions, finding plants that can handle six to eight hours of full sun and still be pretty, hardy, and easy to maintain can be a headache. Throw in the desire to have your house look at least a little different from the house next door, and shopping for plants can be a dreaded occasion. Putting a yard together can be stressful, much more so if the yard is bathed in sun all day.

Below I have listed my favorite full-sun shrubs, perennials, and annuals. These plants are perfect for full sun areas in the Southeast U.S.. They will work in other areas just as well, but be sure to check with your local nursery if you are unsure as to how well they will thrive in your location.

Shrubs for Full Sun
Shrubs for Full Sun | Source

Full-Sun Shrubs

The hardest plant in a bed to decide on, for most, is the shrub. This plant will be the backdrop to most of the color, but should provide color as well. It will probably outlast most of the plants in front of it, so you need to like it. And if it is in a full-sun area, it must be able to take the heat yet stay full and thriving. Here are my favorite "full sun" shrubs:

  • Loropetalum- These colorful shrubs have exploded in popularity over the past decade. Not only can they handle full sun or partial shade, they also provide year-round color to any space. Loropetalum come in various different heights, with some that only grow to 3-4 ft, and they also come in different flower colors and leaf size. These shrubs require a low amount of water, are very hardy, and bloom in spring and fall.
  • Juniper- Junipers have been used for years as shrubs, borders, and a basic backdrop for a colorful flower bed. Junipers come in many different sizes, shapes, and colors which make them a good choice for almost any bed. Most can handle full sun to a little shade, are drought tolerant, and give a green, bluish, or varigated color year-round. Heights for shrub varieties range from 1 ft to 8 ft.
  • Carissa Holly- Many people shy away from Holly bushes due to their "sticky" nature. Carissa Holly, though, are less aggressive, having only one point, and only grow to about 4 ft hight, making them great for a low maintenance hedge. They are evergreen, drought tolerant, and can handle full sun.
  • Indian Hawthorne- These short shrubs offer great green folliage along with pink or white spring and fall flowers. They grow to about 3.5 ft, are drought tolerant, and offer a much softer green, rounded look for a nice bed.
  • Pittosporum- With a deep green or a variegated leaf, these shrubs give a different look than most of the other shrubs. They are very hardy, drought tolerant, can take full sun and are basically hard to kill.

Full-Sun Perennials
Full-Sun Perennials | Source

Full-Sun Perennials

Although perennials are not as large and full as the shrubs listed above, they are expected to put out plenty of color and handle the heat of a full sun placement. The perennials below can handle the heat and will give color, but are, in general, less drought-tolerant than the full-sun shrubs.

  • Rudbeckia- Commonly known as 'Black Eyed Susan' these yellow perennials offer a large splash of bright color to any bed. The most popular variety is the Rudbeckia Goldstrum, but other varieties offer a twist on the great flower. Varieties range from 1 ft tall to 4 ft tall, love sun, bloom all spring and summer, and attract plenty of birds.
  • Lantana- An extremely sun tolerant plant, these plants rank just below cactus in "full sun" plants. That may be a reach, but Lantana are excellent for a full sunflower bed to give you spring to fall foliage and blooms that last most of their growing season. These plants need to be cut back every year, but are very hardy and you can count on them for color year after year. Lantana are also perfect for bringing in tons of butterflies!
  • Verbena- A good full sun plant that can be used in-ground or in planters/hanging baskets, Verbena were long seen as a weed. After having been developed to put out prettier foliage and brighter blooms, these plants are great for a low-growing, full sun perennial.
  • Daylilies- Although many of these great plants can handle full sun, be sure to get the right ones as some will not put out much foliage in full sun. These lilies will add a simple splash of foliage and color to any bed. Most Daylilies die back in the winter and will come out again once the ground warms up, so don't despair if you don't see them prior to April.
  • Echinacea- Known more commonly as Purple Coneflower, these are perfect to counter a bright yellow Rudbeckia with a dark, smooth purple. The Echinacea puts out plenty of color on flower stalks throughout the summer. Place these in the area that gets a little afternoon shade as they can get a little too hot in the afternoon.

Purple Petunia
Purple Petunia

Full-Sun Annuals

The most colorful and eye-catching part of any flower bed or landscaping area is typically the annual. These plants are flashy and take way too much effort to be dried out and dead within a couple days. Many warm weather annuals can take full or mostly sun, but few will take it as well as the annuals below while giving as much beauty. Some of these plants will come back a year later, but due to their inconsistency at returning, they are listed here. Also, be sure to know the water needs of each of these, as smaller plants means less water holding capacity.

  • Bronzeleaf Begonias- With oddly rounded leaves, shiny coatings, and different looking blooms (pink, white, and red), Begonias are a great addition to any bed. They grow to 6-8" and provide a good change of pace. Be sure to get Bronzeleaf variety for full sun, however, as the other Begonias will leave you with a sad looking bed.
  • Gerber Daisy- Not many full sun annuals have such a fun and pretty look as a Gerber Daisy. These annuals come in many different colors and add pretty green foliage and splashes of bright color all over a full sun bed. They prefer a drier bed than most and grow to 8-10".
  • Geraniums- These annuals provide large tufts of blooms that range in color from all shades of red to even purple. Geraniums are one of the larger annuals and grow to almost 18". They also do very well in containers such as hanging baskets.
  • Zinnias- With a growing height of 12-18", these colorful annuals put out a large flashy bloom, similar in vibrance to the Gerber Daisy. Their seeds will fall and usually bring back some blooms the following year. Zinnias are good at handling a dry area and have a very long blooming season, typically from mid-spring to the first frost.
  • Pentas- Some Pentas are sold as perennials, but those varieties are typically a taller version with less color to foliage ratio. These flowers grow to about 18", are very heat tolerant, and are great for attracting butterflies.
  • Marigolds- A favorite of many ladies in the South, this flower has a very distinct smell, has poofy blooms that resemble a carnation, and provide orange flowers all summer. Marigolds are great for dry areas and do not do as well in wet beds. Good draining soil is a must.
  • Petunias (Wave)- For full sun areas and hanging baskets, few annuals can provide as much flashy color as the Petunia. This particular variety is more of a trailing type and spread their beauty all over the flower bed. They grow 5-6" high but spread for over 18" when well maintained.
  • Vincas- This extremely hardy annual love the hot sun. It prefers good drainage and handles drought well. These annuals will come back in areas that they like. They grow just over a foot tall and provide shiny green foliage along with white, purple, pink, red, and peach blooms.

What Kind of Yard Do You Have?

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)