What Plants Are Good in Full Sun?

Gardening in full sun can present several challenges. The soil may dry out quickly; preventing you from growing water-loving plants. Some plants may even burn when exposed to the harsh rays of the sun. Even with this downside, sunny gardens can add value to your landscaped property. Plant native, drought-tolerant plants along with sun-loving oddities such as cacti and succulents.

Bearded Iris

Bearded irises (Iris germanica) come in a vast array of colors, color combinations and heights. They prefer full sun and well-drained soils that have plenty of organic matter tilled in. Once established, usually after their first growing season, bearded irises are drought-tolerant and can handle nearly anything nature throws at them. So not allow their rhizomes to sit in sodden ground. Bearded irises that fail to bloom are usually planted too deeply in the soil. The top of their rhizomes should remain exposed on the soil surface. Iris germanica are hardy in zones 3 through 10.


Coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata) is fast to reproduce and thrives even in the poorest of dry soils. Often included in wildlife seed mixtures for their drought tolerance and ease of care, coreopsis provides reliable food for butterflies, bees and birds in the form of nectar and seeds. C. verticillata comes in yellow and pink, and can grow up to 4 feet in height. Pinching young plants will encourage a bushier growth habit, while removing spent blooms will encourage new blossoms. C. verticillata is hardy down to zone 3.


Spirea (Spiraea japonica) is a popular sun-loving landscape shrub. This perennial is at its best in well-drained and mulched soils with several hours of daily sun. There are several varieties of S. japonica in colors that include white, pink, red and variations of these shades. Once established, spirea is drought-tolerant and can withstand much neglect. When blossoming begins to slow, shearing old blooms will encourage a new flush of flowers. Spirea roots easily from even very small cuttings. Trimmings can be stuck directly in the soil around the parent plant or placed in pots of moist sand or peat moss. The young plants are ready for their permanent homes when they have more than doubled in size. Spirea does best in zones 4 through 8.

Keywords: full sun plants, planting in sun, dry soil gardening

About this Author

Izzy McPhee has been a freelance writer since 1999. She writes about gardening, nature conservation, pond care, aquariums, child care, family, living on a budget and do-it-yourself projects. Her paintings have appeared in the well known gallery The Country Store Gallery in Austin, Texas. Her work can be seen on Suite101.com and Demand Studios.