Selecting plants at your local nursery or garden center is a good way to find plants that do well in your area. Many plants do well throughout the United States; others need more or less heat, water, warmth or cold to thrive. Selecting plants based on light requirements is just one aspect of filling out your landscape and garden beds. Remember that the first sunlight requirement given on labels is usually the preferred amount of light for a plant.
A trailing vine with nice variegated leaves, the vinca vine is perennial in USDA Zones 7 to 10. Farther north, it does well when treated as an annual. Those grown in containers can be brought indoors for the winter or possibly protected from harsh winter temperatures. Drought tolerant and deer resistant, vinca vine is a good plant to fill in containers or add interest to beds. Vinca vine does well in full sun or dappled shade with some direct sun exposure.
Vervain is available in a wide variety of colors, heights and habits. Colors in whites and pinks to deep rose, magentas, blues or peach and heights from three to 16 inches. You can select from trailing, upright or mounding habits. Commonly sold as an annual, some species are perennial as far north as USDA Zone 3. This sun-loving flower makes spectacular displays in containers and beds and is often used for commercial displays in large containers.
This succulent will take several years to reach full height and is adaptable as a houseplant or brought indoors to overwinter. Round, needle like blue leaves and an upright mounded habit to 18 inches add interest to dry areas and mixed plantings of cacti. Slow growing serpents like full sun or some shade in the middle of the day where it is very hot. A perennial, this interesting plant is only hardy in USDA Zones 10 to 11.
Another succulent, sedum is often sold and grown as an annual. This large genus is made up of both annuals and perennials. Varying heights, colors and shapes from 2 inches to 24 inches tall, Sedum finds uses throughout the full sun landscape. Grown more for foliage than flowers, most sedum species bloom in midsummer. It requires good drainage, is drought and heat tolerant and may be perennial in USDA Zones ranging from 3 to 11, depending on variety.
A low to medium height shrub, boxwood does well in either full or lightly shaded areas. Hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 9, this shrub is perfect for a low growing hedge or as a border planting in formal gardens. It responds well to pruning and shaping and various cultivars grow from 24 to 48 inches tall. Boxwood is popular as a hedge plant that adds winter interest with its green foliage.