Which Plants Thrive in Sun?

Your landscape probably offers various types of light, such as full sun, partial shade/sun, dappled shade and deep, full shade. Plants can often take partial shade or partial sun easier than they can full shade or full sun. Heat-hardy plants are those that can tolerate full sun--most fruit-bearing plants fall into this category. Before choosing your planting location, make sure to check your particular cultivar to see if it can withstand full sun. A list of some plants that thrive in the sun follows.


The pineapple plant is from the bromeliad family, the commercial pineapple you'd find at the produce section in your local supermarket. This easy-to-grow perennial has spiny-edged, stiff, dark-green leaves. Flowers are purple and bloom in the summer. Fruits are juicy, fleshy and edible. This plant is grown in full sun for the fruit, but will tolerate other lighting conditions. Propagate this plant via offsets (short runners underground that can be separated to produce more plants). USDA hardiness zones are 10 to 12.

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is from the mint family. This butterfly-attracting perennial is also called "balm." Its light-green, hairy leaves give the lemon balm its fragrant scent. Flowers are ½-inch wide, bloom in the summer, and are yellow initially and then turn purple. This plant needs full sun and must be grown in soil that has good drainage. Propagate via root mass division or by seed. USDA hardiness zones are 3 to 9.

Variegated Shell Ginger

The variegated shell ginger plant, also called a pink porcelain lily, is from the ginger family. It is a fast-growing perennial that will grow approximately 6 feet tall. Leaves are variegated, and flowers are white and pink and resemble shells. Ginger should be grown in light shade to full sun in moist soil that has good drainage. Propagate via seed, clump division or rhizome pieces. USDA hardiness zones are 8 to 12.

Swamp Sunflower

Swamp sunflower, also called narrow-leaved sunflower, is from the aster/daisy family. The butterfly-attracting perennial will grow approximately 6 feet tall. The plant has rough leaves, and its blooms are yellow and 2 to 3 inches in diameter. It will bloom from summer until fall. Grow this plant in full sun in a moist soil with good drainage. Propagate by root mass division or by seed. USDA hardiness zones are 6 to 9.


Coriander/Cilantro is from the carrot family and is also known as Arab parsley. Both coriander (the seed) and cilantro (the leaves) are spices widely used in the kitchen. The plant will grow 2 to 3 feet tall and up to 2 feet wide. Leaves are lobed and flowers are small, white or pink clusters. This plant is very adaptable and thus can be planted in any type of soil. It should receive full sun or partial shade. Propagate via seed. USDA hardiness zones are 9 to 11.

Keywords: full sun, heat hardy plants, full sun plants

About this Author

Tina Samuels has been a full-time freelance writer for more than 10 years, concentrating on health and gardening topics, and a writer for 20 years. She has written for "Arthritis Today," "Alabama Living," and "Mature Years," as well as online content. She has one book, “A Georgia Native Plant Guide,” offered through Mercer University; others are in development.