Plants for a West-Facing Garden
A west-facing garden bed is a special challenge. It does not get sun all day, but the sun it does get can be unbearably hot, causing some flowers and other garden plants to fade and wilt. Plant hot-weather-loving, tropical-like plants in a west-facing garden bed for the best results.
Stately giants of the garden, sunflowers (Helianthus annus) have been extensively hybridized, and varieties are available in all sizes, from 12 inches to 12 feet. The range of colors is in the warm family: all shades of yellow, gold, rust, maroon and even cream. Their prominent centers produce edible seeds that birds and squirrels find irresistible. Because they turn their faces to follow the path of the sun across the sky, sunflowers will face front and center late in the day in a west-facing garden.
A tender tropical vine, bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spp.) thrives in hot locations, including a west-facing garden. For best results, ensure your garden also receives some sun earlier in the afternoon; bougainvilleas really love the heat. Provide a support on which this flowering vine can climb. It is not uncommon for bougainvillea vines to grow to 15 feet in a single growing season. Its flowers are most often reddish-pink, but varieties with light pink or whitish flowers are also available.
The garden vegetable that loves heat the most, hot peppers (Capsicum annuum) will thrive in a west-facing garden, especially if they're planted against a stone, brick or concrete wall that reflects the heat. Peppers are native to Central and South America and tolerate the intense heat of a harsh western exposure without reducing their yields. Counter intuitively, hot peppers will not need extra moisture if sited in a west-facing garden and will produce fewer peppers if over watered.