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Flowers That Need Morning Sun Only

A delightful purple common Columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris) flower tilting up toward the sun.
Maja Dumat, CC 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

“Morning has broken,” and the sunflowers and all morning sun plants are greeting the day with a nod to the yellow orb. The morning sun is more gentle than the afternoon blaze of heat, and certain morning sun flowers thrive in the sun’s appearance and rapidly die off when too much sun hits them.

Regardless of your hardiness zone, sun-kissed flowers have specific needs that don’t include an afternoon sunbath.

Tip

The amount of light in the morning depends on your location and climate, so your local geography will impact your choice of morning sun-loving flowers.

All plants need the sun for growth but thrive in different intensities of light. The morning sun in the Rocky Mountains differs from the morning sun in Palm Desert. This is where your knowledge of your own local geography comes into play when selecting flowers for your garden.

Always look at the label that is attached to your pot of flowers or ask an expert at the garden center for help when choosing flowers that grow in the morning sun.

Annuals That Thrive in Morning Sun

If you are new to gardening and wish to experiment with the growth pattern and look of your garden, select annuals that grow for one long season and then die off. Your second-choice category depends on when the sun hits your patch.

A lovely white bloom with red edges of the tuberous begonia (Begonia × tuberhybrida) 'Knollenbegonie.'
Maja Dumat, CC 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Most Begonias

Annuals that grow in the morning sun include most varieties of begonia, such as wax begonia (Begonia semperflorens-cultorum), angel wing begonia (Begonia angel wing), tuberous begonia (Begonia x tuberhybrida), and Rex begonia (Begonia rex).

Be selective when choosing begonias though, as some prefer the shade.

Two healthy sunflower blooms soak up the sun.
Mark König, CC, via Unsplash

Sunflowers

The sunflower is another annual that shows its face to the morning sun. Scientific evidence uncovered at the University of California, Davis and reported in Science Daily reveals that the reason they face east in the morning is to attract more bees and to aid in reproduction.

While the heads of young sunflowers rotate during the day in an effort to follow the sun, older plants remain fixed, facing the morning sun.

Vibrant pink blooms of a New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri).
Forest & Kim Starr, CC 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Caladiums, Coleus and New Guinea Impatiens

Caladiums (‌Caladium‌ spp.), Coleus (‌Coleus scutellarioides‌) and New Guinea impatiens (‌Impatiens hawkeri‌) are additional annuals that prefer morning sun and afternoon shade. The key to protecting them is to place a taller plant nearby to provide afternoon shade.

A great many pink and magenta foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) blooms.
DenesFeri, CC SA-4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Morning Sun Perennials

Perennials are the flowers that keep on giving. With the right maintenance, your flower garden reappears year after year, validating your gardening expertise.

Some perennials are shade lovers, while others prefer morning sun and afternoon shade. Choose according to your hardiness zone, soil content and ease of maintenance.

Trillium, Foxglove, Lilyturf and Hostas

Trillium, or wood lily, (‌Trillium‌ spp.) in its varied colors, foxglove (‌Digitalis purpurea‌), liriope, also called lilyturf, (‌Liriope muscari‌) and hostas (‌Hosta‌ spp.‌)‌ are just four perennials that gobble up the morning sun and then like to retreat for an afternoon nap in the shade. All add a splash of color to your garden.

Three stalks of lovely purple monkshood (Aconitum napellus) sway in the wind.
Rüdiger Kratz, CC SA-3.0, via WIkimedia Commons

Morning Sun Perennials for Colder Zones

When you have narrowed your choices down to your U.S.D.A. hardiness zone and whether you want an annual or perennial, and the sun conditions are set, your limits of flower selection have been made for you—which is good.

Monkshood, Columbine and Climbing Hydrangaea

Zone 5 is one of the colder of the U.S. designations and stretches from New Mexico to Michigan’s mainland. Monkshood (‌Aconitum napellus),‌ Columbine ‌(Aquilegia‌ spp.‌)‌ or climbing hydrangea (‌Hydrangea anomala‌) give you a good start when setting your perennial garden in a climate as cold as zone 5.

How to Choose Flowers for Morning Sun Window Boxes

  • Make sure you hang your window box facing east to absorb the morning sun.
  • Choose flowers that thrive with morning sun without needing additional sun throughout the day.
  • Choose flowers that add color, texture and fragrance to your collection and don’t be spare when planting. An overabundance of flowers is attractive.
  • Decide whether you want your flowers to be upright, drooping or a combination of both that suit your hardiness zone.

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