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Good Plants for Full Sun

By Michael Logan ; Updated September 21, 2017

Full sun is defined as a site that receives eight or more hours of direct sunlight every day during the growing season, according to the Pennsylvania Nurseryman's Association. Select plants that prefer full sun, rather than just tolerate it, for best results. Your full sun garden will be hot in the summer and warm in the spring and fall. If you have a sunny border or area that seems to fry other plants, choose sun-loving plants that will bask in full sun.


The snapdragon is a native of Southern Europe that grows to 2 feet tall. Generally grown as an annual, it is a half-hardy perennial in USDA hardiness zones 8 through 10. Providing flowers from early summer until frost, the snapdragon blooms in light pastels, and brilliant oranges and reds. This popular flower is a staple of many border gardens and loves full sunlight.

Rock Cress

Rock cress is a tiny, almost diminutive perennial flower, hardy in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 9, depending on variety. It spreads outward, forming mats of flowers scarcely 6 inches tall. Useful mainly in a rock garden or as wall edging, the tiny flowers form a carpet of color in early spring. Better suited to drier climates, rock cress may rot where the summers are hot and humid. Common colors are white and pink.


Abelia, a smallish shrub, does best in USDA zones 6 to 8. The mounding habit, variegated leaf color and white blooms in spring make this an ideal plant for the border garden. Some species reach a maximum growth of 4 feet, but 2 to 3 feet is more common. Plant abelia in groups, in a row or as a specimen.

Butterfly Bush

Butterfly bush has an upright or mounding habit and grows to 48 to 60 inches tall and can spread just as wide. This heat- and drought-tolerant plant attracts birds and butterflies with its blooms of white, lavender, pink and purple in summer and early fall. Deer find the butterfly bush unappealing, making it a good choice for many environments.


An annual in most zones, nemesia forms a mound or clump 10 to 12 inches across and high. An excellent plant for containers, trailers will hang down as far as 3 feet. A wide variety of colors including white, deep red, purples, pinks and everything in between make this plant popular in hanging baskets or near the front of the border.


Few flowers come in as many varied colors as the petunia. Usually a mounding habit, petunias find a number of uses including hanging baskets, edging plants, border plants and containers. Consider colors like "Lipstick" for almost surreal effect or choose from an ever-expanding choice of every color imaginable, including multi-colored plants.


About the Author


Michael Logan is a writer, editor and web page designer. His professional background includes electrical, computer and test engineering, real estate investment, network engineering and management, programming and remodeling company owner. Logan has been writing professionally since he was first published in "Test & Measurement World" in 1989.