Direct sun, or full sun, is generally defined as at least 6 hours of sun per day during the growing season. Although some plants do better in filtered or indirect sun, there are many that thrive in bright, sunny locations. By selecting plants suited to the location, you can create beautiful, colorful flower beds.
Petunias are a very popular flower for full sun cultivation. Petunias grow well both in containers and in garden beds and come in a wide range of colors. Petunias are easy to grow and come in four general varieties based on flower size. Grandiflora petunias produce large flowers 3 or 4 inches across. Some grandiflora are single flowers and others grow as doubles. Multiflora petunias are more compact than grandiflora, but often have more blossoms. Milliflora petunias are compact plants with small flowers that may only be 1 to 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Spreading petunias are a ground cover that are only around 6 inches tall. Spreading petunias in full sun can have so many flowers that it may be difficult to see green foliage.
Hollyhock, or Alcea rosea, have many named varieties that vary in both size and color. Hollyhock grows very well in full sun and does well in most soil types. Augment heavy clay soils with organic material like compost for healthier plants. Hollyhock can re-seed itself, and often grows as a biennial. These flowers are easily grown from seed and flowers in summer. To encourage a longer flowering season, pinch off spent flowers, but leave a few to re-seed the bed for the following year.
Roses thrive in full sun. Plant your roses in well drained, fertile loamy soil. Augment your soil with compost or other organic material if your soil is heavy or dense. Roses require good soil between 2 and 4 feet deep, so plan on digging down and augmenting the soil to those levels. Roses tend to require a lot of water. Give your roses at least 1 inch of water per week. If your roses are growing in sandy soil, give them at least 2 inches of water per week. There are many types of roses, including large hybrids and small, native varieties.
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