A garden spot that receives at least six hours of sunlight daily is considered to be in full sun. Most annual flowering plants require full sun, and many flowering perennials fall into this category as well. If you are planning a new garden spot in the winter or early spring, remember to allow for the shade that trees will cast when they are in full leaf in the summer. You may be able to prune tall shrubs or overhanging limbs to open more garden area to the sun.
Cannas are large, showy plants of tropical or subtropical origin. The glossy foliage of cannas contributes to their beauty. Leaves are large and ovate, and they may be any shade of green as well as bronze or variegated. Dwarf cannas grow to about 18 inches tall, while regular canna plants can reach 6 feet. Plants have an upright habit, with the flowers clustered at the top on sturdy racemes. Canna flowers are pink, red, yellow or red-and-yellow combination.
Cannas are grown from tubers. Plant them in full sun. Cannas need rich soil and plenty of moisture, especially in summer heat. Once cannas begin blooming in mid-summer, they will continue to bloom until frost. Because of their height, cannas grow well if they are close to a wall or building or in clustered group plantings for support. In open areas, individual canna plants are vulnerable to high winds. Canna tubers should be dug up after the first frost and stored indoors over the winter.
Dahlias are tender perennials that are typically grown from tubers, although seeds are available. The tubers must be lifted in the fall and stored indoors to protect them from freezing. Native to Central America, dahlias favor full sun and warm temperatures.
Hybridizers have developed hundreds of types of dahlias in many sizes and colors. Small bedding dahlias have flowers about 1 to 2 inches in size; flower size progresses all the way to the huge dinner-plate dahlias that may be 10 or more inches in diameter. Dahlias need rich, well-drained soil, and they thrive in hot summer weather as long as they receive plenty of water.
Verbena is an annual flowering plant that is easy for beginning gardeners to grow. Verbena prefers moist, well-drained soil, and it also is very drought-tolerant. The plants grow in nice mounds about 18 inches tall and 2 feet wide. Verbenas are good plants for beds and borders or wherever a fill plant with color is needed. The flowers are borne on stems above the neat foliage. The flowers are in flat clusters and may be white, purple, red or pink. Beginning in mid-summer, verbena will provide continuous showy blooms until frost. Pinch back the plants to make them bushy, and remove spent flower heads to promote new flowers.
Trailing verbenas are also available. They are used in hanging baskets and for cascading plants in rock gardens and container plantings.