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Shrubs for Full Afternoon Sun

Thuja branches background (Arborvita fence) image by Vladimir Melnik from

When landscaping your yard, planting the right shrubs depends on how much sunlight your property receives. Some shrubs cannot tolerate the harsh afternoon sun. However, numerous shrub species love the sun and can tolerate full light, even in the afternoon. Before you plant any shrubs, determine how much light your yard gets in the afternoon and choose shrubs that will thrive in it.


The eastern arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) is a sun-loving shrub that grows in the northeastern portion of the United States. Commonly used in landscaping, the arborvitae grows quickly and is relatively inexpensive. It grows best in moist, well-drained soil. It can grow in both acidic and alkaline soils. When planted in the shade, the arborvitae will lose its firm shape and look unattractive. It is most often used as a hedge, screen or accent plant. A few different cultivars of arborvitae exist with different shapes and colors.

Arp Rosemary

Another shrub that loves the sunlight is the arp rosemary. This fragrant, evergreen shrub is also one of the most cold hardy. Growing to about 5 feet in height, the arp rosemary will fill your garden with its unique fragrance. You can also use its leaves as spices or in potpourri. The arp rosemary is a flowering shrub, producing tiny blue flowers from the winter to early spring in the South. It is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture planting zones 6 through 10.


The boxwood is a shrub commonly used in Southern landscaping because it loves the sun, especially if planted in well-drained soil. The size of your boxwood depends on the species you plant: common or American boxwood shrubs generally grow to 10 to 15 feet, while littleleaf or Japanese boxwoods are low-growing and don't reach more than 4 feet in height. These are slow-growing shrubs, gaining less than 1 foot per year. Since they have shallow roots, boxwoods cannot be planted in any location that stays wet for long periods.


Junipers are conifers evergreen shrubs that also enjoy full sunlight. While some junipers can grow quite tall, other cultivars only grow to 4 inches. Smaller junipers are used as ground covers while taller shrubs are used as screens and hedges. Junipers need full sunlight and well-drained soil to survive. They are also quite drought resistant. Junipers that receive too much water are subject to illness, however. The most planted juniper shrub is the Pfitzer juniper, which reaches about 5 feet.

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