Full Sun Flowering Plants (Annuals, Perennials, Shrubs) – Pictures and Identification

Full Sun Flowering Plants

Choosing flowering plants for full sun can be challenging. Full sun flowering annuals, perennials, and shrubs must tolerate at least six to eight hours of sunlight daily. Additionally, sun-loving plants should be drought-tolerant and survive on minimal watering, despite growing in direct sunlight. Growing sunshine-tolerant flowering plants is ideal for sunny borders, south-facing exposures, and container gardens in full sun. 

The intense summer heat makes finding perennials, shrubs, and annuals for sunny locations difficult. Even plants that tolerate the sunniest conditions may struggle in the hottest summer months. However, with the right choice of flowers and some planning, you can have a beautiful, colorful garden full of flowers that don’t wilt in direct sunlight. 

This article is a guide to choosing suitable flowering plants for sunny gardens, planters, beds, borders, and patios. 

Flowering Annual Plants For Full Sun

Most sun-loving annuals are relatively hardy plants and survive in challenging conditions like the summer heat and continual sunshine. The beauty of annuals in a sun-filled garden is that they flower quickly and bloom throughout the season if you deadhead them regularly.

Some of the best full-sun flowering annual plants are Snapdragon (Antirrhinum), Spider flowers (Cleome),  Salvia (Salvia officinalis), Lantana, and Verbena.

Flowering Perennial Plants For Direct Sun

Flowering perennials are excellent for yards and patios that get full sun exposure every day. Growing perennials is relatively straightforward because many are low-maintenance flowering plants that don’t require much watering. In addition, you’ll not have to plant them every year to enjoy their beauty. 

Some of the best types of flowering perennial plants that thrive in direct sunshine without withering from the heat are Delphinium, Sedum, Coreopsis, Bearded iris, and Asiatic lily (Lilium).

Flowering Shrubs For Full Sun

Planting native flowering shrubs for sun-drenched front and backyards can add color, texture, and visual appeal to your property. Full-sun shrubs make for ideal borders, sunny foundation plantings, or specimen plants. Also, large shrubs that flower can provide shade for small plants that need protection from direct sunlight. 

Some of the best colorful shrubs that thrive despite getting six to eight hours of sunshine every day are Forsythia, Buttonbush (Cephalanthus), Common Lilac (Syringa vulgaris), Mock orange (Philadelphus), and Spirea.

Full Sun Flowering Annual Plants (With Pictures) – Identification

Annual plants that love sunshine and the heat are ideal for bedding, hanging baskets, containers, and borders. Many flowering, full-sun annuals have bushy, colorful blooms that flower from late spring until the fall.

Here is a small selection of the best full-sun flowering annuals. 


Petunia colors

Petunias are full sun flowers that come in a wide variety of colors

Petunias are among the most vibrant annual plants for full sun, known for their striking blooms of showy purple, red, orange, yellow, and white flowers. Petunia flowers are characterized by their trumpet-shaped or funnel-like blossoms in vivid hues. These annual flowers will continue to bloom throughout the summer when planted in full sunlight and provided with consistently moist soil.

Petunia plants are tender perennials that are treated as annuals. The stunning, flowering bushy plant has mounding growth and masses of cascading flowers that make the sun-tolerant plants ideal for hanging baskets, foundation plantings, ground cover for full sun, sunny borders, or containers. 

Related reading: How to care for petunias.


sunflower (Helianthus)

Sunflowers are tall annual flowers for full sun that look exceptional due to their large bright flowerhead

Sunflower is a tall annual flower that performs best in plenty of direct sunlight. Sunflowers are easy to identify due to their large yellow flowers with a large brown disc-shaped center. These enormous annual flowers grow between 6 and 10 ft. (1.8 – 3 m) tall and bloom from summer through fall. 

Tall flowering sunflower plants don’t do well in the shade. However, due to their height, you can plant sunflowers as a spectacular backdrop for sun-drenched flower beds. Alternatively, you can plant the tall, full-sun annuals along a south-facing wall or side of your house. 



Zinnia flowers need to be planted outdoors in a location that gets direct sunlight

Zinnias are colorful annual flowering plants ideal for yards that get all-day sunshine. The showy flowers grow at the end of long stems and can be disc-shaped like asters or globose like large pompoms. Zinnia plants are long-blooming, full-sun annuals that bloom in shades of orange, yellow, pink, red, and white. 

Zinnia flowers are drought-tolerant and perfect for planting in containers, sunny borders, and mixed beds. Like many types of full-sun annual plants, zinnias grow quickly, produce flowers early in the season, and create an explosion of color all summer long, despite the heat and a lack of water. 

Marigold (Tagetes)

Marigold (Tagetes)

Marigolds are showy low maintenance flowers that look great in full sun areas in your front yard

Marigold plants need direct sunlight to produce stunning yellow and orange flowers. Long-blooming marigold flowers consist of hundreds of ruffled oval petals growing in clusters to form a showy pompom flowerhead. Some varieties of marigolds are also tall flowering annuals that grow around 3 ft. (1 m) or more. 

There are several species of marigold annual flowers, each with unique characteristics. For example, African marigolds are orange or yellow blooms with double flowers. Mexican marigolds are star-shaped, brightly colored yellow flowers. And French marigold flowers have crested, ruffled flowers in yellow, red, and orange hues. 

All varieties of marigolds are excellent for planting in sunlit borders, beds, edges, or containers. 



Geranium is a low maintenance flowering plant for full sun with many hardy drought tolerant species

Geranium plants are tender perennials grown as annuals that bloom prolifically in heat and full sun. Incredibly resistant to blazing sunshine, geraniums are incredibly easy to grow. Additionally, many species are tolerant of drought in summer conditions. The beautiful, low-maintenance flowering annuals also have lush foliage to add texture to a sunny yard. 

Geranium flowers provide long-lasting color in a sunny garden. The delicate, dainty summer flowers grow in purple, red, vibrant pink, white and pale lilac shades. 

Egyptian Starcluster (Pentas lanceolata)

Egyptian Star Flower (Pentas lanceolata)

Egyptian Starclusters are annual flowering plants for full sun that are grown as perennials in warmer climates

Sometimes just called pentas, the tender perennials grow as flowering summer annuals in temperate climates. The sun-loving, heat-resistant shrub-like plant has rounded clusters of dainty tubular, star-shaped flowers measuring up to 4” (10 cm). The showy flowering annual grows 2 to 3 ft. (0.6 – 1 m) tall. 

The Egyptian starflower is a popular plant for planters, bedding, borders, or containers. The sun-loving, heat-resistant pentas plant thrives in hot, sunny, arid conditions. The lilac, pink, white, or red flowers complement the lush foliage of pointed oval green leaves. 

Egyptian star flowers are on the list of full sun flowers to grow in Florida.

Full sun Flowering Perennial Plants (With Pictures) – Identification

The best full sun perennials will bloom throughout the summer and can withstand hot dry weather. Sun-loving perennial plants are typically easy to grow, don’t require a lot of pruning, and get by on minimal amounts of water.

Here is a small selection of the best full-sun flowering perennial plants.

Aster Flowers (Asteraceae) For Sunny Gardens


Asters are perennial flowers that enjoy direct sunlight and include different types

Asters are beautiful flowering perennials that perform well in full sun and withstand periods of drought. Aster flowers are easy to recognize due to their rays of slender, lineal petals surrounding a central yellow or orange disc. Depending on the cultivar, Aster flowers can be pale to deep pink, white, light purple, or red. 

Asters bloom for several weeks, from late summer to late fall. The tall flowering perennials tolerate harsh conditions, including intense sunshine, drought, salty air, and damp ground. Asters grow up to 4 ft. (1.2 m) tall, and the bushy perennials spread up to 2 ft. (0.6 m) wide.

Coneflower (Echinacea) — Full Sun Perennials

coneflower (echinacea)

Coneflowers are hardy drought tolerant flowers and one of the best perennials for full sun

Coneflowers are tall, hardy perennials that perform best in full sun and require minimal maintenance to thrive. Even though coneflowers thrive in full sun, the hardy flowers also withstand freezing temperatures and come back year after year. Most of these daisy-like tall perennials are purple flowers; however, some are yellow, orange, or red.

Tall flowering, sun-loving perennials like coneflowers are ideal for planting at the back of a flower bed. The attractive, showy flowers with the shuttlecock shape bloom on the ends of tall, erect stalks to provide a vibrant floral display in a summer garden. 



Dianthus flowers thrive in sunny locations with good drainage

Dianthus flowers are evergreen perennial flowers that thrive on plenty of heat and sunlight. The spectacular masses of pink, white, and red flowers bloom on the ends of tall stems that grow up to 3 ft. (1 m) tall. The attractive flowers consist of ruffled serrated petals and can be single or double flowers. 

Flowers on dianthus plants appear from late spring and persist through summer until the fall. Dianthus plants are the ideal companion plants in garden beds. They are perfect for planting along borders or for decorating sunny rock gardens.

Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)

black eye Susan rudbekia

The long flower stems of black-eyed Susans can be planted at the back of flower beds or borders and thrive in full sun

Black-eyed Susans are eye-catching yellow perennials for growing in full sun. The tall low-maintenance flowering perennials are identified by their vibrant yellow drooping petals contrasting with a dark brown central cone. These cold-hardy, sun-loving clumping plants grow up to 4 ft. (1.2 m) tall 

In addition to surviving drought and scorching summers, black-eyed Susans also tolerate moist soils. The yellow flowers are characterized by their drooping petals, long 6-inch (15 cm) leaves, and slender, erect stalks that support the yellow flowers. 

Peony (Paeonia)


Peony flowers are full sun perennials that include many varieties with beautiful showy flowers

Peonies are some of the showiest flowers suitable for growing in direct sunlight. The spectacular showy flowers bloom on a perennial shrubby plant, and they flower year after year. Peony flowers can be single, semi-double, or double flowers, all of which are colorful, showy blooms. 

Herbaceous peonies are perennials with lanceolate leaves that form a clumping mound that produces erect, sturdy flowering stems. Peony flowers are ideal for planting in mixed beds, city gardens, cottage gardens, or specimen plants. 

Perennial peony plants grow about 3 ft. (1 m) tall, depending on the variety. 



Phlox are low maintenance and easy to grow full sun perennials that come is various colors

Phlox is a perennial clumping plant that produces masses of spectacular flowers from midsummer through fall. The attractive flowering plant is characterized by its large deep green leaves, showy flowers consisting of five fused petals, and a sweet fragrance. Garden phlox grows 2 to 4 ft. (0.6 – 1.2 m) tall and thrives in full sun.

Some low-growing species of evergreen phlox are colorful, fast-growing ground cover plants. For example, creeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera) has dense foliage, vigorous growth, and stunning purple, white, or pink flowers to create a mat of color in a sunny garden. 

Hollyhock (Alcea rosea)

hollyhock flowers

The tall hollyhock plants are suitable for growing at the back of flower beds or along walls in direct sunlight

Hollyhock is a group of perennial flowering plants with large, showy trumpet-like flowers growing in tall spikes. The tall perennial flowering stems can grow between 5 and 9 ft. (1.5 – 2.7 m) tall, covered in funnel-shaped flowers measuring 3” to 4” (7.5 – 10 cm) across. 

Hollyhock flowers are showy single or double blooms in shades of purple, white, yellow, pink, and red. This tall flowering full-sun perennial looks spectacular growing at the back of a flower bed. The showy Hollyhock flowers bloom from mid to late summer. 

Although hollyhock flowers thrive in full sun in USDA zone 3 to 8, you may need to provide some afternoon shade in the hottest climates and water them well when there has been little rainfall. 

Full Sun Flowering Shrubs (With Pictures) – Identification

Flowering shrubs that thrive in direct sunlight are an essential feature of sunny gardens. Sun-loving blooming shrubs add more than just color and floral aromas throughout the summer. The beautiful flowers on shrubs attract pollinators and encourage biodiversity in a garden landscape.

Here is a small selection of the best full-sun flowering shrubs.

Lavender (Lavendula)

Spanish Lavender (Lavandula stoechas)

Lavender is a flowering herbaceous perennial plant or a small shrub for full sun. In the picture: Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas)

Lavender is an herbaceous perennial or flowering shrub that performs best in full sun and intense heat. Lavender flowers are identified as small purple spikes growing on long stems. The shrubby perennial plant’s flowers and slender leaves also give off a recognizable lavender scent described as herbal and woody.

Lavender shrubs grow between 1 and 3 ft. (0.3 – 1 m) tall. The clumping sun-loving plant is perfect for growing in herb gardens, perennial borders, mixed beds, and full-sun foundation plantings in the front yard

Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)

butterfly bush colors

Butterfly bushes grow best in full sun and well-draining slightly acidic soil

Butterfly bush is a full-sun flowering shrub, identified by conical clusters of arching purple flowers. It’s an easy-grow, multi-stemmed deciduous shrub that grows between 5 and 10 ft. (1.5 – 3 m) tall and 4 and 10 ft. (1 – 3 m) wide. Butterfly bush is a flowering shrub with continuous blooms throughout the summertime that is suitable for growing in USDA zones 5 through 8.

The butterfly bush grows best in the sunniest spot in your yard, where it gets at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. The fast-growing flowering shrub is perfect for planting in borders, foundation plantings, or as a specimen plant. The sweetly-scented spiked purple flowers also attract pollinators. 

Cape Jasmine (Gardenia jasminoides)

Cape Jasmine (Gardenia jasminoides)

The white flowers of cape jasmine bush add beauty and fragrance to sunny landscapes

Cape jasmine or gardenia is a group of sun loving evergreen shrubs identified by their creamy-white aromatic flowers. The shrubby plant, with its leathery green leaves, explodes into color in the summer when it blooms. The evergreen flowering shrub grows between 1 and 10 ft. (0.3 – 3 m) tall. 

Cape jasmine is a full-sun flowering shrub in temperate climates. The heat-loving sun-tolerant plant also thrives in Florida, but it’s best to plant it where it gets some afternoon shade. You can grow this exotic evergreen shrub in a south-facing garden as a flowering hedge, container plant, or specimen plant.



Camellia is a sun loving flowering shrub that has many hybrids and cultivars with white, pink and red flowers

Camellia is a stunning perennial shrub that flowers profusely in full sun. This winter-flowering shrubby plant produces magnificent white, pink or red blooms with layers of petals surrounding a pale, yellow center. Some of the showiest camellia varieties have ruffled double flowers that emit a pleasant fragrance. 

Camellia shrub flowers are enormous compared to other full-sun plants. The large flowers measure up to 4.7” (12 cm), growing on mounding shrubs 5 to 6 ft. (1.5 – 1.8 m) tall. 



Forsythia is a hardy shrub that makes a good choice for fast-growing flowering hedge for full sun

Forsythia is an ornamental yellow flowering shrub for landscaping a garden that gets direct sunlight. The multi-stemmed shrub with its upward growing stems blooms in summer with yellow, star-shaped flowers covering woody stems. Yellow forsythia shrubs grow 6 to 9 ft. (1.8 – 2.7 m) tall. 

Forsythia is an extremely cold-hardy graceful flowering shrub. The dramatic yellow flowers help to brighten up foundation lines, hedges, and mixed borders. The low-maintenance shrub is tolerant of heat, intense sunshine, and drought.


Bigleaf Hydrangea or Mophead Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)

Beautiful hydrangea flowering shrubs add focal point to any landscaped garden and grow best in full sun

Hydrangea is a group of flowering landscaping shrubs known for their huge, showy pale pink, blue, purple or white flowers. Hydrangea flowers can be rounded flower heads (mophead or snowball), cone-shaped clusters (panicle), or flat clusters of star-shaped flowers (lacecap). Hydrangea shrubs grow between 3 and 5 ft. (1 – 1.5 m) high. 

Plant hydrangea in full sun for best flowering results from this hardy shrub. The long-blooming shrub flowers consistently throughout the summer, filling your sunny front or backyard with plenty of color. You can grow hydrangea flowers as a foundation plant, shrub border, flowering hedge, and a backdrop for perennial plants. 

Related reading: How to care for hydrangeas.

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