29 Flowers That Thrive in Full Sun

Full sun in the garden offers endless options for colorful blooms. The sun-soaked landscape improves flowering and vigor for plants needing six or more hours of sunlight daily. Using a blend of perennials and annuals, bring full color to the sunny garden spot with gardening expert Katherine Rowe.

A vibrant field of sunflowers stretches towards the sky, their golden petals catching the sunlight in a radiant display of nature's beauty. These cheerful flowers follow the sun's path throughout the day, basking in its warm embrace.


Let colorful blooms saturate your sun-drenched garden. A blend of perennials and annuals ensures vibrant full sun flowers all season long, energizing the landscape and drawing pollinators. Perennials provide muti-season appeal, recurring for years with exciting foliage, form, color, and textures. Annuals give a burst of color in their growing seasons, enlivening any garden color scheme with a punch. I love to rely on perennials for the bulk of the heavy lifting and embellish with annuals for colorful accents.

Whether growing in containers or the garden bed, flowering plants requiring full sun need six or more hours of sunlight per day. Some plants thrive in more sun, while others benefit from protection from direct afternoon rays, depending on climate.

Here, we’ll explore flowers that thrive in full sun. Many of them withstand hot summers, too, without batting a petal.


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Goblin Gaillardia Seeds


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Fountain Blend Cleome (Spider Flower) Seeds


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Flamingo Celosia Seeds


A gaillardia flower, showcasing its vibrant hues transitioning from a rich red at the center to a delicate yellow along its petals. In the background, blurred foliage provides a natural frame, enhancing the flower's allure.
Blanketflower is a North American native perennial that thrives in poor, sandy soils.
botanical-name botanical name Gaillardia spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1-3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-10

Gaillardia, or blanketflower, shines in full sun, covering the garden in a riot of daisy-like flowers in gold, orange, red, and bi-color with brown button centers. Early to bloom and late to fade, gaillardia blooms continuously throughout the summer and fall.

A North American native perennial, blanketflower reseeds readily and is drought and heat-tolerant. It’s a carefree performer, growing in poor, sandy soils and adapting to various site conditions. With well-drained soil, gaillardia needs little else, though to prolong bloom time, supplement with additional water during dry periods. 

Numerous species of gaillardia exist, with cultivars in warm shades of classic red to orange and others in peach, yellow, and melon. This Southwest stunner is as about as adaptable as they come.


A close-up of red dahlias showcasing delicate white tips adorning each petal, set against a backdrop of lush green leaves. In the blurred background, a symphony of yellow and orange blossoms intermingles with verdant foliage.
These flowers should be kept away from pets due to toxicity.
botanical-name botanical name Dahlia spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 3-6’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7-10

Dahlias add drama to the summertime garden as stunning specimens and showy cut flowers. Beautiful, large blooms in an array of colors and petal arrangements make them a garden standout.

Dahlia flowers range in size from tiny pom poms to large dinner plates. Their nearly perfect petal arrangements create symmetrical and varying forms. The American Dahlia Society categorizes dahlias into decorative, ball, orchid, peony, and cactus based on their petals and intricate symmetry.

Dahlias grow best with evenly moist, well-drained soils. While they tolerate partial shade, full sun increases plant vigor and flowering.

In colder climates, dahlias grow well as annuals. Dig tubers and store them in winter for replanting in the spring, or start with fresh plants. Toxic to dogs and cats, keep dahlias out of range of curious pets.


Tall stems of agastache bear pink tubular blooms, adding a vibrant touch to the scene. In the background, a blur reveals a tapestry of more agastache flowers, complemented by bursts of orange blooms and lush green leaves.
This beloved garden plant offers fragrant leaves and colorful tubular blooms.
botanical-name botanical name Agastache spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2-4’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-10

An old garden favorite, agastache (or anise hyssop) bears fragrant leaves and delicate tubular blooms in a rainbow of colors. Bloom spikes rise above gray-green foliage and provide nectar for bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators.

Agastache foeniculum is native to northern North America, and there are numerous other cultivars available for high color and improved performance. A rugged perennial, anise hyssop thrives in full sun in various soil types as long as they’re well-draining.

Agastache flowers profusely in full sun all summer through frost. Cut back spent blooms to enjoy prolific flowering all season.


Vibrant red zinnia flowers bloom elegantly, each petal delicately unfurling to reveal its rich hue. Surrounding them, lush green leaves provide a verdant backdrop, enhancing the vividness of the blossoms in this close-up capture of nature's beauty.
Varieties of zinnias like ‘Queeny Lime’ and ‘Profusion’ are suited for humid climates.
botanical-name botanical name Zinnia elegans
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 6-36″
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Zinnias flourish in the annual display with large, vibrant, sometimes double-disc flowers (also the perfect landing pads for pollinators). Zinnia blooms range in color from white to magenta to lime and bicolor. These full sun flowers grow low and mounding or tall and airy, depending on the variety.

Seed zinnias in a mass for a nonstop annual display; the heat-loving blooms last from early summer through frost. Cut flowers for arrangements – they’ll reward you with more blooms! Bonus: Zinnias are edible. Enjoy them as a pretty garnish for a summer salad or dessert.

Zinnias need good air circulation, well-drained soil, and full sun to prevent pests and fungal diseases, especially in humid climates. In areas like the South with high heat and humidity, try disease-resistant varieties like the tall ‘Queeny Lime’ and ‘Profusion,’ a dwarf zinnia loaded with successional blooms. 

Butterfly Milkweed

A close-up of orange butterfly milkweed blooms nestled among slender green leaves, capturing nature's delicate balance. In the blurred background, another cluster of butterfly milkweed blooms emerges, surrounded by lush foliage.
Bright red-orange clusters of flowers from butterfly milkweed attract monarch butterflies.
botanical-name botanical name Asclepias spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 18-24”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-10

Butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) boasts bright, flat-topped bloom clusters in red-orange. The vibrant blooms and sweet nectar attract important pollinators like monarch butterflies and beneficial insects.

Asclepias incarnata, or swamp milkweed, is a prime choice for moist garden areas. Its natural habitat is along marshy pond edges, bogs, and woodlands, where it produces lovely clusters of flat, deep pink blooms.

A garden bursting with milkweed creates a sustainable stopover for monarchs. Collect seeds to share or let them drop naturally to expand the colony. Look for the monarch’s chrysalis, with its trim of gold thread, after caterpillars nibble the plant.


A close-up reveals a cluster of asters, their slender petals forming a dense, vibrant purple crown. Each delicate petal unfurls gracefully, creating a mesmerizing tapestry of color and texture in the intricate floral composition.
Easy-to-grow asters produce clusters of star-shaped flowers in deep blue-purple and lavender.
botanical-name botanical name Aster spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 6-96″
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-8

Asters, native to North America, are easy-to-grow garden mainstays with deep blue-purple, lavender, and pink daisy-like flowers. Aster, Greek for “star,” blooms in clusters of star flowers that cover plants in a blanket of color. 

Aster’s showy display lasts well into fall as other blooming plants fade. Bees and butterflies appreciate the late-season blooms, too. 

Asters prefer consistently moist, organically rich soils. Allow full sun, good air circulation, and thin out stems in summer if density inhibits airflow. These steps, along with good drainage, prevent foliar diseases.


Purple Echinacea flowers stand tall on slender brown stems. Their prominent orange centers draw the eye, contrasting vividly with the petals' rich hue. Green leaves provide a lush backdrop to the striking floral arrangement.
This quintessential prairie plant boasts showy blooms.
botanical-name botanical name Echinacea purpurea
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 3-4’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8

A quintessential landscape native, echinacea, or purple coneflower, is a natural prairie plant with showy blooms. Purple ray petals surround orange disc florets, a valuable nectar for beneficial insects. 

Coneflower cultivars abound in a myriad of colors and forms. They need well-draining soils and thrive in the summer heat and full sun, but many tolerate some shade.

Let this carefree perennial go to seed in the fall; dried seed heads provide food for birds and extend winter interest in the garden. Those that drop reseed readily to join the next season of blooms.


Clusters of lantana burst with yellow and orange blooms, adding a pop of color to the scene. The lush green leaves encircle the blooms, providing a verdant backdrop to the radiant display of flowers.
This offers a spectrum of colorful blooms from pale to vivid hues.
botanical-name botanical name Lantana camara
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1-6’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7-11

Lantana brings bursts of color to the annual garden all season long, with flowers of multiple colors in the same cluster. Lantana cultivars run the spectrum of color palettes from pale peaches and pinks to bright reds, oranges, and yellows. Depending on your hardiness zone, lantanas grow as annuals or perennials. Some lantanas are more winter-hardy than others.

Look to a few varieties like Lantana camara ‘Miss Huff’ for increased hardiness in vivid pink, yellow, red, and orange blossoms. ‘Chapel Hill’ carries pale yellow blooms, and ‘New Gold’ is in deep yellow, with low-growing, spreading habits. Weeping lantana (Lantana montevidensis) reaches two feet tall and spreads up to four feet, with pretty lavender blooms.

Lantana grows with ease in the landscape with low-maintenance needs. It requires regular watering with well-draining soils and doesn’t do well when overwatered. Lantana thrives in full sun and needs no fertilizer to bloom all season.


Fuchsia pink peonies delicately bloom atop slender stems, accentuated by lush green leaves. In the backdrop, a soft blur unveils the presence of ethereal white flowers, enhancing the vivid display of nature's beauty.
Provide peonies with full sun exposure while ensuring afternoon protection from direct rays.
botanical-name botanical name Paeonia officinalis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 2-4’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-10

The dreamy peony flower is among the most decadent in the garden. Grow these beauties in a pot or container for up-close appreciation. Peonies bloom once a season, from late spring to early summer, so place them in an area where you can appreciate them often.

Because of their full flowers, peonies may need to be staked or caged. Or, opt for a sturdy variety like ‘Coral Sunset,’ a glowing apricot-orange bloom that does not require staking. ‘Seashell’ brings large baby pink flowers on tall, sturdy stems.

Place peonies in full sun, giving some afternoon protection from direct rays. At planting, make sure to plant a peony in the pot with the crown, even with the soil line (not too low or high). Even planting ensures water absorption and blooming.


Yarrow blooms, pristine in their white hue, stand out against a verdant backdrop. Behind them, lush green feathery leaves create a soft blur, adding depth to the vibrant scene.
This versatile North American native thrives in full sun with minimal maintenance needs.
botanical-name botanical name Achillea millefolium
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1-3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Yarrow is a North American native available in cultivars ranging in size from dwarf with petite flower stalks to tall and upright. All give high contrast to the garden and bear gorgeous colors, from salmon to pink to scarlet. The classic A. millefolium features bright white bloom clusters on tall stems.

Yarrow is a low-maintenance, full-sun, drought-tolerant perennial. Like many natives, yarrow doesn’t need fertilizer or rich organic soil to thrive. It needs a sunny spot and soil with good drainage to flourish.

Yarrow brings feathery texture and vivid color to the garden. Large, flat flower heads attract pollinators. Ruggedly adaptable, yarrow is an easy-care grower that benefits the garden.


A brown pot cradles petunia flowers, their delicate petals unfurling gracefully. Shades of purple, soft pink, and tranquil blue blend harmoniously, while verdant leaves provide a lush backdrop, enhancing the floral ensemble's allure.
Maintain petunias’ blooms with regular fertilization and trim to encourage growth.
botanical-name botanical name Petunia spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 12-15″
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

Gardeners prize petunias for their showy waves of blooms from spring through frost. In hues from bubblegum pink to velvety black, with single, double, or ruffled flowers, petunias fit almost any garden.

Petunias thrive in full sun. For Southern gardens, try an improved variety that tolerates heat and humidity, like Supertunia ‘Vista Bubblegum’ or ‘Mini Indigo,’ or go for the wave varieties, a cascading petunia with sound performance in various climates.

In the right site, petunias are low-maintenance annuals with little watering and soil requirements, except that soils are well-draining. Fertilize petunias for continual bloom flushes throughout the growing season. Give plants a trim to rejuvenate growth if they get leggy.


A close-up of a vibrant sunflower, basking in sunlight, its petals unfurling gracefully. In the background, another sunflower adds to the golden glow, its presence felt through the soft blur of colors.
The sunflowers are known for their vibrant colors and prolific seeds.
botanical-name botanical name Helianthus spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1-15’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 6-9

We can’t overlook the cheery sunflower when discussing full sun flowers! Give them a sunny spot in the garden, and they’ll happily brighten it. Prolific seeds emerge after blooms fade on standing stalks – an excellent food source for songbirds and small mammals.

Sunflowers grow quickly from seed and come in various sizes and colors. Plant sunflowers in groupings for impact, and seed two to three successional plantings so that when one group fades, another takes its place.

Sunflowers bloom from summer into fall, matching the harvest palette in every shade of yellow, orange, garnet, and cream. Their vibrant faces and nodding heads represent the quintessential American flower celebrated worldwide as an ornamental crop and an iconic bloom.


Purple cosmos dance gracefully on slender stems, their petals catching the gentle breeze. In the blurred backdrop, a harmonious mix of purple and white cosmos adds to the mesmerizing floral scene.
This plant produces colorful daisy-like blooms on tall stems.
botanical-name botanical name Cosmos spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1-6’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Full sun and heat don’t stop cosmos flowers from producing bundles of colorful ray blooms that float on tall, airy stems. This summer annual is native to the Americas and lends a wildflower look to the garden. Daisy-like flowers in vivid shades of yellow, apricot, bright pink, lavender, red, and chocolate (and many more) grow easily with little care. 

Cosmos reseeds naturally and grows in hot, dry conditions with variable soils. When flowers go to seed, cut plants back to 12 to 18 inches. Plants rebloom quickly. Let the cut stems fall in place so new seeds germinate for the next generation of blooms.

Grow cosmos quickly from seed in drier spots of the garden. They need no fuss; too much water, fertilizer, and organic richness hinders plant vigor.

Red-Hot Poker

Clusters of red-hot poker buds extend on tall, slender stems, promising vibrant blooms. Their gradient hues shift from red at the crown to yellow near the base. Meanwhile, blurred foliage forms a verdant backdrop, enhancing the floral focal point.
Torch-like blooms of red-hot poker emerge from dense clusters of buds.
botanical-name botanical name Kniphofia uvaria
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 3-4’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9

The bloom “torches” of red-hot poker glow in the late spring and early summer garden. Tall spikes of tubular, drooping flowers rise above strappy leaves, setting the scene ablaze. Red buds and blooms transition to yellow for a multi-tonal bloom appearance.

Succulent Kniphofia blooms emerge from dense clusters of tightly packed buds. Its bladed blue-green foliage mounds and spreads by rhizomes. A tough, clumping perennial, red-hot poker does best in organic soils with good aeration and drainage. Plants won’t survive wet feet conditions.

Provide winter protection in USDA zones 5 and 6 with mulch or leaf litter or tie leaves together as an insulating canopy. Provide plenty of sunlight (six or more hours per day) for happy plants.


Cuphea flowers blooms abundantly on purple stems, creating a striking contrast against the green foliage. The tubular blossoms range from red to delicate shades of white, adding a captivating allure to the scene.
Cultivate cuphea in pots for indoor overwintering in regions where it’s not winter-hardy.
botanical-name botanical name Cuphea micropetala
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1-3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-11

Cuphea, also called giant cigar plant or firecracker plant, features tall, leafy stems lined with tubular blooms. Hummingbirds can’t resist cuphea, a late-summer bloomer with explosive color persisting into fall.

The flowers of Cuphea micropetala open bright yellow and mature to deep orange-red, giving an all-over hot peach glow from the bicolor blooms. 

Cuphea ignea ‘Hummingbird’s Lunch’ reaches only 14 inches tall and bears densely packed blooms all summer and into fall. The flowers are cherry red with apricot tips. ‘David Verity’ glows in orange flowers on three-foot stems.

Cuphea is a durable perennial that thrives in heat. Plant it in full sun with evenly moist, well-drained soils for the best flowering. Grow cuphea in containers to overwinter indoors where not hardy.

Prairie Coneflower

Yellow prairie coneflowers sway gracefully on slender stems, basking in the warm sunlight. Each flower proudly displays a tall and brown-hued flower head, adding contrast to the vivid yellow petals.
The prairie coneflower provides seeds for wildlife throughout the year.
botanical-name botanical name Ratibida spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1-3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

The highly showy prairie coneflower is a long-blooming, full-sun perennial with tall flowers in bold yellows and deep reds. Brightening the garden from spring until frost, this coneflower offers nectar for pollinators and seeds for birds and small mammals in the fall and winter.

Ratibida columnifera (commonly, upright prairie coneflower or Mexican Hat) holds the hallmark coloration in red, yellow, or dark purple-red ray petals with bright gold edges. Petals droop below a central gold-brown disc on stems reaching one to three feet tall. Upright prairie coneflower is hardy in zones 4-9.

Grey-head coneflower (Ratibida pinnata) is more cold-hardy (zones 3-8) with tall blooms from three to five feet. The leaves are sparse, so plants look best in a mass or mixed planting where the unique blooms shine.

Prairie coneflower is fast-growing, drought-tolerant, and withstands competition from other plants. It grows aggressively in optimum growing conditions and may overtake weaker growers.

California Poppies

A close-up of an orange California poppy, its delicate petals catching the sunlight. Behind it, soft green leaves provide a muted backdrop, creating a harmonious contrast that highlights the flower's vivid hue and delicate structure.
The California poppies boast tough-as-nails nature with vibrant orange blooms.
botanical-name botanical name Eschscholzia californica
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 6-24″
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 6-10

California poppies bring zest to challenging growing areas. Feathery blue-green foliage and cupped orange blooms conceal their tough-as-nails nature. California poppies thrive in poor, well-draining soils in full sun.

Bright orange or yellow-orange blooms emerge on stems above foliage in late spring to early summer. A cool-season annual or short-lived perennial (in zones 8-10), we start seeing them pop up in California in the winter in mild microclimates. 

Showy in dibs and dabs in a meadow or naturalized planting, nothing beats a stunning poppy super bloom when they emerge en masse. Scatter plenty of seeds or plant in clusters for a mini version in your garden.

Silky, single flowers on tall stems above mounded foliage characterize species poppies. Cultivars carry double blooms in pink, purple, white, and red.


A cluster of cleome flowers displays delicate pink and white petals, complemented by slender, elongated stamens reaching out gracefully. In the backdrop, a blur reveals a lush array of additional cleome blossoms and verdant foliage.
This plant’s tall stems hold delicate flowers and seed pods.
botanical-name botanical name Cleome hassleriana
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 3-6’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

Cleome boasts blooming wands of purple, pink, rose, and white flower clusters. Tall, upright stems hold delicate flowers with long stamens (hence the common name spider flower). Long, narrow seed pods emerge after each bloom.

Cleome grows easily from seed and self-seeds in the landscape. Pull any unwanted volunteers to keep them from spreading to other garden areas. Remove seed pods as they develop to reduce spreading, or heavily mulch the area the following spring to reduce volunteers. Some sterile varieties, like ‘Senorita Rosalita,’ won’t reseed.

The colorful blooms of spider flowers attract numerous pollinators. Best in a mass, cleome creates an informal, wild look. Enjoy the flower show in full sun from early summer through frost. Cleome also makes excellent cut flowers.


A close-up of a pink hibiscus blossom basking in sunlight, showcasing delicate petals unfurling gracefully. Surrounding green foliage forms a natural frame, accentuating the flower's beauty and highlighting its radiant colors against the backdrop of lush leaves
The large, colorful flowers of hibiscus last only a day but bloom continuously.
botanical-name botanical name Hibiscus spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 4-8′
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

Hardy hibiscus lends a tropical look to the perennial garden with huge disc flowers that reach six to ten inches across. Hardy hybrids stem from North American native mallows (H. moscheutos, H. laevis, and H. coccineus), bred for improved landscape durability and hardiness. 

Flowers range from pale pink to deep scarlet, with lots of delicious color combinations in between. Cultivars like “Cherry Cheesecake,’ ‘Candy Stripe,’ and ‘Cranberry Crush’ offer a sampling of showy blooms. Flowers open only for a day, but these floriferous plants produce numerous blooms simultaneously for nonstop flowering.

Unlike tropical hibiscus, hardy hibiscus overwinters in zones 5-9. New growth emerges vigorously in spring for a mid-summer to fall bloom show. Grow hibiscus in sunny garden locations or containers and bring it indoors for winter where it is not hardy. 

Provide consistent, even moisture for hibiscus. Whether perennial or tropical, these water-lovers don’t adapt to dry spells.  


Assorted snapdragons featuring white, red, and yellow blooms create a picturesque contrast. Under the warm sunlight, these blossoms gracefully bask, showcasing their radiant colors and delicate petals in a harmonious display of nature's beauty.
These flowers bloom continuously in mild winter climates and seasonally in colder regions.
botanical-name botanical name Antirrhinum majus
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 6”-3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7-10

Classic beauties, snapdragons delight in yellow, red, pink, peach, or coral bloom spikes – just to name a few. Cultivated for color, size, and performance, snaps attract pollinators, grow well in containers, and make showy cut flowers.

As cool season annuals, snapdragons complement nearly any seasonal display. In heights from tall to intermediate to dwarf, there is a snap for every garden location. Tall specimens benefit from the stem support of a lower plant, while shorter varieties hold their own.

Snapdragons thrive in the sun and moist, well-drained soils. Remove spent blooms to keep to promote flowering. In mild winter climates, snaps bloom all winter long.  In colder climates, snapdragons bloom in spring, summer, and fall.


A cluster of vibrant red geraniums stretches towards the warm, golden rays of sunlight, their petals unfolding gracefully. Each bloom seems to dance with joy, embracing the warmth.
Prune geraniums to promote their best growth and vibrant flowering.
botanical-name botanical name Pelargonium spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1-2’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

With true green, ruffly leaves and rich, color-saturated flowers, geraniums bring texture and vibrancy to the annual display. Their form is unmistakable, stems of vivid bloom clusters rising above leafy branches. 

Common garden geraniums, scented geraniums, and ivy-leaf geraniums feature distinct leaves, flowers, and forms. From cherry red blooms to lemony scented leaves to trailing stems, geranium varieties serve many garden situations.

Provide at least four to six hours of sunlight for geraniums to bloom. In hot climates, offer protection from direct afternoon sun. They thrive with regular water in well-drained soils, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. It’s best to water at the plant’s base, avoiding the leaves, to prevent disease.

Geraniums benefit from a boost of organic fertilizer if they start to yellow or become stunted. Pinch off spent blooms to encourage more flowers and for a full, leafy plant.


Vivid crimson daylilies bloom gracefully, their large petals unfurling in the sunlight, painting the garden with rich hues. Below, slender blades of grass sway gently, providing a delicate backdrop to the vibrant display of nature's beauty.
Daylilies’ lovely blossoms open during the day and close at night.
botanical-name botanical name Hemerocallis spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1-3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Cheery daylilies follow the sun with their lovely blossoms that open during the day and close at night. Each flower lasts only a day or two, but with abundant successional blooms, daylilies bring long-lasting color during the warm season. Flower stems rise tall above mounds of strappy, bladed leaves in green or blue-green.

As tough perennials, daylilies grow in a variety of soil conditions. They’ll do best in organic, evenly moist soils but adapt readily to lesser soils. Give daylilies a minimum of six hours of sun for best flowering. Afternoon shade or dappled light keeps leaves a rich green. 

Daylilies handle hot and cold climates and live for years with little care. For a tidy appearance, deadhead spent blooms and stems. Be careful planting these, as they may be invasive in your area. Check with your local extension office if you’re not sure.


An array of celosia flowers, featuring striking red, orange, yellow, and purple hues, elegantly rest upon lush green leaves, forming a picturesque scene bursting with natural beauty and vivid colors, evoking a sense of joy and serenity.
This is a low-maintenance annual that thrives in full sun.
botanical-name botanical name Celosia spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 6”-3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

Celosia features plumes of brilliant color with an easy care habit to quickly stand out in the annual planting. Celosia brings flair to the garden in the summer and fall—streaming colors of red, magenta, yellow, and orange waves on fuzzy bloom spikes. Depending on the group, Celosia flowers appear as plumes, spires, or ruffly fan shapes.

Celosia grows easily from seed and reseeds in the garden. Deadhead spent blooms to prevent unwanted reseeding and pluck any volunteer plants. Celosia often pops up from seed in the following seasons from previous plantings.

Low maintenance, celosia grow best in full sun with well-drained soils. They make charming and long-lasting fresh or dried flowers in arrangements with wild colors and textures.


Purple and deep red pentas flowers bloom together, forming a stunning contrast against the backdrop of lush green leaves. The rich hues create a harmonious blend, adding a touch of elegance to the natural setting.
These tough annuals thrive in full sun with minimal maintenance.
botanical-name botanical name Pentas lanceolata
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1-2’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

Pentas burst onto the summer scene with star-shaped flowers in bloom clusters of red, pink, lavender, white, or all of the above. Red pentas are the top choice of hummingbirds in the annual garden, though any available penta draws them. 

The ‘Butterfly’ series of pentas brings top performers with low maintenance needs. ‘Butterfly’ pentas boast extended blooming and varietal colors, including pure white, lavender, rose, and violet. They’ll bloom nonstop til frost, with up to 20 bloom clusters per plant. 

Pentas tolerate some shade but flower best in full sun. Tough annuals that withstand hot and humid summers, pentas also tolerate periods of drought. This easy-care annual brings long-lasting, vibrant color and sweet nectar to the display.


A close-up captures the vivid hues of marigolds, their petals unfolding in intricate layers. Below, serrated leaves frame the scene, their jagged edges adding texture to the composition, contrasting with the softness of the flowers above.
The vibrant blooms of marigolds offer reliable summer color.
botanical-name botanical name Tagetes spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1-4′
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Marigolds’ prolific pom-pom blooms in sunny yellow, deep gold, creamy white, and garnet contrast beautifully with their feathery deep green or purple foliage. They bloom reliably all summer, and their economy makes them an excellent investment for punchy garden color.

There are three types of marigolds. French marigolds (Tagetes patula) produce bountiful blooms in single or double flowers up to two inches wide. African marigolds (Tagetes erecta) reach three to four feet tall and perennialize in moderate climates. Signet marigolds (Tagetes tenuifolia) are the most petite marigolds and also the tastiest.

Celebrated worldwide, marigolds charm with their fragrance, cheerful color, and versatility as fresh and dried blooms. Marigolds grow quickly from seed and thrive until hard frost in full sun with well-drained soils. Amend soils with organic matter at planting time if soils are lean.


 Purple vinca flowers bask in the radiant sunlight, their petals unfurling gracefully. Lush green leaves form a protective embrace, encircling the delicate blooms in a verdant sanctuary, creating a picturesque scene of natural beauty.
Fertilize your annual vinca once to maintain its beauty throughout the entire season.
botanical-name botanical name Catharanthus roseus
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 6-18”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

Heavy-hitting vinca couples prominent color with low maintenance. As sun-lovers, annual vinca thrives in hot and dry conditions. Blooms range from pastel to bold, and deep green, glossy foliage forms an attractive backdrop. Flower “eyes” brighten bloom centers in color contrasting the petals, often clear white, yellow, or pink.

Plant annual vinca in numbers for waves of blooms and color. Grow them in garden borders and containers with well-draining soils. Trailing varieties make lovely accents in pots, window boxes, and hanging baskets.

At planting time, fertilize vinca with a balanced, organic application. A single shot lasts all season, as vinca doesn’t require many added nutrients.

Note: Some vinca varieties are invasive. Check with your local extension office before planting.


An enchanting garden scene showcasing vibrant chrysanthemum flowers nestled in assorted pots. Lavender, yellow, purple, and peach hues paint the landscape, creating a picturesque display of natural beauty and serenity.
The beautiful chrysanthemums bloom in various vibrant colors during autumn.
botanical-name botanical name Chrysanthemum spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 2-4′
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

A hallmark of autumn, chrysanthemums bloom in profusion from early fall until frost in showy colors of the season.  Scarlet, gold, orange, pink, or purple blooms cover dark green leaves that mound and trail. Chrysanthemums, whether ornamental or perennial, brighten the cool-season garden as other flowers fade. 

Perennial chrysanthemums — hardy in the garden, loose in form, and rich in color — grow vigorously with upright or sprawling stems and a clumping habit.  ‘Ryan’s Pink’ is a lovely pale pink; ‘Mrs. Robinson gives prolific pincushions of deep red, and ‘Miss Gloria’s Thanksgiving Day’ is full of daisy-like variations of deep pink flowers.

Easy-care chrysanthemums grow best in moist, organically rich soils. They thrive in full sun and tolerate some shade, though plants become thin and leggy without enough sunlight.

Russian Sage

Abundance of Russian sage flowers in  purple hue, creating a mesmerizing display of nature's elegance. Illuminated by gentle sunlight, they sway gracefully, casting a tranquil aura of serenity and beauty in the garden landscape.
This blooms reliably from summer to frost with purple-blue blooms.
botanical-name botanical name Salvia yangii
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2-4’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9

Russian sage packs multi-season appeal with its silvery stems, gray-green leaves, and sprays of purple-blue blooms. A winner of the Perennial Plant Association’s Perennial Plant of the Year award, Russian sage blooms reliably from summer until frost. Whorling, tubular blooms line tall stems for an airy quality among the delicate foliage.

Key cultural requirements for best growth include full sun and well-draining soils to prevent fungal root rot. Look for disease-resistant varieties like ‘Denim in Lace’ and ‘Crazy Blue’ in climates with high humidity and rainfall. Russian sage performs beautifully in high heat with conditions on the dry side.

The attractive plants resemble lavender and make an excellent cold-hardy alternative. While the foliage is aromatic, it’s more of a menthol and camphor fragrance than herbal lavender. Plant Russian sage as a specimen among ornamental grasses, flowering plants, or in mass for impactful visual appeal.


A close-up of purple catmint flowers, showcasing delicate petals in exquisite detail. Each petite bloom elegantly lines the thin, graceful stems, creating a mesmerizing display of nature's beauty in miniature form.
The catmint is a versatile plant with fragrant leaves and prolific purple blooms.
botanical-name botanical name Nepeta racemosa
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 24-30″
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-8

Catmint, or Nepeta, bridges the herb and perennial garden with soft, fragrant, edible leaves. Pillows of mounding gray-green foliage give way to prolific purple bloom spikes covered with small, tubular flowers.

With its easy care and landscape versatility, catmint thrives with a bit of neglect. It blooms nonstop in warm months, persisting until frost. Grow it in a sunny or filtered light garden spot, and enjoy the busy pollinators visiting each flower for nectar. Deadhead spent flower spikes or shear the plant in mid-summer to encourage new blooms.

Nepeta repels insects like aphids and squash bugs in the garden with its slightly fuzzy and minty leaves. It is deer and rabbit-resistant, too.

Final Thoughts:

Sun-loving blooming plants delight the garden with a profusion of color. Full sun increases flowering and improves growth habit and disease resistance for those plants requiring six or more hours of sunlight daily.

Many full-sun plants withstand summer heat and dry spells, too. Others need increased water during hot months when absorption increases, and roots benefit from cooling moisture. The joy of the sun-soaked garden is the abundance of flowers poised to thrive. Blend perennials and annuals to infuse the landscape with color (and attract pollinators, too!).

A close-up of a daffodil field, showcasing vibrant blooms with white outer petals and sunny yellow centers, radiating warmth. The slender, green stems gracefully support each blossom, swaying gently in the breeze. Lush, emerald leaves provide a verdant backdrop, completing the picturesque scene.


31 Daffodil Varieties to Brighten Up Your Spring Garden

How can you tell spring is in the air? Daffodils! When these bright flowers start to bloom it is a sure sign spring is here. But you don't need to choose only plain yellow ones (although those are great too!). Daffodils come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Let Master Gardener Laura Elsner shows you 31 daffodil varieties that will brighten up your spring garden.

Vibrant marigolds bloom with a stunning display of red and gold petals, creating a vivid and cheerful contrast. Lush green leaves gracefully frame the blossoms, enhancing the overall beauty of this radiant floral arrangement.


21 Best Flowers for Gardeners with a Short Growing Season

If you live in a climate with a short growing season, it can be hard to find plants that grow fast enough to enjoy. The first frost comes all too soon. In this article, gardening expert Melissa Strauss discusses 21 flowers that work perfectly in short growing season climates.