The Guide to Full Sun Plants

Picking plants that will perform best for each area of the garden is key when creating a garden that functions and looks great all year long.

Lotus Moon Pearlbush white flowers

One characteristic that’s important to consider and understand before you pick the plants that will make up your garden is the amount of sun or shade they will receive each day.

We’re diving into those garden spots that shine with sun all day long and what plants will thrive in that space. Because the real question is, while you might love the look of a specific plant, will that plant love its home in full sun?

Understanding Sun Exposure

The first step in knowing which plants you can pick for your space is understanding the garden exposure. Exposure is just a fancy way of saying the amount of sun or shade that area receives throughout the day.

A great way to determine this is by pulling out a notebook and spending a few days throughout the summer keeping track of how much sun or shade your garden receives throughout the day.

If your garden receives at least six hours of direct sunlight every day, it is considered a full sun garden. Full sun gardens are common in yards with little to no trees or on the southern side of the yard, where the sun tends to shine the longest.

Know What Plants Thrive in Full Sun

Bali Hibiscus

Once you know that you’re working with a full sun garden, you can dive into picking the perfect plants. Each plant variety has specific conditions in which they thrive, like Hardiness Zone, soil type, and of course, exposure.

So, when looking for plants online or at your local garden center, make sure to look for the words “Full Sun” under the exposure information for that plant.

Lotus Moon Pearlbush plant information

Sun Loving Plants that are Sure to Shine

The First Editions® Shrubs & Trees collection is packed full of sun loving plants for all different regions and garden needs! Make sure to browse through our plant page, where you can look for that perfect plant for your full sun garden. But, if you’re someone who likes a few tips on where to start, we’ve got you covered. Here are just a few of our favorite plants that will make your full sun garden shine!

Lotus Moon Pearlbush

Lotus Moon is a spring blooming machine that is covered in gorgeous pearl-like white flowers. Rated for Zones 3-7, this shrub grows into a nice, mounded shape that maxes out at 4-5 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide.

Neon Burst Dogwood

Rated for Zones 3-7, Neon Burst Dogwood is a multi-season stunner! Growing to 4-6 feet tall and wide, white flowers bloom in the spring and are closely followed by white berries, which birds adore. The lovely chartreuse leaves age to a rainbow of purple, red, yellow, and orange in the autumn. In the winter, the red stems of Neon Burst bring lovely color to the winter landscape.

Lambrusco Barberry

Like the other barberry in First Editions®, Lambrusco is a great deer-resistant and drought-tolerant option for full sun gardens. Lambrusco is rated for Zones 4-7 and grows to a height of 2-3 feet and width of 3-5 feet. (Barberry is invasive in certain areas, so make sure to check with your local extension office before planting in your landscape.)

French Cabaret Purple Hibiscus

French Cabaret Purple Hibiscus brings tropical vibes to the garden without having to live in a tropical climate! Rated for Zones 5-8, French Cabaret is an excellent option for smaller garden spaces or as a feature in a container to add color to a patio or deck. Check out the hibiscus collection to see which ones you need in your full sun garden!

Sunset Magic Crapemyrtle

Sunset Magic, rated for Zones 7-9, is a gorgeous dark leaf crapemyrtle that features blooms of red throughout the season. Not only does this plant and all the crapemyrtles in First Editions® thrive in full sun gardens, but it attracts butterflies, is a fantastic privacy planting, and is deer resistant.

Pinktini Lilac

Pinktini Lilac is perfect for small space gardens that are in need of gorgeous blooms from late spring to early summer. Rated for Zones 2-7, Pinktini is a great option for full sun gardens in cold climates. Make sure to check out all of the sun loving lilacs in First Editions®!

Bubblegum Pink Phlox

If you’re in the market for a perennial that loves the sun, phlox is where it’s at. The phlox in First Editions®, like Bubblegum Pink, are rated for Zones 3-8, grow to a height of 18-22 inches and width of 18-24 inches, and are gorgeously fragrant. No matter which First Editions® phlox you choose, it sure to add a pop of color to your full sun garden!

Remember, this is just a small list of plants that thrive in full sun. There are many more plants in the First Editions® collection that love the sun, like our potentilla, ninebark, and arborvitae collections. Browse through our plant page to find all of the sun loving plants that will thrive in your full sun gardens.

You can shop the First Editions® collection online during our shipping season and also use our Find a Retailer tool to locate First Editions® shrubs at garden centers near you. Remember to tag us on social if you plant one of these shrubs and sign up for our newsletter for monthly inspiration tips and more delivered right to your inbox.