The Best Flowers for Full Sun

Find the prettiest bloomers for your yard’s sunny spots from this collection of low-maintenance perennials.

August 27, 2019
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Photo By: Proven Winners

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Photo By: Julie Martens Forney

Photo By: Walters Gardens

Photo By: Julie Martens Forney

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Photo By: Photo courtesy of Proven Winners

Photo By: Image courtesy of Sunset

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Perennial hibiscus fills the summer garden with stunning, dinner plate-size blooms. Usually hibiscus grows 5 feet or more high, but new varieties like Summerific ‘Perfect Storm’ top out at 3 feet, fitting neatly into small gardens and perennial borders. White flowers with a bright red eye and pink edged petals open to a whopping 7 to 8 inches across. The secret to great growth is ample water. Hardy in Zones 4-9.

Purple Coneflower

Give your garden a burst of color with a drift of native purple coneflower. Deer- and rabbit-resistant, this drought-tolerant beauty beckons butterflies, bees and goldfinches, who feast on the spiky seedheads. Plant breeders have worked to improve this flower powerhouse by expanding blossom color and form. Look for coneflower plants in a rainbow of shades, including red, gold, white, orange and pink. Hardy in Zones 3-8.


If you like black-eyed susan, check out Echibeckia. This new kid on the garden block combines the winter hardiness of purple coneflower (Echinacea) with the fast growth and sunny colors of black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia). Flowers stand atop sturdy stems and appear all summer long. Remove spent blooms to keep the blossoms coming. Hardy in Zones 6-10.

'Millennium' Allium

Give your garden a touch of fun with the rose-purple spheres of ‘Millenium’ allium. This is an onion cousin, so deer and rabbits leave it alone. The strong, upright stems are topped with long-lasting colorful flowers from mid- to late summer. Blooms beckon bees, butterflies and other pollinators. This allium doesn’t self-seed. Hardy in Zones 3-9.


A native wildflower, coreopsis brings reliable color to the garden. This red and yellow type is plains coreopsis (C. tinctoria). It self-seeds freely, so plantings enlarge over time. Simply remove spent flowers to keep seeds from forming. Other coreopsis varieties include the pale yellow ‘Moonbeam’ (sterile blooms so no self-seeding), ‘Desert Coral’ (orange and red flowers) and ‘Li’l Bang Starstruck’ (pink and white blossoms). Hardiness varies; plains coreopsis is hardy in Zones 3-11.

Bee Balm

Stage your own floral fireworks show with bee balm (Monarda didyma). Also known as Oswego tea, this beauty opens flowers all summer long. Blooms attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Look for bee balm in a host of colors and plant sizes (from 12 to 40 inches tall)—there’s one to fit any spot in your garden. Hardy in Zones 4-9.

Russian Sage

Drought-tolerant and deer-resistant, Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) delivers true season-long color. Purple flowers open in midsummer. After blossoms fade, a purple bract that holds each bloom remains well into October. For winter, silvery stems look great against snow. Hardy in Zones 4-9.


Include daylily on your planting list for eye-catching blooms in nearly any color imaginable, including red, gold, coral, purple, white and many bicolor blends. Flowers open large (like ‘Ruby Spider,’ above—9-inch blooms) or small, and some can be fragrant. Most daylily flowers last a single day. Hardy in Zones 3-9.


Also known as licorice mint, or by its botanical name Agastache, every part of this plant serves a scent-sational feast, with flowers and leaves releasing a licorice mint smell when brushed. Individual orange blossoms sprout from lavender bases, creating a two-tone color show. The flower spikes beckon hummingbirds, butterflies and bees, while giving deer the brush-off. Plant it with blue fescue for a glowing color combination. Hardy in Zones 5-9.

Blazing Star

Every garden needs vertical interest, and prairie blazing star (Liatris) delivers. Purple flower spikes are irresistible to bees and butterflies; goldfinches harvest the seed. Choose short varieties like this ‘Kobold’ (Liatris spicata ‘Kobold,’ grows 24 to 40 inches tall, flowers early summer), or towering types like prairie blazing star (Liatris pycnostachya, grows 2 to 5 feet tall, flowers late summer). Hardy in Zones 3-8.

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