The Best Flowers for Pots in Full Sun

Bring color to sunny spots in your garden by planting a container full of sun-loving plants. Here are 15 flowers that can withstand all the sun and heat that summer brings.

May 18, 2020

Photo By: Ball Horticultural Company

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Photo By: Ball Horticultural Company

Photo By: Image courtesy of the Atlanta Botanical Garden

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Zahara Zinnia

An old-fashioned favorite, zinnias had a makeover in 2018 when Ball Horticultural Company introduced this hot weather-happy zinnia. Zahara zinnia (Zinnia marylandica) unfurls non-stop flowers (no more deadheading) and leaves packed with disease resistance (no more powdery mildew). Drought-tolerant Zahara forms a mound 12 to 18 inches tall and wide, so they look tidy in a container. Look for varieties that open blossoms in a rainbow of hues.

Diamond Frost Euphorbia

When you plant Diamond Frost euphorbia, you're planting one of the most award-winning plants ever developed. More than 400 universities and botanical gardens have named it one of their top plants. This easy-care gem forms a blizzard in a pot, opening white flowers all season long. It grows best in sun, but flowers well in part shade, too.

Mandevilla Vine

Grow a touch of the tropics with bright mandevilla vine. Give it a drink of plant food weekly and you’ll be rewarded with a strong flower show. Showcase it alone in a pot, or pair it with other tropicals, like this majesty palm and pink Tropic Escape hibiscus, for a sizzling south-of-the-border container garden.

Supertunia Petunia

This charmer is Supertunia Vista Bubblegum, a type of nonstop flowering, easy-growing petunia. It never needs to be deadheaded and still keeps blooming — and growing. Plants form a pretty mound 12 to 24 inches high with stems trailing up to 3 feet. It’s gorgeous in a pot, delivering punches of color until hard fall frost.

Bolivian Begonia

Hailing from the Andes Mountains, this pretty tuberous begonia (B. boliviensis) explodes with flower power. Long, arching branches burst with colorful bell-like blooms. Fiery petal hues beckon hummingbirds like crazy, but you can also find flowers in pastel shades. Best of all, plants form tubers you can overwinter in a dormant state (keep soil on the dry side in a dark place). The tuber will resprout in spring.

Summer Snapdragon

For sunny spots and high heat, it’s tough to beat the flower show that summer snapdragon stages. Also known as Angelonia, this annual unfurls flower spikes in shades of purple, pink, white and bicolor blends. Blooms beckon butterflies all summer long and make perfect additions to garden-fresh bouquets (the flowers last and last).

Scaevola

If you crave blue tones in your full sun pots, make room for scaevola. Also known as fan flower, this low-maintenance annual tumbles out of containers — a perfect spiller plant. There’s no need to deadhead scaevola, either. It just keeps blooming.

Lantana

Lantana is a showstopper in container gardens, producing flowers in rich tones of pink, orange, gold and purple. Butterflies and hummingbirds adore lantana, so they'll attract wildlife to your garden. And lantana loves heat. Once temperatures start to sizzle, the flower fest begins and doesn't stop until fall frost. Here, it's paired with variegated yucca and white scaevola.

Calibrachoa

It's tough to beat the delightful hues of calibrachoa. This cutie resembles a mini-petunia, with varieties offering all kinds of color combinations and patterns, including gold and hot pink, flaming orange and deep red, and red with near-black throats. There's definitely a calibrachoa to suit your taste and color palette. The secret behind all that flower power is a big appetite. Keep the blossoms coming by giving plants liquid plant food every two weeks through the growing season. In this urn, calibrachoa forms a flowery skirt for a tuft of grass-like Toffe Twist sedge.

Dwarf Canna Lily

Bring a touch of the tropics to your garden with dwarf canna lilies. Unlike their taller kin, these cannas reach just 2 to 4 feet tall, so they're perfect for a pot. They're perennials in Zones 8 to 12; annuals in cooler climates.

Pro Tip: If you live in Zone 7 or lower, dig up the rhizomes in the fall, bring them indoors, and store them in a cool, dry place over the winter. You can replant them in the spring.

Sunray Sunflower

Everybody loves sunflowers but not everybody has room for these towering plants. Sunray is a dwarf variety that gets just 22 inches high, making them the Munchkins of sunflowers, so they’re perfect for a pot. The compact plants bear as many as 14 blooms per stalk, with each flower measuring about 4 inches in diameter. They're annuals and they’re easy to grow from seed.

Gerbera 'California Mixed Colors'

These elegant, daisy-like blooms look just like flowers a child would draw: colorful petals radiating from a yellow center. They grow on stems that get about a foot high and they'll bloom all summer if you deadhead them. Gerbera are good cut flowers, so snip them off and put a vase of them on your kitchen island.

Endurance Marigold

Marigolds are a classic sun-loving plant and they’re super easy to grow. Endurance marigolds are a hybrid that produce orange blooms measuring 3 inches across on plants that reach about a foot high. They're disease- and drought-resistant plants that bloom continuously all summer if you deadhead them.

Celosia 'Arrabona Red'

Celosia are showy, with their plumed, brilliant red flowers that stand like spires atop mounding plants. Arrabona Red is a dwarf variety that gets 14 to 18 inches tall. Celosia blooms from spring into late summer, giving you months of color. These sun-loving plants are drought and heat-tolerant, too, so they can take the toughest weather summer can dish out.

Pro Tip: These plants do best in dry climes. Too much rain makes them collapse and rot, so if you're in Mobile, Alabama, or New Orleans where almost 6 feet of rain falls each year, this may not be the plant for you.

Geranium

A classic for container gardens, geranium delivers strong color all season long. To keep the flowers coming, remove spent blossom heads by snapping the stem as close to the base as possible. Look for geraniums in a rainbow of hues, including red, white, pink, purple, coral and two-tone blends. This red geranium is paired with red-leaf coleus and gold Superbells Dreamsicle calibrachoa.

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