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Plants That Like Full Sun and Heat

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Embracing the Australian Sun in Your Garden

In Australia’s diverse climate, gardening under the full sun offers some unique challenges but also a fantastic opportunity to showcase resilient and vibrant plants.

The concept of ‘full sun’ (areas receiving at least six hours of direct sunlight daily) varies significantly across regions, affecting which plants will flourish. There are a few things you need to know to help you in selecting the right plants for your sun-drenched garden spots, transforming them into lush, vibrant havens that thrive in the Australian sun.

Understanding Your Garden’s Sunlight

When planning a sunny garden, the first step is recognising the unique patterns of sunlight your outdoor space receives. This understanding is the cornerstone of successful full sun gardening, guiding you to make informed decisions about plant selection and placement.


The Importance of Sunlight Mapping

Not all areas of your garden will receive the same amount of light, nor is the intensity of sunlight uniform throughout the day. In the morning, sunlight is generally less intense, while afternoon sun can be much harsher, especially in the peak of summer. This variability means a plant thriving in one garden corner might struggle just a few metres away.

Start by mapping out your garden’s sun exposure over a day. Identify areas that receive full sun, partial shade, and full shade. Remember, ‘full sun’ means an area gets at least six hours of direct sunlight daily, but the quality of that sunlight will vary significantly.


Tailoring Your Plant Selection

With a clear map of your garden’s sunlight exposure, you’re well-equipped to choose plants suited to each area’s specific conditions. This tailored approach ensures that sun-loving plants get the vibrant sunlight they crave, while more delicate varieties are protected from the harsh rays.

It’s also essential to consider the sun’s intensity across different seasons and how it affects plant growth and flowering patterns. Some plants prefer the milder full sun of spring, but require shade as the fierce summer sun sets in. By understanding and respecting the natural rhythms of your garden’s sunlight, you can create a dynamic space where each plant is best positioned.


Planning for Success in Full Sun

Local Climate Considerations

Australia’s vast landscape encompasses a wide range of climatic zones, from the dry heat of the arid interiors to the humid warmth of the tropics. This diversity means that a plant thriving in one area might not do so well in another. For full sun gardening, it’s vital to choose plants adapted to your region’s specific climate, including its temperature ranges, humidity levels, and rainfall patterns. If in doubt, have a chat with one of our experts who will be happy to help with advice on which plants will be best for your particular region.


Plants That Love the Spotlight

In the vibrant tapestry of your garden, plants that adore full sun play a starring role. These species, with their unique adaptations, turn the most sun-drenched parts of your garden into a riot of colour and life. From the delicate blooms of flowers to the robust greenery of shrubs, here are some of the plants that will make your garden a sunlit paradise:


1. Calibrachoa (Million Bells)

Calibrachoas are also known as million bells, which gives some clues about their flowers. With lovely petunia-like flowers, these plants are perfect for hanging baskets or ground covers, blooming profusely in a spectrum of colours with ample sunlight.


2. Aloes

Aloe hybrids such as big red are highly adaptable, long lived and low maintenance plants, able to tolerate a range of climatic extremes including heat, frost and drought once established.

Aloe big red is a tall-stemming variety that sports multiple bright red flower spikes in winter with a long flowering season. Water occasionally over summer dry periods.


3. Santolina (Cotton Lavender)

Santolina cotton lavender (Santolina chamaecyprissus) is a hardy Mediterranean shrub that is not actually a lavender. These plants offer silvery-green foliage and yellow flowers, thriving in dry, full sun conditions.

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4. Daylilies

Known for their drought and frost resistance, these perennials require 5-7 hours of sun daily and reward with colourful, long-lasting blooms. 


5. Agapanthus

Adaptable and low maintenance, agapanthus are suited to a wide range of conditions, including full sun, offering blooms in blues, purples, and white.

Shrubs and Trees for Sunny Spots

Beyond flowers, certain shrubs and small trees are particularly suited to life under the full sun, providing structure and shade. Native Shrubs such as Grevillea, Protea, and Salvia, have adapted to thrive in full sun and also attract local wildlife. Small trees that love the sun include miniature fruit trees, Callistemon (Bottlebrush), and Citrus trees. They are excellent for adding height and shade to sunlit garden areas.


Unique Picks for Special Areas

Climbing Plants like the mandevilla and bougainvillea bloom profusely in full sun, adding vertical interest and colour. Poolside Plants like daylilies and lavender, with their drought resistance and low maintenance, are perfect companions for sunny poolside spots.


Cultivate Your Sunlit Paradise

Embrace the vibrant potential of full sun in your garden by choosing the right companions from Garden Express. Whether you’re aiming for a riot of colourful blooms, or a serene green space, we have the perfect selection to bring your vision to life. Don’t wait to transform your sun-drenched spots into thriving showcases of resilience and beauty. We invite you to check out our fantastic range of sun loving plants at Garden Express today.


FAQ: Thriving Gardens in Full Sun

What are the best plants to plant in full sun?

The best plants for full sun are those that are naturally drought-resistant and thrive in direct sunlight for at least 6 hours a day. Examples include Calibrachoa, Aloes, Santolina, Daylilies, and Agapanthus. These plants are well-suited to the Australian climate and offer a variety of colours and textures to enhance your garden.

Can I use plants for planters in full sun areas?

Absolutely! Container plants for full sun include succulents like Agave and Sedum, as well as flowering plants like Geranium (Pelargonium) and Canna Lilies. Containers allow for flexibility in managing soil quality and moisture, making them an excellent choice for sun-drenched spots.

Are there green plants that like full sun?

Yes, there are many green plants that enjoy full sun, such as conifers, Box hedging, Liriope, and Agapanthus. These plants add a lush, green backdrop to your sun-loving blooms and are vital for creating a balanced garden aesthetic.

What flowers love full sun?

Flowers that love full sun include Salvias, Brugmansia, Angelonia, Lavender, Roses, and Gerberas. These species are known for their resilience in sunny conditions and will bring a burst of colour to your garden.

Can shrubs thrive in full sun?

Shrubs like Salvia, Grevillea, and Lavender are excellent choices for full sun areas. They provide structure, attract pollinators, and can handle the heat with minimal care.

What are some climbing plants suitable for full sun?

Climbing plants that excel in full sun include Mandevilla, Jasmine, Bougainvillea, and Roses. They’re perfect for adding vertical interest to walls, fences, and trellises.

What are some good poolside plants for full sun?

Poolside plants that thrive in full sun include Daylilies, Lavender, and Heucheras. These plants are not only beautiful but also resistant to the reflective heat and occasional splashes of chlorinated water.

What are the best small trees for pots in full sun?

The best small trees for pots in full sun include miniature fruit trees, Callistemon, Citrus, and Frangipani. They offer height and structure while being adaptable to container living.

Which plants are recommended for hanging baskets in full sun?

Calibrachoa and Heucheras are fantastic choices for hanging baskets in full sun. Their trailing habits and vibrant flowers or foliage create stunning visual interest.

Get started today

Garden Express stocks a huge range of sun-loving varieties to try in your garden this summer. Browse our range online today.

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