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Container Plants for Full Sun

It’s time to spruce up the patios and porches with some plants! Dust off the old planters and get them pretty for all the plants. But if you’re like me, you need some ideas for plants that can handle the beating rays of the sun. If you’re looking for ideas for some sun loving plants, look no further. I’ve got a fantastic list of container plants for full sun areas to keep your planters looking spiffy all summer!

Full sun for me means hours of scorching rays particularly in the months of August and September. Plant varieties like succulents, Portulaca, and Zinnias are just a few options for container plants that love full sun.

I’ve got so many areas in the yard that get a full 6 hours of sun each day and I need plants that can stand up to the elements. 

Full sun tends to mean at least 6 hours of sun each day. And don’t worry. There are plenty of colorful container plants on this list to bring some variety to your planters.

I live in the South in Zone 8a – Basically, we have scorching heat from June often through October. Our temps reach upper 90’s in August and that means I need plants that can take full sun as well as high temperatures.

Find your planting zone here!

Sometimes planting is trial and error. There are plenty of times I research a plant and it seems like it’ll be perfect for full sun and it still doesn’t do well or it thrives when I think it won’t. Flower gardening is meant to be fun so just know that not everything works out perfectly. And it’s ok.

So after a few years of trial and error, these are my favorite container plants for full sun!

Amazing Container Plants for Full Sun Areas


Succulents are a black thumb gardener’s dream come true for those of us that sometimes neglect our plants. Forget to water them? No problem. Forget they even exist for a while? No problem. And you can find succulents at any big box store or home and garden center.

See how to grow succulents inside here

I’ve found they can be a bit more expensive than regular flowers, but for the low maintenance, I’ll pay a few bucks extra. And they aren’t just green. You can find variations of purple, pink, yellow, rust color, and green succulents. 

Throw them in a planter with some potting soil, add a few rocks for drainage purposes and done! I love to plant succulents in old enamelware bowls for a vintage feel. Or find a cool galvanized planter and load it up. Get all the info you need including the best types for sun in this article from Succulents and Sunshine.

Succulents growing in a rustic metal container with rocks on a shelf outside.


Zinnias are a show stopper. They come in a variety of bright colors and these love the sun! Pick up some seed packets or buy them as plants at any garden store and get ready for a burst of color with continuous flowers all summer long.

These are in my top five list of flowers. They are easy to grow and they attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Get a decent-sized planter and only plant one per planter because they grow fast and spread out. 

Check out the best planting zones for Zinnias

Close-up of bright pink zinnias with bright green leaves growing outside.


Another one from my top five list, Portulaca is stunning. Yellow, orange, pink, white, fuschia, purple, red – you name it, you can likely find the color you love. Or get a mixed 6 pack from the garden store and have all the colors.

These are perfect for hanging baskets or containers and you’ll have flowers all summer. Keep them watered and they are pretty much fuss-free. I use them in old watering cans, planters, and old enamelware pots. 

Blooms just keep coming on these full sun-loving plants. And they are very inexpensive. You can get 12 plants for less than $8 most places. I put about 4 or 5 in each container depending on the size and only about 2 in my watering cans. $8 will go a long way in adding some color this summer! 

Yellow and pink portulaca flowers grow in a metal container outside.
Red portulaca flowers grow in dark soil inside a white container on a front porch.


These are a must for containers! Easy to grow, calibrachoa requires little care aside from feeding them once in a while. Water them, feed them when they look a little yellow, and you’ll have a gorgeous trailing container plant in no time. Varying shades of red, pink, yellow, white will give your patio hanging baskets a show.

I recently planted some of these in some galvanized hanging baskets and they are gorgeous. I water them once a day and so far they are doing great! BHG has more great info on these beautiful plants.

Pink calibrachoa plants grow inside a hanging metal container outside.


Heavenly smells and sun-loving, lavender is a must for your full sun areas. Drought tolerant also which is a plus for those hot summer days. Of course, you don’t have to plant a whole field of lavender, but what a great view that would be!

Get a nice large planter with plenty of drainage holes (lavender doesn’t want to sit in a soggy pot) and make sure it gets 6-8 hours of sun daily. See more about growing lavender here.

A large field filled with rows of lavender.


Petunias come in a variety of colors from white, pink, red, purple, and yellow. They’re deer resistant and they like the sun. Another bonus is they are low maintenance too. These are easily found at any garden store and you can get a pack of 6 for a few bucks, pop them into a planter, and pretty much move on.

Water them and they will give you flowers all summer! This article from the Farmer’s Almanac gives you all the details on growing petunias.

A thick patch of pink petunias growing outside.


Some of the most stunning and huge flowers you’ll find – hibiscus are well worth the effort. They like at least 6 hours of sun daily and you need to water them. But, they will come back year after year. However, they do need shelter in the winter though.

Grow them in a planter you can bring inside a garage or in the house in the winter. You won’t need to do much for them in the winter and take it back outside when the temps are consistently above freezing. Get more details here.

Close-up of a pink Hibiscus flower growing outside.


Verbena flowers are excellent choices for containers, window boxes, and borders. They come in a variety of colors and will give you blooms all summer. Gorgeous small clusters of flower petals all summer and many varieties are perennial so you’ll get the benefit year after year.

Check out this article from Gardening Know How for more info on this spectacular sun-loving plant.

A large thick patch of purple Verbena flowers growing outside.


Coneflowers come in a variety of colors including purple, red, pink, and yellow. They thrive in full sun and can be planted in the ground or they also do great in containers.

Coneflowers can grow between 2 and 5 feet tall – they can add height and will look amazing in a large planter with smaller plants also. One of my favorite things about Coneflowers is they attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

Since they are prolific bloomers, you can use these for cutting flowers too and add them to a vase for a thrifty way to have an indoor flower arrangement.

There are so many choices of sun-loving plants that will tolerate the heat of the summer and give you flowers all summer! Add some of these container plants for full sun to your porches or patios this year and enjoy!

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And don’t forget to check out the Top Shade Loving Plants and Gorgeous Perennials also!
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Tuesday 23rd of April 2024

This is great! Perfect time for the spring. Just finished my annual spring carpet cleaning, which means the next step is to decorate. Can't wait to use these ideas. <3

donna zadlo

Saturday 2nd of May 2020

I also love zinnias. What other plants go well with them in containers?

create and find

Sunday 3rd of May 2020

Hey Donna! They get fairly large but if your container is big enough, you could add some petunias in there with your zinnias. They lay a bit lower than the zinnias and would look so pretty together.

Shelley Clark

Thursday 14th of March 2019

I have such a passion for flowering plants-all plants actually but especially flowering ones. They bring me joy & they help me to relax & enjoy their beauty & if there’s a fragrance to the flower That always a plus.;-D Spring time is my All Time favorite time of the year as the flowers SPRING forth color. I’m doing my research on how to keep the blooming time continuing through the Summer Season’ Thank You So Very Much for your helpful information. May your Day be as Beautiful as a Fragrant Flower!


Thursday 14th of March 2019

Thank you so much Shelley for your kind comments. I agree with you 100%. I walked out of work yesterday and saw all the flowers and potted plants for sale and it just made my heart smile thinking about all the gorgeous color coming soon!