Knowing which plants will thrive in harsh full-sun locations of your garden can make a huge difference in your landscaping appearance and budget. Be mindful about the species you plant in areas that face west or south. Be sure to select those that thrive in heat and direct sunlight. You’ll save money, time and water, and have a more beautiful garden overall.
Expect to water plants a bit more when they’re growing in full sun locations. Many plants can withstand heat and sun, but require additional water to do so. Some plants native to arid regions might withstand the heat without getting too thirsty. Others are naturally drought resistant, but they’re only hardy after they’ve become established. For the most part, though, make sure you give the plants in the sun every drop of water they need.
Zinnias, marigolds and Asters are great annual flower options for full sun areas. They’re not drought-resistant, so you’ll still need to spend a lot of time with the watering can. If you’re looking for something a little more low-maintenance, consider yarrow, aloe, coreopsis, gaillardia, rose moss, salvia and verbena, which are considered drought resistant flowers. Most herbs thrive in the hot sun, so don’t hold back on the parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (as well as the basil, oregano, cilantro and lavender).
If you’re still concerned about the amount of heat your full sun garden is getting, consider planting some trees for shade. Small garden trees and dwarf varieties do much to regulate the temperatures around them. Try planting citrus, fig, magnolia, Carolina laurel cherry or ornamental pear trees, which do well in heat but still need water. Acacia, eucalyptus, fig and walnut trees are great in hot areas, and are also drought-resistant.
Make sure you give your drought-resistant plants and trees the time they need to establish deep root patterns before pulling back on the water you give them. The time it takes for drought-resistant plants to become established varies depending on the species, so read instructions and talk to your local specialist for details.
You can also grow heat- or drought-resistant vines on walls that reflect a lot of solar power in order to regulate the amount of reflection the rest of your garden is receiving. Vines that do well to protect their full sun comrades include bougainvillea and wisteria Guinea gold vine and climbing roses.
And if you’re still worried about your full sun plants, cover your garden with 1 to 2 inches of mulch. Mulch does a good job of storing water and regulating temperatures. Ground up bark, compost cocoa shells and straw are great options for organic insulation. For best results, mulch early in the growing season, just after planting.
Be selective about the species you plant in direct heat and sunlight. Not only will you save money and time, but you’ll make the most of your space and the sun’s energy. The effort you spend watering in the beginning will ultimately pay off with a hardy, beautiful full sun garden.