Full Sun Container Plants – Great Container Plants That Like Sun

By Mary Ellen Ellis | June 6, 2020
by Mary Ellen Ellis
June 6, 2020

Container gardening is a great way to make use of limited outdoor space but also provides more variety and visual interest in larger gardens. Some plants do better than others in restricted space and, if you’re filling in sunny spots, you’ll need to choose just the right container plants that like sun.

Growing a Full Sun Container Garden

For a successful sunny container garden, start by choosing the right containers. Just about anything can be a container for a plant, but make sure that anything you use from a pot to an old boot, has good drainage. If you’re using a non-conventional container, make a few holes in the bottom so the plant roots won’t get soggy.

Choose a potting soil that is light and will help with drainage. You can buy pre-made potting soil or mix your own, but don’t just use dirt from the garden or yard. A simple but successful recipe for container gardening is half peat moss and half perlite.

Keep in mind that to maintain a potted garden you will need to water more frequently than you do a flower bed. The soil will dry out much more quickly. Some plants even need watering daily or twice a day.

Ideas for Full Sun Container Plants

Putting potted plants in the sun, meaning a spot that gets six hours or more of good sunlight, requires that you choose the right varieties. These plants both thrive in full sun and tolerate being in a container. Some excellent choices to I like to include are:

  • Million bells – The flowers of million bells grow up and spill over, making for a pretty container display.
  • Verbena – For blooms all summer long, choose verbena.
  • Petunia – This is a classic full sun annual. In recent years a number of new colors and patterns have become available. Just be aware that petunia needs trimming and deadheading to avoid legginess.
  • Herbs – Several herbs do well in containers and in the sun. Try lemongrass, lavender, parsley, and thyme.
  • Coleus – Chosen for its vibrant and varied foliage, you won’t even need flowers in a container with a mix of coleus varieties, many of which are suitable for sunny areas.
  • Ornamental grasses – Use these “spikes” to give your container gardens height. Most types of ornamental grasses do well in full sun.
  • Dahlia Dahlias come in so many varieties, shapes, sizes, and colors. They do very well in containers. Since there are so many different sizes, be sure to match the dahlia you choose to a container of the appropriate size.
  • Gomphrena – This flower grows like little round pom pons. Gomphrena make great cut flowers and stand up well after drying as well. 
  • Portulaca – If you have a particularly dry climate, this desert plant provides carpet-like growth that covers the surface of containers. Portulaca tolerates drought and produces pretty flowers in a range of colors.
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