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What to Plant in A Very Sunny Garden

by Fern on July 14, 2008

in Gardening in Full Sun

Last week, I posted about one common problem small space gardeners face: finding gorgeous plants for a shady container garden. But equally as difficult to deal with is a garden that is scortched by the sun. On a balcony that only receives a moderate amount of sun, containers can dry out quickly. This problem is multipled in a space that gets a lot of sun. In such gardens, it’s probably best to pick plants that prefer dry, sunny conditions. Or if you just can’t live without a water lover, pick large pots and plant them densly. Large pots tend to dry out less frequently than small pots, and a lack of exposed soil seems to also help keep moisture in the pot.

Many vegetables and herbs enjoy lots of sun. And there is always cacti, pretty much all of them like tons of sun and dry conditions. Succulents are also really popular these days, although be careful when selecting succulents because not all of them do well in full-sun. Try to stay away from metal containers because they can get really hot in the sun and toast your plants’ roots.

Sunny Container Garden Diagram

Try potting these plants together, they all prefer good drainage, light watering and full sun. And they are all pretty hardy:

  • Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass (A) – Has upright, bright green leaves and wheat colored flowers. Plant it towards the back so it can serve as a backdrop to the other plants.
  • Lavender Cotton (B) – I’m not really sure why this plant is called “Lavender Cotton” as there really isn’t anything purple about it. Anyway, this plant loves sun and prefers dry, sandy, poor soil. It has silvery, feathery foliage and bright orange pom-pom flowers. Plant it in the middle-back of the pot, in front of the feather reed grass. Hardy to zone 5.
  • Yarrow “Moonshine” (C) – Has four inch flower clusters with yellow flowers that appear in June and will keep on flowering until September if you dead head. Bonus: it has nice silver-green foliage. Plant it on the other side of the Lantana near the front.
  • Lantana “Lucious Citrus Blend” (D) – This plant is covered in clusters of multi-colored orange/red/yellow flowers and has a backdrop of dark green leaves. Lantana has the added benefit of attracting butterflies. Plant it very close to the front and to one side, and encourage it to spill over the side of the container. Note: lantana leaves can be poisonous to pets.

Other great full-sun, low-water plants: Echinecia purpurea “Fatal Attraction”, Russian Sage, Persian Shield, and Creeping Jenny “Goldilocks.” Also, check out this plan from Better Homes & Gardens for a full sun, high humidity container featuring an really beautiful Canna.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Metal Garden Sheds August 23, 2009 at 9:02 am

I would recommend the Yarrow Moonshine, its kind of understated in my opinion.

My friend has a lovely bed of them, each placed 7 inches apart.

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