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15 Shrubs for Growing in Full Sun

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picture of leaves of shrub

Shrubs serve many purposes in a garden. They can add color, provide privacy and make a garden look more interesting. When designing your garden, it’s important to consider how much sunlight it will get and choose shrubs that will thrive.

If your garden receives six to eight hours of sunlight every day, you should be on the lookout for perfect shrubs for full sun. There are many to choose from, and each one has its own characteristics.

Here are some of the most beautiful and interesting shrubs for the full sun:

Black Lace Elderberry

Black Lace elderberry can offer a dramatic addition to your garden. Its very dark purple — almost black — leaves offer a backdrop of lace in contrast with the delicate light pink flowers that appear on top in small flat clusters. The flowers bloom from June to July and have a fragrant lemon scent. Come autumn, the flowers will become dark, ripe elderberries that are perfectly edible.

Black Lace elderberry can grow up to six to eight feet (two to two-and-a-half meters) tall and six to eight feet (two to two-and-a-half meters) wide. This plant can self-pollinate. However, if you want to have as many berries as possible, you should plant a cultivar nearby.

Peach Lemonade Rose

The Peach Lemonade Rose is a unique type of shrub. Its flowers continually bloom all season and change colors over time. They are yellow when they’re young and then fade to white and light pink as they mature. The plant can reach two to three feet (60-90 cm) tall and two to three feet (60-90 cm) wide.

What adds to the desirable characteristics of this plant is that it’s highly disease resistant, so you likely don’t have to consider strategies for disease prevention.

Flamingo Willow

The Flamingo Willow is a very interesting-looking shrub. It features red stems with leaves that start white and pink and then turn into multicolored green and white.

This plant can grow up to four to six feet (120-180 cm) tall and five to seven feet (150-210 cm) wide. You can keep a Flamingo Willow as a shrub or prune the lower branches to make it a tree.

Rockrose

The Rockrose is a beautiful shrub that doesn’t require a lot of attention. It grows up to three to five feet (one to one and a half meters) tall and three to five (one to one and a half meters) wide. It blooms for one month in late spring and early summer, and its flowers can be purple, pink, or white, depending on the species, with yellow centers.

If you keep a Rockrose sufficiently watered during its first growing season, it never has to be watered or fertilized again. If you don’t have all the time in the world to care for your shrubs, this may be the perfect one for you.

Lilac

The lilac is known for its beautiful cone-shaped clusters of small flowers: purple, pink, blue, white, or occasionally yellow. A lilac can grow up to 20-23 feet (six to seven meters) tall and six to 12 feet (two to four meters) wide.

It has gray — sometimes brownish-gray — bark, which contrasts nicely with its pastel-colored flowers. They bloom in the spring, and their scent is strong and sweet. Not only do they smell sweet, but they also taste sweet. Lilacs are edible flowers that have a sugary floral taste when you pop one straight into your mouth.

There are a few ways to eat lilac flowers:

  • Use them as an eclectic addition to a salad
  • Sprinkle them onto a cake for a lovely and edible garnish
  • Make candied lilac flowers with egg whites and sugar
  • For something a little stronger, soak them in vodka to make a cordial

As far as perfect shrubs for full sun go, the lilac is one of the best.

Mock Orange

If you’re designing a garden that will attract butterflies, mock orange is a great pick. It can grow up to 10-12 feet (three to four meters) tall and 10-12 feet (three to four meters) wide.

It blooms delicate-looking white flowers that look like orange blossoms in late spring and will continue to bloom year after year as long as the plant is kept healthy. It also emits a strong and sweet scent when it blooms.

There are several mock oranges: miniature snowflakes and snowbell bloom with double flowers, particularly the lovely scent.

Tiger Eyes Staghorn Sumac

The tiger eyes staghorn sumac grows up to six feet (two meters) tall and six feet (two meters) wide. This unique shrub isn’t characterized as much by its flowers as it is by its leaves.

On pinkish-red stems, young leaves start green and then quickly change to yellow. There is a beautiful and striking contrast between the intense reds, oranges, and yellows in the autumn.

The shape of the leaves gives this shrub an almost tropical appearance. On its many upward-facing branches, the leaves are lobed, much longer than wide, and point down, giving the shrub an interesting shape.

Japanese Flowering Quince

The Japanese flowering quince is a shrub that grabs attention with its brightly colored flowers. The plant is native to Japan, with flowers that bloom in the spring and maybe red-orange, pink, or sometimes white.

From its thorn-covered branches, it bears fruit that is too hard to eat straight from the plant but can be cooked to soften and made into jam or combined with another fruit and baked into a pie.

This shrub can grow up to two to three feet (half a meter to one meter) tall and up to six feet (two meters) wide. This shrub is a fantastic choice for those who would like to attract bees, birds, and butterflies to their garden.

Beautyberry

Beautyberry grows up to three to six feet (one to two meters) tall and three to six feet (one to two meters) wide, on average. From late spring to the middle of summer, it blooms tiny, light purple or pink flowers.

The flowers, however, only accompany the plant’s best aesthetic quality. It bears breathtaking blueish-purple berries that can begin in late fall and can continue to thrive into the wintertime. The bright color on a winter backdrop can steal your gaze. The berries are even safe to eat and cook with.

Remember that since they are bright and edible, they may attract wildlife, which could be welcomed or not, depending on where you live.

Crystalina Summersweet

This lovely summertime shrub grows up to three feet (one meter) tall and two to three feet (half a meter to one meter) wide. It is a dense shrub with dark leaves that turn yellow in the fall. You can prune the branches to shape them.

In the middle of summer, it blooms pointed clusters of small white flowers that emit a sweet scent, which can be compared to vanilla. This is an excellent shrub for attracting butterflies to your garden.

Rose Gold Pussy Willow

Pussy Willows are very different from most types of shrub you’ll find, and the rose gold type is even more distinctive. The Rose Gold Pussy Willow grows up to six to 10 feet (two to three meters) tall and six to 12 feet (two to four meters) wide.

It features many small flower clusters — that don’t have petals — called catkins, which are furry and soft to the touch. They bloom in the middle of spring and start silver before changing to red, then orange, and finally yellow, which gives it its rose gold appearance.

Tropical Hibiscus

Tropical hibiscus grows up to four to 10 feet (one to three meters) tall and five to eight feet (one and a half to two and a half meters) wide. Its most striking feature is its vibrantly colorful trumpet-shaped flowers that bloom all year in tropical climates or from summer to fall if kept in containers.

The flowers may be red, pink, purple, peach, orange, yellow, or white. They may also be multicolored. Some have one color in the center that gradually changes to one or more different colors moving outward to the edge of the flower. Others contain colors that create a tye-dye effect. This really is one of the perfect shrubs for full sun.

Keep in mind that these gorgeous plants require quite a lot of water. If you live in a drier climate, you may need to water your tropical hibiscus once or twice a day.

Fairy Magnolia White

In 10-20 years, this evergreen shrub can grow up to nine to 12 feet (two and a half to three and a half meters) tall and five to eight feet (one and a half to two and a half meters) wide. The bloom of this shrub can be somewhat unpredictable. Its bright white, fragrant flowers bloom when they’re ready, sometime between summer and autumn.

Fairy Magnolia White has dense dark green leaves and has bushy growth tendencies. It is a fairly easy shrub to take care of and effectively provides privacy with loose or dense coverage. You can plant it to form a hedge that will drop beautiful petals along a walkway.

Goldfinger Potentilla

The Goldfinger Potentilla can grow two to three feet (half a meter to one meter) tall and two to three feet (half a meter to one meter) wide. It is a compact plant with dark leaves, which offer a delightful contrast to the bright yellow flowers bloom into autumn. With its beautiful flowers, this shrub doesn’t only appeal to humans — it also attracts bees and butterflies.

The Goldfinger Potentilla is also deer resistant and free of pests and diseases. It is a fairly low-maintenance plant, so some light trimming and lots of snares are all you need to keep this plant healthy and thriving.

Adam’s Needle

Adam’s Needle is an evergreen shrub with long, thin, pointed leaves. It can grow up to four to eight feet (one to two and a half meters) tall and two to three (half a meter to one meter) wide. It blooms small white flowers that grow on the end of tall stalks in late spring to early summer.

It is related to other common cactus and succulent plants and, as such, requires little water and minimal overall maintenance. This distinctive plant will attract butterflies. However, it will also attract earwigs. Don’t worry, though — these insects are unlikely to do any harm to these shrubs.

Conclusion on 15 Shrubs for Growing in Full Sun

Full-sun plants don’t have to be a source of concern. You should be rewarded with gorgeous flowers and foliage if you choose ones that flourish in your location and are heat and drought-tolerant. Plant different species that bloom at different seasons so that there is always something in bloom in your pots for seasonal interest.

It’s important to keep in mind that these plants are toxic to dogs and cats, as well as humans. So if you have any pets in the house who satisfy their curiosity by tasting them, you should keep these shrubs in a place where your pets can’t reach them.

If you want to grow shrubs but your area is shady. I wrote an article showing the best shrubs to grow in shady areas. You can read it here.

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