Dig it!

Shrubs That Grow in Full Sun

Sick and tired of planting shrubs that shrivel up and die? Or just overwhelmed with high maintenance plants that require continuous watering?

Planting the right plant in the right place is the solution, IF you know what to plant. 

What is a "full sun" landscape?

A sunny bright yard requires plants that can handle a lot of sun. Wondering if you have a "full sun" landscape? Here's how we define "full sun":

  • little to no shade from mature trees or nearby homes
  • typically faces south
  • or gets 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day.

Shrubs that grow in full sun are synonymous with "drought tolerant" shrubs, especially for homeowners that don't want to deal with additional maintenance or watering than necessary.

The good news is there are plenty of options. There are many beautiful plants that thrive in a hot, dry environment. Let's take a closer look at some of our favorite options.

Wondering what to plant in your sunny landscape? From A-Z, The Barn Nursery has compiled a list of easy to grow shrubs we recommend for just these conditions.


11 Best Shrubs for Full Sun


Barberry rock in hot temperatures. For deep, rich purple and red foliage, barberry are a top choice for full sun barberry.jpgareas. In shade, foliage will remain more green, but in a full sun landscape, these shrubs burst with color. See some of the top perfroming barberry here. See Barberry pic to the right.


Forsythia are the harbingers of spring. With vibrant yellow blooms that arrive at the beginning of spring, forsythia are a popular landscape shrubs and make a great hedge or privacy screen. They also love the sun and can take harsh conditions. Popular varieties of forsythia include, Magical Gold, Show Off Starlet, and Lynwood Gold. Click here to see these specific varieties.


Believe it or not, some hydrangea can take the heat. But only panicle varieties.

Panicle varieties are the most hardy and best blooming varieties. Choices of panicle hydrangea include the Little Lime, Limielight, Bobo and Pinky Winky. Click here to learn more about hydrangea.


Lilacs love sun. They are also hardy, tough and easy to grow. Lilacs all offer the same sweet fragrant blooms with a variety of choices of color and sizes. Take a closer look at lilacs our garden center has available and the cninebark-4.jpghoices you have on our plantfinder tool.


Ninebark are drought resistant and require little maintenance. They are prized for their deep purple foliage and pretty white to pink blooms. Ninebark can adapt to any soil conditions and also have pretty autumn color. Read about size and variety options here.


Privet are the ultimate hedge shrub. They are easy to establish and grow, with little to no maintenance. For formal hedges, simple pruning for shape is required. Cheyenne Privet is the most commonly used variety and make an ideal choice for full sun. Read about the Cheyenne Privet here.


Potentilla aren't the most trendy plant but they've earned their spot in any landscape. These cheerful little shrubs love the sun and bloom in a variety of colors including white, yellow and pink. In rencet years, the amount of varieties available has grown, take a look at the array of size and color choices here.

Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon is a hardy hibiscus shrub that offers a feel of the tropics. Their big flowers, from pink to white to blue, offer long term summer blooms and make a great cut flower. For homeowners looking for a blue or purple flowering shrub, take a look at Rose of Sharon.


Spirea love the heat. But one of the reasons we like to use them in landscape is their great compact shape. These smaller shrubs keep their shape really nicelly and require little pruning. At our garden center, we carry a few different spirea, to fit every need. Take a look.


Viburnum make an excellent foundation or hedge planting. Our Landscape Design team uses them frequently near a home entrance or deck, as their white, spring blooms have a beatiful scent. Virburnum can grow quite large and act as a tall privacy screen in larger landscapes. Although the koreanspice is probably the most popular,  learn about different choices here.


Weigela are a hot plant and can take the heat. These summer blooming shrubs have bright pink to red blooms and foliage from green to purple. These shrubs come in varieties from small to large, here's a sample of our favorites.

Here's a tip! Any newly planted shrub DOES require require regular watering to become established. Although all of the shrubs listed above love the sun and can tolerate drought, they won't make it without sufficient watering once planted. Ask our garden center for planting and water instructions to make the most of your newly planted shrubs.

Here are some pointers to help you plant correctly:
  • Typically the hole should be slightly elevated and twice as deep. Ask us for specific measurements for your plants.
  • Always include a root stimulator and amend the soil to assist with drainage
  • Water 2-3 times a week, with a hose on a slow trickle at the base of the plant.

There you have it.

It's easy to design and plant a landscape that will thrive in full sun. Have questions?

At The Barn Nursery and Landscape Center, we LOVE helping our customers. Simply bring some pics of your yard into our garden center and we can help you pick out the right plants for the right place.

 New Call-to-action


Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all

Subscribe to Blog