We all know that plants need sunlight to harvest the energy they need to do plant things. But the amount of sunlight required by plants is not a one-size-fits-all kind of formula. Today we’re going to take a look at a few full sunlight, native plants to spice up the sunniest parts of your yard.
Aster spp., Symphyotrichum spp.
These lovely flowers are a great addition to sunny flower beds. Hardy in USDA zones 3-8, asters love full sun (though they can tolerate part shade).
Asters bloom from midsummer through fall, creating a beautiful splash of color that’s appealing to both gardener and pollinator. The North American native varieties of aster are the Symphyotrichum spp.
Bee Balm, also known as wild bergamot, is one sun-loving plant. These gorgeous plants flower all summer long, and are also hardy from USDA zone 3-9.
Bee Balm is notorious for attracting bees (hence the name), and will have your garden buzzing with all the pollinator friends. The plants support butterfly larvae and specialized bees even after the flowers are all spent.
Coneflowers are sun-lovin’ creatures. These plants evolved in the American grasslands, where they were exposed to hot, full sun 24/7. It’s no wonder they do so well in full sunlight.
Coneflowers now come in a wide array of colors, but the true native ones are purple. Coneflowers are generally hardy in zones 3-9 and these prolific bloomers will continue to grace your garden from midsummer until the first hard freeze.
These are yet another great pollinator plant that provides food and shelter to bees and butterflies at every life stage. Plus the seed heads feed songbirds through the winter. These plants are definitely a must if you’ve got a sunny spot and a clean, green garden.
Salvia, or sage, is a fantastic garden companion. It provides food and medicine for humans, as well as pollinators and other creatures. This sun-happy plant thrives in zones 5-10 and there are an abundant number of varieties to choose from.
Many sages produce tall spires of flowers which bloom religiously from summer through fall. These flowers can be particularly attractive to hummingbirds!
The sage’s foliage produces a savory, sweet scent that diffuses nicely when the plant is brushed against. Try using sage as a border plant.
Sunflowers are one of my favorite plants. I think it’s impossible not to feel cheery when looking at their large, lovely, yellow flowers.
Sunflowers come in a plethora of varieties which thrive in zones 6-9. As their name implies, these plants also need ample sunshine. (After all, growing those giant flowers and seed heads is tons of work!)
Sunflowers can provide food for the gardener, just as they do for the birds and the bees. If you’re a fan of sunflower seeds, trying growing a seed-specific variety and harvest your own.
Unfortunately, not all plants are able to tolerate full sun. But luckily, there are many beautiful, native, and flowering plants which are happy to fill that niche. We hope some of these full sunlight native plants will make it into your garden this year!
If you are interested in learning more about how to plant and maintain asters, bee balm, coneflowers, (and more!) check out our FREE perennial planting guide!