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Choosing the Right Plants for Sunny Areas

As a passionate gardener, I know firsthand the challenges of finding the perfect plants for those sweltering, sun-drenched spots in our outdoor spaces. But fear not, my fellow green thumbs! I’m here to share my tried-and-true tips for selecting the most durable, vibrant, and versatile plants that will thrive in the heat and light.

Embrace the Heat with Caladiums

Let’s start with a tropical stunner that positively adores the sun – the caladium. These lush, foliage-focused plants are practically made for the South, where the summer heat is as relentless as it is sweltering. In fact, the varieties in the Heart to Heart collection are so robust, they can even handle the northern climes of my home state of Michigan.

What sets the Heart to Heart caladiums apart is their versatility – some varieties will happily soak up full sun, while others prefer a bit of afternoon shade. As long as you keep the soil moist, these colorful characters will reward you with their bold, heart-shaped leaves in a rainbow of hues. From vibrant pinks and reds to soft greens and whites, there’s a caladium to suit every sunny garden style.

Pentas: The Egyptian Star that Shines in the Heat

If you’re looking to add some eye-catching, pollinator-friendly blooms to your sun-drenched beds, let me introduce you to the Sunstar pentas. These Egyptian star flowers are the superstars of hot, humid climates, thriving in the sweltering conditions that would send other plants wilting.

The Sunstar series boasts extra-large flower clusters that rival the size of hydrangeas, all atop well-branched plants that are built to last through the dog days of summer. And the best part? Butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds can’t resist the brightly colored blooms, turning your garden into a veritable oasis for pollinators.

Scaevola: The Tough-as-Nails Fan Flower

Another sun-loving stunner that hails from the Land Down Under is the Whirlwind scaevola, also known as the fan flower. This tough-as-nails annual laughs in the face of heat, humidity, and even moderate drought, all while blanketing the landscape in a vibrant display of color.

The modern Whirlwind varieties are a far cry from the sparse-blooming, awkward-branched fan flowers of yesteryear. Today, these beauties are packed with color and boast a gorgeous, symmetrical shape that will elevate any sunny garden or patio planter. And as an added bonus, the bees will thank you for including these pollinator-friendly flowers in your landscape.

Euphorbias: Delicate Beauties that Defy the Heat

Speaking of tough-as-nails plants, let’s talk about the darling of the succulent world – the Diamond Snow euphorbia. Don’t let its delicate, lacy appearance fool you – this little powerhouse can withstand heat, humidity, and even drought with ease.

The Diamond Snow euphorbia is a close cousin to the beloved Diamond Frost, but with a denser, more compact shape that makes it the perfect choice for vibrant patio planters or sun-drenched garden beds. And the best part? The bees and butterflies will flock to its bright white blooms all season long, turning your sunny oasis into a pollinator paradise.

Sunflowers that Just Keep Blooming

If you’re looking to add a touch of cheerful, sunny energy to your garden, look no further than the Suncredible Yellow sunflower. This everblooming variety is a far cry from the finicky sunflowers you might grow from seed, boasting a tall, well-branched bush-like form that’s perfect for the back of the border or lining a sunny fence.

The best part? The Suncredible Yellow sunflower just keeps on blooming, from spring all the way through to the first frost. And with its 4-inch blossoms that don’t require deadheading, you’ll have a never-ending supply of sunny yellow flowers to cut for bouquets or enjoy in the garden. Plus, the bees and butterflies will flock to these pollinator-friendly blooms, making your sunny oasis a true hub of activity.

Sweet Caroline: Versatile Vines for Sun or Shade

No discussion of sun-loving plants would be complete without a nod to the humble-yet-hardworking sweet potato vine. And when it comes to heat-tolerant, sun-loving varieties, the Sweet Caroline series is truly in a league of its own.

Whether you opt for the mounding, groundcover-like Sweet Caroline Medusa Green or the trailing, climbing Sweet Caroline Upside vines, these plants are built to thrive in the sunniest of spots. And the best part? They maintain their rich, vibrant foliage colors even in the harshest direct sunlight, unlike their more fickle predecessors.

So whether you’re looking to add a splash of tropical flair to your sunny patio or create a lush, cascading display from a hanging basket, the Sweet Caroline series has you covered. And with their easy-care nature and versatility, these sweet potato vines are a must-have for any sunny garden.

Lantana: A Low-Maintenance Powerhouse

Speaking of heat-loving, sun-drenched plants, let’s talk about the ever-reliable Luscious lantana. This series of landscape-sized lantanas is the perfect choice for gardeners who want to add a splash of color to their sunny spaces without the hassle of high-maintenance plants.

The Luscious varieties bloom non-stop all season long, without the need for deadheading or heavy feeding. And with their vibrant, pollinator-friendly flowers in a range of bold hues, they’re sure to attract a buzzing entourage of bees and butterflies to your sunny oasis.

Whether you opt for the cheerful golden yellow of Luscious Royale Lemon Tart or the unique golden yellow and orange hues of Luscious Basket Tangeglow, these lantanas are built to thrive in the heat and withstand periods of drought. Plus, their low-maintenance nature makes them the perfect choice for those sunny spots that are beyond the reach of the hose.

Salvia: A Hummingbird’s Delight

No sunny garden is complete without the addition of some stunning, nectar-rich salvia. And when it comes to heat-loving, hummingbird-friendly varieties, the Rockin and Unplugged So Blue series have got you covered.

These robust, bushy salvias are magnets for winged pollinators, with their long spires of vibrant, two-lipped blooms in shades of blue, purple, and magenta. And the best part? They’re built to thrive in the heat, withstanding drought stress with ease once they’re established in your garden.

Whether you opt for the towering, four-foot-tall Rockin Playin’ the Blues or the more compact, two-foot-tall Unplugged So Blue, these salvias are sure to add a striking, nectar-rich element to your sunny landscape. And with their aromatic foliage, they even offer a natural form of deer resistance – a bonus for those of us who share our gardens with our four-legged friends.

Coneflowers: Bright, Bold, and Pollinator-Friendly

If you’re looking to add a touch of classic cottage charm to your sunny garden, look no further than the Color Coded coneflowers. These bright, bold blooms are the epitome of sun-loving, pollinator-friendly perennials, with their stocky habit, large flowers, and long bloom time.

From the vibrant orange hues of Orange You Awesome to the striking fuchsia of The Fuchsia is Bright, this collection of single-flowered coneflowers is sure to add a much-needed pop of color to your sunny beds and borders. And as an added bonus, those striking blooms will attract a veritable parade of bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds to your garden – a true win-win for both you and your local pollinator population.

Hibiscus: Tropical Flair for the Sun Garden

If you really want to make a statement in your sun-drenched garden, look no further than the Summerific hibiscus. These stunning perennials are the perfect choice for gardeners who crave the tropical flair of classic hardy hibiscus, but on a more manageable scale.

Gone are the days of towering, sparse-blooming hibiscus plants. The Summerific series offers a range of cultivars, from the bubblegum pink blooms of Edge of Night to the vibrant red of Valentines Crush, that top out at a much more manageable 3 to 4.5 feet tall. And with their thick, overlapping petals, these huge, 8-inch flowers can even withstand the occasional summer thunderstorm.

Whether you opt to use these Summerific hibiscus as specimen plants, mass plantings, or even as part of a deciduous hedgerow, one thing is certain – they’ll bring a touch of the tropics to your sun-drenched landscape. And with their fantastic heat tolerance and long bloom time, they’re sure to become a staple in your sunny garden for years to come.

Sedum: The Resilient Groundcover

For those of us with sun-baked, well-drained areas in our gardens, sedum (or stonecrop) is an absolute godsend. And when it comes to heat-loving, pollinator-friendly varieties, the Rock N’ Low and Rock N’ Grow series are truly in a league of their own.

The Rock N’ Low varieties, like the variegated Boogie Woogie and the sunny Yellow Brick Road, make fantastic groundcovers, thriving in the hottest, driest conditions. Meanwhile, the taller, more upright Rock N’ Grow sedums, such as the lemon-yellow Lemonjade and the deep purple Midnight Velvet, provide a burst of late-summer color that’s sure to delight both you and the local pollinators.

Whether you’re looking to create a no-fuss groundcover, dress up a rocky garden, or add some vibrant, drought-tolerant accents to your sunny beds, these resilient sedum varieties are the perfect choice. Just be sure to provide them with well-drained soil and full sun, and they’ll reward you with season-long beauty and an influx of buzzing garden visitors.

Juniper: The Evergreen Edger

For those of us who crave year-round interest in our sun-drenched gardens, the Montana Moss juniper is a true godsend. This low-growing, evergreen beauty adds a touch of soft, mossy texture wherever it’s planted, making it the perfect choice for edging, groundcover, or even as a standalone specimen.

The best part? Montana Moss juniper is as tough as they come, thriving in full sun and shrugging off the attention of hungry deer. Whether you’re looking to line a sunny walkway, create a low-maintenance border, or add some year-round interest to your garden, this hardy, sun-loving juniper is sure to be a stalwart performer.

Crapemyrtle: A Summer Stunner

No discussion of sun-loving plants would be complete without the mention of the ever-popular crapemyrtle. And when it comes to varieties that truly shine in the heat, the Center Stage series is in a league of its own.

These crapemyrtles delight with their deep, purplish-black foliage that remains mildew-resistant even in the sweltering summer sun. But the real showstopper is their vibrant blooms, which appear earlier in the season than their conventional counterparts, providing a burst of color when your garden needs it most.

Whether you opt for a stately, hedge-like specimen or a more compact, container-friendly variety, the Center Stage crapemyrtles are sure to be the star of your sunny landscape. And with their excellent heat tolerance, even gardeners in the warmest regions can enjoy the timeless beauty of these summer-blooming stunners.

Pomegranate: A Piece of History for the Patio

For those of us with a passion for the unusual and the unexpected, the Peppy Le Pom pomegranate is a must-have addition to any sun-drenched garden or patio. This diminutive dwarf variety puts a fresh spin on a true classic, with its petite size and eye-catching, orange-hued blooms that dangle from the stems like delicate ornaments.

While Peppy Le Pom may not be the most practical pomegranate for harvesting, its charm and versatility more than make up for it. Grow it in a container on your sunny patio, or tuck it into a bright, well-draining spot in your garden – this adaptable little shrub will thrive, providing a unique and historic touch to your outdoor oasis.

And the best part? When the weather turns chilly, you can simply bring Peppy Le Pom indoors, where it will continue to delight as a colorful, compact houseplant throughout the winter months. It’s the perfect way to enjoy a piece of pomegranate history, even in the coldest of climates.

Coprosma: Vibrant Evergreen Flair

For those of us who crave year-round color and interest in our sun-drenched gardens, the Waxwing series of Coprosma (or mirror bush) is an absolute must-have. These evergreen shrubs boast a striking, glossy foliage that comes in a range of vibrant hues, from the fiery oranges of Waxwing Orange to the swirling lime and mahogany tones of Waxwing Lime.

Whether you use them to create a low, colorful hedge, mix them into your sunny flower beds, or even grow them as colorful houseplants during the colder months, the Waxwing Coprosmas are sure to add a year-round touch of drama and flair to your outdoor spaces. And with

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