25 Best Shrubs That Can Handle the Heat of Full Sun
Flowering shrubs are a wonderful way to add color and coverage to a large yard or garden.
Shrub selection is important, especially if you have a hot, sunny yard — some varieties thrive in direct sunlight, while others fade.
The best flowering shrubs for full sun deliver big, beautiful blooms and rich greenery, even in the steamiest summer weather.
1. American Cranberrybush
Botanical name: Viburnum opulus var. americanum
The American cranberrybush changes dramatically with the seasons, making it an exciting addition to your sun-soaked garden in zones 2-7.
In the early spring, the brilliant green leaves sprout white flowers. In the summer ( or late summer ) , the flowers are replaced by cheerful red berries. Birds and critters love the berries; use this plant to bring life to your yard.
2. Black Lace Elderberry
Botanical name: Sambucus nigra ‘Eva’
Are you looking for a flowering shrub that is different and eye-catching for your garden?
With its dark leaves and high-contrast flowers, the black lace elderberry is a stunning choice.
This shrub, which thrives in zones 4-7, is a great option for large yards; it can grow up to 8 feet wide.
3. Chaste Tree
Botanical name: Vitex agnus-castus
The chaste tree grows easily in zones 7-11, creating spiky foliage topped with tall stalks of purple flowers.
In most climates, this silvery shrub tops out at 5 feet; if you live in a hot, humid area, prepare for the growth of 20 feet or more.
4. ‘Crystalina’ Summersweet
Botanical name: Clethra alnifolia
Create a space that’s perfect for summer strolls with the ‘Crystalina’ summersweet flowering shrub.
When it blooms in the summer, this pretty plant sends out a sweet, appealing fragrance and pleases the eye with beautiful pink flowers.
Use this compact shrub in a small space with ease; it rarely reaches beyond 3 feet wide in zones 4-9.
5. Cut-Leaf Staghorn Sumac
Botanical name: Rhus typhina ‘Dissecta’
Transform your yard into a wonderland of autumn color by planting the cut-leaf staghorn sumac.
For most of the year, the long, narrow leaves are bright green. As soon as the season starts to change, they turn to a thrilling shade of orange.
Don’t worry if your soil isn’t perfect — this shrub can tolerate tough conditions in zones 3-8.
6. Double Play Red Spirea
Botanical name: Spiraea japonica
Looking for a low-height shrub for a sunny space?
The double play red spirea is a great choice. In zones 3-8, it tops out at 3 feet tall.
It’s small but not subtle — spring brings bright red blooms, and fall temperatures turn the leaves from green to purple.
7. Doublefile Viburnum
Botanical name: Viburnum plicatum tomentosum ‘Mariesii’
The doublefile viburnum produces smooth, simple white flowers that pop next to the dark green foliage. Enjoy the flowers throughout the spring; in the fall, the leaves turn color.
Plant the doublefile viburnum in ones 5-8 for best results.
8. Fairy Magnolia White
Botanical name: Michelia x ‘Mic JUR01’
Do you have a big garden with lots of full sun?
The fairy magnolia white flower can make space feel more intimate and accessible. This large shrub grows up to 7 feet wide and 12 feet tall, so it makes a big, bold statement.
The gorgeous green leaves shine in the sunlight, and the sweet-smelling blooms last for the better part of the spring in zones 7b-11.
Botanical name: Fothergilla major
When you have acidic soil, proper plant selection is paramount.
The Fothergilla flowering shrub is a hardy, acid-tolerating option for zones 4-8. In the spring, it grows stunning yellow leaves with hints of pink or red. Spring brings pretty, scented blossoms; in the fall, the foliage changes color.
This plant is ideal for low-maintenance gardeners.
10. ‘Goldfinger’ Potentilla
Botanical name: Potentilla fruticosa ‘Goldfinger’
If you struggle to keep deer away from your flowers, the ‘Goldfinger’ potentill is a powerful deterrent.
Deer and other critters steer clear of the spiky green leaves, but bees and butterflies love the bright yellow flowers.
The best part? The blooms stick around for months, bringing long-lasting color in zones 2-8.
Botanical name: Syringa
With its stunning fragrance, the lilac is one of the most sought-after sun-loving shrubs for zones 2-7.
The pale purple or white flowers bloom for a short period of time, filling your yard with a sweet scent that’s impossible to resist. The plant is tall so it will give you an afternoon shade where you can plant fragrant flowers.
Choose from a variety of small and tall options to find the right height for your yard.
12. Japanese Flowering Quince
Botanical name: Chaenomeles ‘Pink Lady’
If you live in zones 5-8, add color to your sunny yard with the Japanese flowering quince.
For most of the year, these shrubs produce pretty greenery; when they bloom, your garden comes to life with brilliant shades of pink, peach, and coral.
13. Jetstream Oakleaf Hydrangea
Botanical name: Hydrangea quercifolia
Make the most of a cooler climate in zones 5-8 with the jetstream oakleaf hydrangea.
Tough and sturdy, this plant features enormous leaves and hardy white flowers that can last well past the final frost.
In the fall, the plant adds a burst of orange and red to your yard.
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14. Korean Spice Viburnum
Botanical name: Viburnum carlesii
With its enormous flower clusters, the Korean spice viburnum makes a big, splashy spring statement.
In fact, in zones 4-8, the flowers bloom well before the leaves start to grow.
This viburnum variety adapts easily to any type of full-sun garden or container.
Botanical name: Lantana spp
You’ll know the lantana shrub immediately by its distinctive scent — featuring notes of fruit at gasoline, it’s an unusual combination.
Most lantanas reach a maximum of 6 feet tall in zones 8-11. If your area has colder summers, try planting this shrub in a container.
16. ‘Magic Summer’ Hebe
Take advantage of the gentle winter conditions in zones 8-10 with the ‘Magic Summer’ hebe. Plant this shrub in an area with plenty of full sun, and you’ll enjoy year-round color.
The striking purple spring blossoms are wonderful, but the real magic happens in the winter — the leaves start to change color, bringing a pop of vibrant red to your yard.
17. Mock Orange
Botanical name: Philadelphus coronarius
Turn your yard into a fragrant oasis by planting the mock orange shrub.
When it blooms, the flowers release a sweet-smelling aroma that delights your senses.
This beautiful flowering shrub requires a bit of pruning, but it thrives in a full-sun location and delivers long-lasting flowers every summer.
18. My Monet Weigela
Botanical name: Weigela florida ‘Verweig’
When you need a small shrub for a garden with full sun, the My Monet weigela fits the bill.
As long as you live between zones 4-6, it rarely grows bigger than 2 feet wide and 18 inches tall — perfect for borders or to line a walkway.
Maintenance is minimal, which is a relief for busy gardeners.
Botanical name: Nerium spp
Fill the space in a huge yard with the oleander; in zones 8-11, it can get up to 20 feet tall.
The flowers are pretty, as long as you live in a household without children or pets; the leaves are toxic.
20. Perfume Princess Daphne
As you might guess from the name, the perfume princess Daphne emits a spectacular fragrance.
In zones 7-9, this shrub starts blooming in the middle of winter; it continues well into the spring, ensuring that your garden is lively and colorful for most of the year.
21. Psychedelic Sky Butterfly Bush
Botanical name: Buddleia ‘PII BD-III’
Attract flying insects to your garden with the psychedelic sky butterfly bush. Every spring, this plant comes to life with brilliant purple flower cones. It goes well with ornamental grasses to create an accent or garden spot.
In zones 5-9, the only maintenance you need to do is a quick pruning session after the final spring frost.
Botanical name: Cistus spp
If you like the look of wild roses, consider the rockrose for your full-sun garden.
The mid-toned greenery thrives in direct sunlight in zones 7 and higher. Simple white flowers start blooming in the spring and last to the middle of the summer.
23. Rockspray Cotoneaster
Botanical name: Cotoneaster horizontalis
The rockspray cotoneaster looks different in every season. In the winter, this lovely shrub features shiny, rounded leaves in a deep shade of green.
Tiny pink blooms brighten the spring, and the wild red berries last from summer to fall.
Use this shrub to bring in birds and small animals in zones 4-7; it creates plenty of shelter.
24. ‘Rose Satin’ Rose of Sharon
Botanical name: Hibiscus syriacus ‘Rose Satin’
The ‘Rose Satin’ rose of Sharon brings a wild, pretty aesthetic to your outdoor space. With its delicate petals and protruding centers, the flower encourages visits from butterflies and bees.
Don’t worry if you don’t have time for maintenance — as long as you prune after the last frost, the shrub will thrive throughout the year.
25. Shrub Roses
Bring a wild, dynamic feeling to your garden with the classic shrub rose.
With its unruly flowers and organic greenery, this shrub keeps your space from feeling overly manicured. Use it as a hedge, a border, or a foundation in zones 4-11 — the possibilities are endless!
26. Sonic Bloom Pink Weigela
If you’re looking for full-sun shrubs with high-impact flowers, the sonic bloom pink weigela is a wonderful option.
This lovely plant uses the sun to produce brilliant pink blooms for months at a time.
In zones 4-8, you’ll often see flowers from late spring until the fall.
27. Summerwine Ninebark
Botanical name: Physocarpus opulifolius
Bring your garden to life with the summerwine ninebark, which grows well in zones 3-7. In the right conditions, this shrub offers beautiful blooms and colorful, head-turning leaves.
It’s particularly lovely on the edges of your garden; the branches cascade dramatically for a full, luscious look.
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28. Sunshine Blue Bluebeard
Botanical name: Caryopteris incana ‘Jason’
The sunshine blue bluebeard is a remarkably versatile shrub — it works well in sunny gardens in zones 5-11.
When it gets plenty of direct sunlight, the delicate stems sprout bright green leaves and delightful blue flowers.
The blooms usually appear in the spring, encouraging butterflies and bees to visit your yard.
29. Zinfin Doll Hydrangea
Botanical name: Hydrangea paniculata
If you’re searching for statement shrubs, it’s hard to beat the zinfin doll hydrangea.
Every summer, this green shrub is covered in a blanket of huge flower clusters. As the season progresses, the petals turn from white to pink. Plant this shrub in zones 3-8.
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