Sunny areas can be brutal for plants which are not adapted to full sun, with the sun quite literally cooking shade-loving plants. Fortunately, there are a wide range of full sun plants, and many even require a lot of sunshine to be healthy. By planting sun loving plants in a sunny spot in the garden, gardeners can ensure that their garden will stay healthy year-round. Full sun plants are also primed to use water efficiently, which can reduce the water demands of the garden.
When laying out a garden, one thing to consider in addition to areas of sun, shade, and dryness is what kind of garden you want to end up with. Native plants are often encouraged in sunny areas both because natives are already well adapted to the environment, and because a native plant garden can be used to highlight some of the plants and trees native to an area, creating a connection between the garden and the natural environment. Creating a garden with imported plant species can also be very time-consuming, because gardeners may have to struggle to keep the garden alive.
Many groundcovers such as alyssum, iceplant, ivy, plumbago, snow-in-summer, phlox, lamb's ears, stonecrop, and cinquefoil love the sun. However, gardeners may want to be aware that some of these plants are invasive. Iceplant, alyssum, and ivy can all sprawl out of control very quickly. The advantage of groundcovers is that they will keep a sunny spot looking lush and green year round without too much effort, but the disadvantage is that groundcovers are creepers, and they can creep their way into spots where they are not wanted.
Flossflower, columbine, daisies, yarrow, lavender, catnip, thyme, irises, petunias, sage, marigolds, day lilies, daffodils, and snapdragons also like the sun. Many of these full sun plants are annuals, so they will need to be replaced as they die off, but this can be an advantage for gardeners who like to change the look and feel of the garden periodically. Many ornamental grasses are also suitable for planting in sunny areas.
Shrubs such as rock roses do not need full sun, while trees like crabapples and most evergreens need sun to grow well. Sun-loving trees and shrubs can take some time to take off, but once they are firmly established, they usually thrive, adding texture and shade to the garden.
When you water full sun plants, you should be aware that if you get the leaves wet, they can burn in the heat of the day. It's a good idea to water them either early in the morning or late in the afternoon, both to protect the plants from burns and to conserve water. When you water in the cool of the day, the water has time to percolate through the soil, rather than just evaporating away.