Direct Sunlight Plants – 17 Outdoor Plants That Like Direct Sunlight

Direct sunlight plants

All plants, whether outdoors or indoors, need sunlight exposure, essential for photosynthesis. While there are plants that grow in partial or full shade, there is a group of outdoor plants and flowers that grow in direct sunlight. 

Although too much sun exposure can scorch or bleach your plants, some plants, like lavender,  coneflower, and sunflower, among others, thrive in direct sunlight. These plants will bloom all year round as long as they are exposed to direct sunlight. 

Here, we have compiled a variety of outdoor plants, from annuals to perennials, that will thrive in blistering sun.

Outdoor Plants That Do Well in Direct Sunlight

1. Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)

Sunflower plant


It’s not surprising that sunflowers love direct sunlight. This is when they create those golden yellow flowers. Watch them bloom, especially in summer and fall. Ensure they get at least six hours of direct sun exposure daily. 

2. Lavender (Lavandula)

Lavender plant


This aromatic and stunning hardy perennial thrives in direct sunlight as well. It will also serve you with a soothing aroma during warm climates.

3. Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)


With their unique black centers, the black-eyed Susans grow well in full sun. These wildflowers will bloom well in summer and early autumn. They almost resemble coneflowers and daisies, except they have a black center.

4. Lantana (Lantana camara)


This annual plant has small tubular flowers of multiple colors that form umbrella-like heads. They thrive in full sunlight, making them ideal for gardens with direct sunlight.

5. Coneflower (Echinacea)


Coneflowers create their blooms best in direct sunlight. Although they are drought-tolerant, water them regularly in their growing season.

6. Marigolds (Tahetes)

Full sun plants for front yard


These vibrant annuals love direct sun exposure. So, plant them in direct sunlight and enjoy their cheerful blooms.

7. Geraniums (Pelargonium)

Plants that like full sun and heat


You will find them in an array of colors. They thrive in direct sunlight, making them versatile for southern states.

8. Cacti (Cactaceae)

Low-maintenance outdoor plants that love full sun


If you are looking for a low-maintenance yet sun-loving plant, go for cacti. Their fleshy stems and spiny leaves look good in direct sunlight.

9. Zinnias (Zinnia elegans)


These are easy to grow annuals like direct sun exposure. They grow well both in the ground and in containers. Give them direct sunlight, and they will give you colorful blooms.

10. Hibiscus (Hibiscus spp.)


These plants are native to tropical, subtropical, and warm environments. They thrive well in direct sunlight, though they require regular watering during their first season. You can grow them in containers as well.

11. Daylily (Hemerocallis)


Daylilies are widely known for their resilience. However, they bloom well in direct sunlight, showcasing their array of colors and shapes.

12. Peony (Paeonia)


With direct sunlight, peonies will give you large blooms that come in shades of white and pink. They also make perfect cut flowers. 

13. Salvia (Sage)


Salvia plants, which come in various annuals and perennials, thrive in direct sunlight on well-draining soils. The plant’s base is full of lush foliage, while the stems are covered with colorful blooms. 

14. Poppy (Papaver)


With direct sunlight at least six hours a day and well-draining, this plant will bloom throughout the summer. Poppy are self-seeding and thus can thrive in drought and rocky areas.

15. Angelonia (Angelonia angustifolia)

Full sun plants for pots


Also referred to as the summer snapdragon, the angelonia plant loves full sunlight and well-draining soils. Grow it in a container or on the ground and place it in sunny spots.

16. Euphorbia (Euphorbia spp.)


Most euphorbias love direct sunlight with well-draining soils. Give them at least eight hours of full sun exposure. They have unique floral and foliage structures and are thus highly used as ornamentals.

17. Daffodils (Narcissus)


Daffodil plants are perennials that produce bell-shaped flowers from long green leaves. They thrive in full sunlight, plus well-draining soils. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Best Outdoor Plant for Direct Sunlight?

Sunflowers, lantana, marigolds, sedum, geraniums, coneflower, lavender, black-eyed Susans, and salvia are some of the best outdoor plants that will thrive in direct sunlight. 

Which Plant is Best Adapted for Direct Sunlight?

One of the best plants adapted for direct sunlight is succulents such as agave. This plant has thick and fleshy leaves that can store water for a long time. Besides, they are adapted to arid environments and thus can withstand intense sunlight.

What Grows Best in Extreme Heat?

Plants like cacti, succulents, lantana, sedum, and portulaca thrive in extreme heat and have adaptations to withstand high temperatures and retain water.


If your garden has access to full sun exposure, you’re very lucky. You can grow plants like lavender, sunflower, poppy, salvia, and zinnias that grow in direct sunlight. 

However, ensure these plants are well watered, especially during the harsh summers, because they lose a lot of water via transpiration. 


Author Profile

🌿 Hello! I'm Mary, the nature-loving soul behind Serene Eden. Gardener, plant whisperer, compost connoisseur, sun-soaked plant enthusiast, and avid bee-watcher. Let's cultivate beauty, one bloom at a time. 🌱🌼