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Why Buy Shrubs For Full Sun?

Some shrubs are fans of the Beatle's song, "Here Comes the Sun." Well, it seems so anyway. They will gladly lift their leaves and soak up all the rays they can. Others are less happy about it, and some prefer to exist in the shade. 

Choosing the right shrubs for full sun can be the difference between lush, comfortable, rapidly growing shrubs or sun-scalded, burnt, and even dead plants. We’ll cast a little light on the subject.

What Does Full Sun Mean?

Plant folks generally call six or more hours per day 'full sun'. It could be further refined to say that a plant that enjoys full sun will usually tolerate afternoon sun as well when the sun is at its most potent and temperatures are typically the hottest. 

‘Partial sun’ is usually defined as somewhere between 4-6 hours of sunlight. There is no actual definition. Four hours of afternoon sun might be classified as partial sun, and so might six hours of the morning sun. 

Plants listed as liking partial sun will generally want a couple of hours of protection from the full power of the afternoon rays. Plants that prefer partial shade will benefit from the morning sun but will not enjoy exposure to the post-lunch solar power. 

Keep these sun-related needs in mind when choosing shrubs for your property.

Why Are Some Shrubs for Full Sun and Partial Sun?

Often, plants are listed as suitable for full or partial sun. What does that mean? Sun tolerance or need is not an absolute. A plant that thrives in full sun may still do fine in partial sun, especially if exposure is in the afternoon. Growth may be a bit slower or flowering a touch less vigorous, but it shouldn’t be a big deal. There is no “best” shrub for full sun, as they will all thrive in different environments.

Those who have traveled the country know that the power of the southern sun seems far greater than the weaker rays that reach the ground in the north. Gardeners in the northern part of a given plant's range can and should choose locations with more sun, and those in the south should choose sites with a bit of afternoon relief, all else being equal. 

A shrub that is listed as ‘full or partial sun’ might enjoy full sun in Massachusetts but partial sun in Georgia.

What Are The Best Types of Full Sun Shrubs?

When buying a shrub for full sun, some types are better than others. We recommend each of the following types of full sun shrubs:

What To Consider When Buying Full Sun Shrubs?

Looking for a shrub for full sun that fills a specific need in your yard or garden? Consider each of the following when buying. 

Full Sun Evergreen Shrubs

Evergreen shrubs are excellent landscaping plants. They continue to provide interest and habitat year-round. Check out our flowering 'Shishi Gashira' camellia for an evergreen, full-sun shrub with loads of bright, pink spring flowers. 

If you are looking for a larger full sun evergreen shrub, 'Blue Point' juniper is the ticket. A sun-lover, it grows 12 feet tall with a pyramidal shape and all-season bluish green foliage. Truly a winner.

Deciduous Shrubs for Full Sun

'Nanho Purple' is a beautiful butterfly bush that thrives in full sun. Drought tolerant, it draws butterflies and other pollinators every summer with its radiant deep purple blooms. A mid-sized shrub, it typically reaches 6-8 feet high. 

Look to our hydrangea selection for big, showy blooms and gorgeous foliage. Many are full sun to partial sun-loving plants, especially for northern gardeners.

What is the Best Low Maintenance Shrub for Full Sun?

Once their root systems are established, many of our shrubs for full sun will not require much maintenance, aside from light pruning and occasional watering in dry climates. For example, Winter Gem Boxwood Shrubs are evergreen and resistant to pests and disease. Once planted, this small shrub for full sun will remain beautiful all year.

Hardy Ground Cover Shrubs for Full Sun

Ground cover plants blanket an area with spreading, green foliage that is low maintenance. The Asiatic jasmine is a fast-growing, low, flowering evergreen perfect for ground cover in mass plantings. 

'Grey Owl' juniper is an excellent evergreen shrub for full sun that creates taller, more wild-looking, or natural groundcover. It will grow in full or partial sun and is an outstanding habitat for songbirds.

Landscaping Shrubs for Full Sun

Due to the wide range of colors and sizes you can choose from, full sun shrubs are great for landscaping all kinds of environments. Flowering shrubs for full sun make great ornamental plants to decorate your exterior. Meanwhile, some other full sun shrubs are large and evergreen, making the perfect perimeter privacy plant.

Full Sun Privacy Shrubs

New yards and established homes alike can benefit from some privacy screening. 'Sky Pencil' holly is a full sun holly that can be used to create a hedge without taking up a lot of space. It reaches 8-10 feet tall but is only 2-3 feet wide. A row of 'Sky Pencil' hollies is perfect for dividing the front and back yard, screening an unsightly view, or marking a property boundary. 

If you love the classic look and neat appearance of boxwoods, our Japanese Boxwood shrub is an excellent full sun choice for an evergreen privacy hedge. They can be kept trimmed and develop into a dense, thick screen.

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