The Q&A Archives: Perennials That Love Sun

Question: I am planning on landscaping the front of our home that faces West this spring. I am interested in planting hardy perennials that will bloom from early spring, summer, and fall. I am concerned because our soil has a lot of clay and the plants just wither in the baking Western sun all afternoon. We already have some globe like evergreens near the house and I was planning on adding some tulips, daffodils, but would like to have sun loving bulbs to plant that will be hardy enough to withstand the sun. Also, are there hosta varieties that love the sun too?

Answer: Clay soil actually holds moisture better than other soil types, but first amend your soil with a 4-6 inch layer of compost, which will help improve its structure and fertility. Many perennials are sun lovers. Consider coreopsis, yarrow, butterfly weed (asclepias), lavender, catmint, gaillardia, and many more. For bulbs, try bearded iris, gayfeather (liatris), and glads. I'm only aware of hostas that are shade or partial shade lovers. For sun-loving foliage plants consider herb plants such as artemesia and sage, which have interesting colors and textures. Good luck on your plan!

A perennial book which includes charts for flowering periods and colored photos is Sunset Perennials ISBN 0-376-03573-0.

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