The Q&A Archives: Planting in Direct Sunlight

Question: I Live in Upstate NY and have to redo a small garden in the front of my house. It receives direct sunlight from around 11:00 in the morning until 6 or 7 in the evening. The soil is an average type soil (somewhat on the dry side) that has been mixed with peat moss over the years. I would like to plant several small bushes with some ground cover and flowers. Do you have any suggestions on what types of shrubs, ground cover and flowers would grow in the direct sunlight. The area is approximately 6' x 20'. Thanks for your advice.

Answer: Some of the best plants to consider for the area are those that appear on the drought tolerant list of plants from the Brookly Botanic Garden. Drought tolerant plants that do well in dry soils, in full sunshine. Here are some to consider:
Aesculus parviflora, Bottlebrush buckeye
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Bearberry
Aronia arbutifolia, A. melanocarpa, Chokeberries
Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Bluemist', Clandon bluebeard
Ceanothus americanus, New Jersey tea
Chaenomeles x superba, Flowering quince
Cornus racemosa, Gray dogwood
Corylus americana, American filbert
Coylus avellana 'Contorta', Harry Lauder's walking stick
Cotinus coggygria, Smokebush
Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve', Wallflower
Hamamelis virginiana, Witch-hazel
Hydrangea paniculata, Panicle hydrangea
Itea virginica, Virginia sweetspire
Lavandula angustifolia, Lavender
Lespedeza thunbergii, Bush clover
Myrica pensylvanica, Bayberry
Perovskia atriplicifolia, Russian sage
Philadelphus coronarius, Mockorange
Prunus maritima, Beach plum
Rhus copallinum, Shining sumac
Rosa rugosa, R. glauca, R. nitida, R. carolina, and other species, Species roses
Santolina chamaecyparissus, Lavender cotton
Symphoricarpos albus, Common snowberry
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus, Coralberry
Syringa species, Lilacs
Vaccinium angustifolium, Lowbush blueberry
Viburnum dentatum, Arrowwood
Viburnum lentago, Nannyberry

Achillea cultivars, Garden yarrow
Agastache foeniculum, Anise hyssop
Agastache cultivars, Hyssops
Amsonia hubrichtii, Bluestar
Anemone species, Anemones
Arabis procurrens, A. alpina, Rock cresses
Armeria maritima, Sea thrift
Asclepias tuberosa, Butterfly weed
Aster species, Asters (many species)
Baptisia australis, False blue indigo
Chrysanthemum cultivars, Chrysanthemums
Coreopsis species, Coreopsis
Dianthus species, Pinks
Diascia rigescens, D. barberae cultivars, Diascias
Dicentra chrysantha, Golden eardrops
Echinacea purpurea, Purple coneflower
Echinops bannaticus, Globe thistle
Eryngium bourgatii, Sea holly
Euphorbia species, Euphorbias
Gaillardia species, Blanket flowers
Gaura lindheimeri, Gaura
Hemerocallis species, Daylilies
Iberis sempervirens, Candytuft
Kniphofia cultivars, Torch flowers, red-hot pokers
Liatris species, Blazing stars, gayfeathers
Lychnis coronaria, Rose campion
Nepeta species, Catmints
Oenothera species, Evening primroses
Origanum laevigatum, Ornamental and culinary oregano cultivars
Papaver species, Poppies
Penstemon species, Penstemons, beard-tongues
Phlox subulata, Woodland phlox
Physostegia virginiana, Obedient plant
Pulsatilla vulgaris, Pasque flower
Rudbeckia species, Black-eyed Susans
Salvia species, Sages
Sedum species, Sedums
Sempervivuns tectorum, Hens and chicks
Sisyrnchium angustifolium, Blue-eyed grass
Stachys byzantina, Lamb's ear
Thymus species, Thymes
Verbascum bombyciferum and V. chaixii cultivars, Mulleins
Yucca species, Yuccas

I realize you have a rather small space, but with all the choices above you can change the appearance of the bed by replacing the plants every few years.

Best wishes with your garden!

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