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Container Plants for Full Sun and Heat – Best for Patios

Sun loving plants are a great choice for adding color and foliage on your patios, decks or garden during a hot weather. The heat-tolerant flowers will bloom even in the grips of summer heat when other cool season plants take a break. Here is a collection of the best container plants for full sun and heat to add in your beds, borders, and containers.

1. Angelonia (Summer Snapdragon)

Angelonia thrives in arid and semi-arid conditions which makes it a great heat-tolerant plant for continuous colors in your sunny garden. Blooms appear like wide-open mouth of a dragon thus its popular name summer snapdragon.

Its bloom continuously from late spring through fall and the colorful tubular flowers are a great attractor of hummingbirds, butterflies, and insect pollinators. Angelonia comes in wide variety of species with different sizes and bloom colors including purple, white blue, pink, coral red, lavender, and bicolor

This sun loving flower requires well-draining soil and at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. Plant in late spring after all dangers of frost are gone. The care-free plant need little or no deadheading to bloom. Too much shade, poor air circulation can trigger powdery mildew.

Zones: Hardy zones 9-11

Size: 1 to 3 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide

Exposure: Full sun

Bloom time: Late spring through fall

2. Lantana

Lantanas are tough, resilient sun loving plants that thrive in hot weather and bloom non-stop from spring until frost.

This flowering plants is valued for its long season of reliable bloom thus commonly used as annuals or perennials in flowerbeds or containers. Its single or multi-color flowers attract butterflies, hummingbirds, insect pollinators.

Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service explains different lantana species and cultivators Plant lantana in well-draining soil in a site that receives sunlight. Mid to late spring is the best time to grow this heat loving flower when there is no any danger of frost. With little care, lantana will mature into wood shrubs that require pruning to stimulate flowering and addition of more branches.

Zones: Annual in Zones 1-8, perennial in Zones 9-11

Size: 2 to 6 feet tall and 3 to 10 feet wide

Exposure: Full sun for at least 6 to 8 hours a day

Bloom time: Late spring through frost

3. Pentas

Pentas are excellent for a year round color and texture in your landscape. This warm season perennial loves sun and heat thus the right choice for outdoor containers or beds. Pentas come in profusion of hues including pink, red or white that attract hummingbirds and butterflies.

Grow pentas in well-draining soil and provide plenty of water. Blooms will be produced in abundance when there is plenty of heat and sunshine. Pruning the soft stems or deadheading will encourage more blooms. Apply a slow release fertilizer to get a dense compact foliage as well.

According to University of Florida, gardening solutions, if not protected, pentas will die back when the cold weather arrives.

Zones: 10 – 11

Size: 15 inches wide and 2-3 feet tall

Exposure: Full Sun

Bloom time: Throughout Summer

4. Salvias

Salvias come in a wide variety of species most of them being native to hot, dry climates. The sun loving hardy types can be grown as perennials in outdoor containers and bed. Flower spikes bloom in shades of purple, blue, red, lavender, pink, white and yellow. Salvias are loved by hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees.

Potted salvias should be planted during spring in well-draining soil. Place the plant in sunny spot without crowding them. The drought tolerant salvias will look better even without watering. Deadheading is important to encourage continuous blooming.

Zones: Varies per species

Size: Varies per species

Exposure: Spring until frost

Bloom time: Throughout Summer

5. Scaevola

Scaevola, popularly known as fan flower, is a sun-loving annual that blooms through spring to fall. The blue, pink, or white flowers with tiny petals arranged in a fanlike pattern creates an attractive exotic look on patios, deck and gardens.

Plant fan flower in an area that receives full sunlight daily and in well-drained soil. When established this drought tolerant plant hardly needs watering. A regular slow release fertilizer will encourage blooming and more foliage. Scaevola don’t need deadheading but pinching of overgrown stems will make it more compact.

Zones: 9 -11

Size: 6 to 14 inches tall, and 1 to 2 feet wide

Exposure: At least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight

Bloom time: Late spring into fall

Expert Tips for Growing Potted Plants Outdoors

  1. Use the right type of pot. Plant containers or pots come in variety materials and designs but what is important is to choose the correct size for your type of plant. The pots should have holes at the bottom to enhance soil drainage.
  2. Pick your plant based on sun conditions of your location. There are plants that love sunlight and those that shade. Full sun and heat plants require at least 6 to 8 hours of sun per day.
  3. Use well-draining soil with balanced PH. The soil should not contain weeds and diseases. A sample should be taken to an extension agent for assessment and amendment.
  4. Decide if you want to purchase a potted plant or do the propagation on your own.
  5. Your plant will need regular watering especially at tender stage, this can reduced once the plant establishes.
  6. Feeding the plant with a slow release fertilizer may help in stimulating growth and blooming
  7. Some container plants may require pruning or deadheading for proper blooming and addition of braches or foliage.
  8. Plants may suffer from pests and diseases especially when placed in unfavorable conditions. You should consult your extension agent for appropriate solution.

Final Thought

There are various reasons for growing outdoor container plants. Flowers are great for color and texture in a landscape but also provides natural privacy screen. Climbing vines offers fantastic shade especially when trained on pergolas or trellises. To enjoy the benefits of your outdoor plants year round, mix your container plants for full sun and heat with shade loving or cool season plants.

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