What Plants Like Afternoon Sun (garden sun plants that thrive in morning shade and afternoon sun)

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Have you ever stood in your garden, wondering what plants like afternoon sun? Imagine it’s a hot summer day, and you want to make your backyard look lively and colorful. As you look around, you realize that not all plants can tolerate the intense and relentless sun. In this article, I will give you the information you need to choose the right plants that can flourish under the afternoon sun so you can create a beautiful green oasis that shines in the golden sunlight.

The best afternoon sun plants include geraniums, rosemary, lemon trees, orchids, cucumbers, peppers, and roses. It’s essential to protect plants from excessive sun and ensure they receive adequate watering on a routine basis. 

green fern plant growing outdoors with natural sunlight

Although many easy vegetable gardening tips help you on your journey to homegrown success, we’ll explore how specific plants have adapted to the hot weather, turning challenging conditions into stunning displays of beauty and charm.

From sturdy succulents with thick leaves to colorful geraniums that bloom with vibrant flowers, this article reveals the secrets of these sun-loving companions that bring a touch of enchantment and food production to your garden paradise.

Humble Highlights

  • Save time by discovering the critical characteristics of sun-loving plants to cultivate a garden with innovation and confidence!
  • Save money by knowing what perennial and annual plants thrive in the afternoon sun so you can choose plants that will grow well in your climate and region.
  • Discover quick and effective maintenance of sun-loving plants and flowers with this short 4-step guide to care for your foliage friends so you can provide your garden with what it needs for optimal growth, production, and harvests!

Characteristics Of Sun Plants: Flowers, Herbs And The Like

There are several primary characteristics of plants when it comes to tolerating sunlight, including:

  • Heat Tolerance And Adaptability
  • Drought Resistance and Tolerance
  • Sun-Loving Flowering Plants
  • Foliage
do azaleas like morning or afternoon sun

Heat Tolerance And Adaptability

Plants adapted to survive in scorching and dry conditions have developed special characteristics that help them blossom in these tough environments. These attributes include the following:

  • Thick, waxy leaves: Some have thick, waxy leaves that retain moisture and protect against heat.
  • Reduced leaf surface area: Certain plants have smaller leaves to minimize water loss and heat absorption.
  • Deep rooting systems: Heat-tolerant greens have long roots to access water deep in the soil and provide stability.
  • CAM photosynthesis: Some plants use a particular type of photosynthesis (CAM) that conserves water by opening stomata (tiny openings on the surface of leaves) during cooler nights and closing them during the day.

Drought Resistance And Drought-Tolerant

Many plants have evolved and developed unique survival abilities with less water in their leaves, stems, or roots. These plants are called drought-resistant because they can handle prolonged periods of low water availability without interrupting growth or dying. 1

Humble Tip:

Specific drought-resistant and tolerant plants have characteristics that allow them to withstand the blazing sun during the hottest times. Several examples include agave, bougainvillea, lantana, desert marigold, and red yucca.

do cucumbers like morning or afternoon sun

Sun-Loving Flowering Plants

Sun-loving flowering plants are like the superstars of the garden that adore the summer heat. These plants thrive when they get plenty of sunlight, which helps them grow big and strong as they display their beautiful colors.

When the sun shines on them, they use its energy to make their food. As a result, they produce beautiful flowers that capture everyone’s attention, attracting beneficial pollinators like bees and fluttering butterflies, and even curious people who can’t help but admire their beauty.

Examples of these sun-loving plants that enjoy hot temperatures in the afternoon are sunflowers, zinnias, marigolds, lantanas, and petunias. 2


Several foliage plants grow well in the afternoon sun. They have foliage that can thrive in full sun and display their best qualities when exposed to sunlight. Several sun plants that will add beauty to your garden include coleus, croton, hostas, ornamental grasses, and heuchera.

Best Plants For Morning Shade And Afternoon Sun 

Trees, flowers, and shrubs like azaleas and hydrangeas grow best in the daylight. In contrast, others prefer the afternoon sun, like rosemary and the ever-popular Japanese holly (Ilex crenata). Below is a list of sun-loving plants that can tolerate the heat of the afternoon sun and are resilient during the flowering season.

do ferns like morning or afternoon sun

Perennials: Plants That Grow Back Annually 

Ferns: A Peculiar Affinity

Ferns have a peculiar affinity for direct sun. While they enjoy the partial shade, certain varieties can tolerate and benefit from a few hours of sunlight daily. The afternoon sun provides the right light for their fluffy foliage to grow lush and maintain their unique leaf shapes and vibrant green color.

Geraniums: Revealing The Secret Bloomers

Geraniums are legendary for their many beautiful and colorful flowers. When these bright blooms receive afternoon sunlight, it helps them produce even more vibrant colors. The sun gives these plants the energy they need to create gorgeous flowers, making your garden look even more delightful during the day’s hottest and most unforgiving parts. 3

Perennial Herbs: The Sunny Side Of Herbal Growth

Perennial herbs like basil, rosemary, and thyme enjoy lots of unfiltered light as the sun is essential for their growth and development of flavorful leaves. Likewise, receiving this light helps them make special oils that give them their scent and flavor.

When these herbs are grown in the hot afternoon sun, they become even more aromatic and tasty, allowing them to fully develop and bring a sunny side of herbal goodness to your garden.


Rosemary: Best Perennial Herb

Rosemary is a tough and resilient herb that can handle being ignored. It is excellent for attracting pollinators like bees and works well as a living hedge plant, providing beauty and functionality in your garden.

Rosemary is a versatile and low-maintenance perennial that can tolerate different soil conditions and is generally quite hardy. Even if you forget to water it occasionally or give it attention, rosemary can still survive. Its fragrant leaves and pretty blue flowers appeal visually to your garden and attract essential pollinators that help plant reproduction.

Lemon Trees: A Citrus Symphony In Sunlight

These unique trees are sun perennials. They love warm and sunny weather because it helps them grow strong and produce many delicious fruits. The sunlight gives them the energy to make their fruits juicy and flavorful, creating an extraordinary orchestra of citrus delights in your garden. 4

do orchids like morning or afternoon sun

Orchids: Exotic Beauties In The Golden Light

Orchids are exotic beauties that flourish in the gentle golden light of the sun. They have learned to enjoy the soft and gentle sunlight that filters through trees in their natural homes, making the afternoon sun an excellent option for them.

The sun highlights the stunning details of their delicate flowers, making their colors (blue, purple, white, or pink) and patterns even more beautiful while adding a touch of exotic elegance to any displayed place.

If you live in a region where temperatures soar and the afternoon becomes unbearable but would still like to grow a garden, then take a moment and watch the video below. You’ll see plenty of veggies that enjoy the sun and withstand dry conditions. Remember, no matter your climate, your garden’s success depends on the planning you do now!

Annuals: Plants That Only Last One Year

Tomato: Tasty And Popular Fruit

Tomatoes require lots of sunlight, about 6-8 hours a day (or more), to grow and produce tasty fruits. The warm and sunny weather in the afternoon is perfect for them because it helps these popular veggies grow flowers and develop juicy fruits.

Humble Tip:

Remember, tomatoes also need enough water to stay healthy, and they don’t like extreme heat or going for long periods without water. So make sure to give them regular hydration and protect them from too much heat or dryness to help them develop properly.

Cucumbers: The Tale Of The Sunny Crunch

These refreshing veggies are annual plants that relish the afternoon heat. The sunlight helps them grow strong and produce deliciously crunchy fruits. With sufficient sun and heat exposure, these crisp ovals of goodness will develop their fresh texture, making them a perfect addition to salads and snacks. 5

Peppers: A Spicy Twist In The Sun Saga

Peppers add an exciting twist to the sunny story because they love the afternoon sun that gives them the warmth and energy needed to grow and ripen. When peppers get enough sun, they can reach their maximum potential, producing flavorful and sometimes hot fruits that bring a fiery kick to all sorts of delicious dishes in the kitchen.

do peppers like morning or afternoon sun

Roses: The Secret To Blossoming Love

Roses traditionally come in white, blue, and red flowers and are well-suited for growing in the full sun because they develop best in abundant sunlight. These traditional blooms need full sun to provide the necessary energy for these garden flowers to produce vibrant colors and lush foliage. Total sun exposure ensures that roses receive enough light to develop strong stems, large flowers, and intense fragrance, making them a sunny symbol of blossoming love. 6

Sunflowers: The Sunny Ambassadors

Sunflowers are excellent choices for the full sun as they are true ambassadors of a sunny environment, as the sun enhances their growth. This growth allows them to reach impressive heights and produce large, bright yellow flower heads.

Strawberries: Berry Sun-Loving Plants

Strawberries are popular full-sun plants requiring several hours of direct sunlight daily to produce abundant and flavorful berries. The sunlight helps them develop their sweet taste and vibrant color. Growing them in whole or partial sun promotes healthy growth, ample flowering, and optimal fruit production, resulting in a “berry” good harvest.


Succulents: Low-Maintenance Sun Plants

Succulents are ideally suited for growing in the full sun because they have clever ways to cope with the heat. These plants store water in their leaves, stems, or roots, which helps them survive when it’s dry. The sun also makes their colors more vibrant and shapes more attractive, making them even more beautiful.

Gardener Takeaways: From Garden Shrubs To Trees


  1. When watering your sun-loving plants, water deeply so the moisture effectively reaches the roots. Hydrating your foliage friends in this manner provides a thorough watering, allowing the water to penetrate deep into the soil where the roots can access it.
  2. Apply a layer of organic mulch around plants to conserve moisture, reduce evaporation, maintain soil temperature, help suppress weed growth, and improve soil structure, providing well-draining soil. 7
  3. Although I advocate morning watering, adhere to a watering schedule at daybreak or late evening when temperatures are cooler. By organizing your watering schedule, you’ll help reduce water loss through evaporation and allow plants to absorb water more effectively.
  4. To save time, consider installing a drip irrigation system, which is surprisingly easy to install. Drip irrigation will deliver water directly to the base of plants, minimizing evaporation and ensuring efficient water use while avoiding wetting the foliage, which can promote disease.


By choosing greens and plants that are easy to grow and flourish in the afternoon sun, you’re inviting nature’s strength, vitality, and adaptability into your garden.

Plant the perfect afternoon sun-loving plants in your garden and watch nature’s enchantment come to life. Feel the warmth, see the vibrant colors, and smell the delightful scents that will turn your outdoor space into a thriving paradise.

Experience the enchantment of the sun’s afternoon glow and transform your outdoor space into a stunning and peaceful paradise steps away from your home.

What sun-loving plants have you sown in your garden with success? Take a moment and leave a comment below!


  1. National Gardening Association – Plants That Do Well In Afternoon Sun – Knowledgebase Question
  2. The University Of Maine, Cooperative Extension Garden And Yard – Plants For Very Dry Soil And Full Sun
  3. ScienceDirect – Plant Strategies For Enhancing Access To Sunlight
  4. Wikipedia – Lemon Tree
  5. University Of Georgia, Extension – Growing Cucumbers In The Home Garden
  6. University Of Florida, Extension – Growing Roses
  7. Kansas State University, Research And Extension – Defining Sun Requirements For Plants

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