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Sun Loving Plants

If you prefer to spend your time water skiing and lounging at the beach, here are some carefree plants that will add beauty to your landscape--and free your time from the drudgery of pruning, thinning and fertilizing. Selecting the right plant for a part of your yard that has a lot of sun will help to ensure a successful garden.

Annuals

Annuals have to be planted every year in the spring. They can add a splash of color to the front of any flower bed. They can also be planted in pots to perk up the ends of a walkway. You can also purchase some annuals, such as petunias, in hanging baskets.

  • Sunflowers: These are probably the easiest plant to grow from seeds. They sport giant blooms, bigger than your head, with a brown center and yellow petals. Sunflowers are very fun for children to watch and tend to, because they’re hardy and grow very quickly. They are very hardy and drought-resistant. Sunflowers attract birds. They grow very tall, up to 6 feet, so plant them where they have plenty of space. They should be placed on the north side of any nearby plants so as not to shade them.
  • Petunias: Petunias are very hardy. They come in a range of colors, from white to pink to purple to striped.
  • Dianthus: This is also called sweet William. The blossom of this short plant looks somewhat like a carnation. Colors range from cream to pink to red. They are fragrant, and they attract birds and butterflies.
  • Dusty miller: These are greenery plants with a silvery, or dusty looking, foliage. They are often used in border plantings along with other plants.
  • Cosmos: These are tall, colorful flowers with wispy foliage. The colors in one planting range from white to pink to fuschia.
  • Morning glory: Morning glories are a climbing vine. They’re often spotted climbing mailboxes, fence posts and telephone poles. They typically come in shades of blue or purple. They’re open in the cool morning hours, then close when the sun gets hot.
  • Nasturtium: These flowers are edible on salads! The blossoms can be cream, yellow, orange or red. They form a low bush or can act as a trailing vine.
  • Nicotiana: As you may have guessed from the name, this medium-height plant is in the tobacco family; it’s flowering tobacco. Blossoms are five petals, similar to the shape of a star. Blooms range from greenish white to cream to pink to deep red.

Perennials

Perennials only have to be planted one time. They come up year after year.

  • Daisies: Medium-height, white petals with a yellow center.
  • Purple coneflower: The Latin name is echinacea--that’s right, echinacea, that herbal supplement you take to prevent catching colds. But it’s not a good idea to chew on the flowers! Coneflowers are very hardy and drought-resistant. They look like a big, tall, purple daisy, but the center is raised into a spiky cone. This is where the seeds are, and they’ll attract birds. The seeds also scatter in late fall after the plants have died, which helps them proliferate year after year.
  • White coneflowers: Looks just like a purple coneflower, only the petals are greenish white. Coneflowers attract butterflies, too.
  • Black-eyed Susans: The Latin name is Rudbeckia. They are very hardy and drought-resistant. They look like a yellow daisy with a dark brown center.
  • Day lilies: It’s near impossible to kill these things, and they proliferate quite readily, so don’t plant too many, too close together. They’ll even thrive in the shade! They have five petals, and they are usually orange or yellow. You can buy smaller, shorter varieties or taller varieties.
  • Asian lilies: These are similar to day lilies, only with more ornate and detailed petals, especially from a close up view. They come in a wider range of colors than day lilies. Asian lilies are not as hardy as day lilies, but they’re just as low-maintenance.
  • Coreopsis: This plant is available in tall or short varieties. Short moonbeam coreopsis is great for flower beds or at the front of a group of plants. Coreopsis will attract birds.
  • Geraniums: Some people don’t like how geraniums smell. Blossoms are usually white, pink or red, clustered in bunches.
  • Phlox: Phlox is a low-lying flowering groundcover that blooms in the spring. Colors are in the pastel palette, from white to pink to lavender. Phlox will attract hummingbirds.
  • Red-hot poker: And that’s exactly what it looks like, a red-hot poker! The stem is tall and sports a cylindrical bloom. The bloom is composed of deep orange spikes that deepen to fire red on the outer edges.
  • Sedum: This is also called dragon’s blood, although the flowers are more pink than red. The leaves are very thick, somewhat similar to an indoor jade houseplant. The plant is short and fairly compact. The blooms are tiny multiple flowers on a head.
  • Stokes aster: Asters bloom in the late summer and fall. They attract birds. They are small to medium height, and the flowers look somewhat like small, fuzzy daisies.
  • Yarrow: Yarrow is medium height to tall, with multiple tiny mustard yellow blooms on a head.
  • Butterfly bush: This bush is available in several colors, including purple, lavender, white and yellow. Blooms are shaped like a large cylindrical arrowhead composed of tiny flowers. Butterfly bushes are very fragrant, and they attract butterflies.

The best part of spring and summer is enjoying outdoor recreational time--not toiling away in the garden!





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