12 Plants that Were Made for Sun-Drenched Porches

Classic Zinnia Freestanding Container Garden
Photo: Alison Miksch

Adding a colorful container garden to an entry is an easy way to spruce up your front porch. Before picking your plants, though, think about how much sun your stoop gets throughout the day. Does your entrance receive six hours or more on a daily basis? For these sun-drenched porches, choose flowers labeled as full sun that can withstand the South's hot summer rays. Here are 12 sun-loving blooms that will thrive in containers from late spring through summer.

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Hydrangeas

'Mini Penny' French Hydrangea
Ralph Anderson

The South's favorite flowering shrub can also be grown in containers, usually in part sun or shade. If your porch is sunny during the hottest part of the day, no problem. While many hydrangeas like to be sheltered from afternoon sun, panicle hydrangeas are especially sun-loving. Choose a dwarf variety like 'Little Lime,' which grows 3 or 4 feet tall. Give hydrangea plants a large enough container for their roots to grow and water frequently to prevent wilting.

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Lantanas

Pink Lantana in Pot
Hector M Sanchez

Lantana is a long-lasting, dependable bedding flower or small shrub that craves the summer sun. This flower thrives throughout hot, dry summers in planters, window boxes, or hanging baskets, continuing to bloom until the first frost. In the hottest climates, it can bloom year-round. Give lantana well-drained soil and water when dry.

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Verbenas

Verbena
Verbena

Easy-to-grow verbena bears showy clusters of red, pink, purple, or white tubular flowers. With moderate water, this pollinator-friendly plant will survive through drought and heat. Plant verbena in containers or hanging baskets in a spot with full sun, where it will keep blooming until frost.

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Geraniums

Gorgeous Geraniums

Potted geraniums add striking summer color to front porches. Choose a heat-tolerant selection in the Americana, Eclipse, Maverick, or Orbit series. When temperatures start getting really hot, geraniums can experience a "heat check," where the flowers stop blooming until the weather cools off. Avoid this by giving your geraniums some afternoon shade. Grow them in containers or window boxes, and give moderate to regular water.

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Pentas

Spring Garden Flowers: ‘Stars and Stripes’ Pentas
Photo: Ralph Anderson

Tropical pentas have bright clustered flower heads and thrive in full sun. Be sure to give these flowers plenty of water; they won't survive a drought. Pentas also attract beneficial pollinators like hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. Plant them in fertile soil with good drainage.

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Scaevolas

Spring Garden Flowers: 'Cajun Blue' Scaevola
Photo: Ralph Anderson

This Australian flower isn't afraid of heat. Grow fan-shaped scaevolas in window boxes, containers, or hanging baskets in full sun. Blooms range in shades from lavender to blue and pink to white. With moderate to regular water, scaevolas will bloom throughout summer until the first frost.

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Spider Flowers

Spider flower
Getty Images

Plant spider flowers, or cleome, in larger containers, since their stems can grow 3 or 4 feet tall. Cleome grows on a single stem, so group several together for dramatic effect. These blooms are known for the long stamens that protrude from the blooming flowers. With full sun and regular water, spider flower will stay alive throughout summer and into fall, the blooms traveling upward as the plant grows.

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Cosmos

Wildflower Container Garden
Laurey W. Glenn

Daisylike cosmos come in a range of vibrant colors and has ferny foliage that lends an airy appearance to flowerbeds and containers. Use a dwarf variety of this typically tall annual to avoid lanky flowers that could fall over. Pinch spent blooms to keep it blooming until fall, and give cosmos full sun and moderate water.

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Zinnias

Classic Zinnia Freestanding Container Garden
Alison Miksch

Zinnias are a hallmark of summer gardens. Their bright, cheery blooms are great additions to cut arrangements. Typically planted in the ground, zinnias will also grow well in containers. Give these annuals full sun and regular water, and they will continue blooming until first frost. These pink and yellow zinnias are paired with a sun-loving spiller flower, calibrachoa.

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SunPatiens

Sun-Loving SunPatiens
Hector Manuel Sanchez

SunPatiens are a cross between the New Guinea hybrids and a wild species of impatiens. But unlike their relatives, SunPatiens were bred to grow in full sun and hot temperatures. Find these annuals in warm colors ranging from orange to coral to red. Water regularly to keep them blooming from mid-spring until fall. Usually grown as annuals, they are winter-hardy in USDA Zone 10.

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Succulents

Grumpy Succulents 101 Image

Succulents were bred to withstand dry, arid climates and little water. Grow sedum, echeveria, or sempervivum in your front-porch container. Plant in fast-draining potting soil, and give full sun and moderate water.

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Coneflower

Mixed container garden with coneflowers
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller; Location: Alys Beach, Florida

Colorful coneflowers are usually planted in a sunny flower bed, but these perennials can also add flair to a container garden. Coneflowers will take regular water, but they can also tolerate drought. Goldfinches and other birds snack on their seeds in fall. The foliage will die back after a frost, when you can transfer it to the garden.

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