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  • Writer's pictureKassi K.

12 Best Full Sun Plants for Landscaping Your Perfect Garden

Northern Colorado experiences a semi-arid climate with plenty of sunshine and fluctuating temperatures. When selecting landscaping plants for sunny areas in this region, it's crucial to consider plants that are heat and drought-tolerant. Here are some excellent choices:


1. Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)

Russian Sage flowering Perennial

This perennial plant features silvery-gray foliage and produces spikes of lavender-blue flowers. It's highly drought-resistant and thrives in full sun. If you are looking for a larger perennial plant to take up space and attract pollinators that is xeric, low maintenance, and easy to care for, Russian Sage may be the perfect plant for you!


Plant Type: Shrub, Perennial Hardiness Zone: 4 - 9 Light Requirements: Sun Height: 3' - 4' Width: 18" - 30"

Foliage Color: Green, Silver Bloom Color: Purple Bloom Time: Fall, Summer

Attributes: Attracts Pollinators, Attracts Hummingbirds, Cut Flower, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Hedge, Rabbit Resistant, Fragrant, Xeric


2. Blanket Flower (Gaillardia spp.)

Gaillardia flowering Perennial

Blanket flowers are known for their vibrant, daisy-like blooms in various colors including red, orange, and yellow. They are drought-tolerant, attract pollinators, and are a fantastic option for xeric landscapes.


Plant Type: Perennial Hardiness Zone: 3 Light Requirements: Sun Height: 12" - 24" Width: 12"

Foliage Color: Green Bloom Color: Multicolor, Orange, Red, Yellow Bloom Time: Summer

Attributes: Attracts Pollinators, Cut Flower, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Easy Care, Native, Rabbit Resistant, Xeric


3. Yarrow (Achillea spp.)

Yarrow flowering Perennial

Yarrow is a hardy perennial with fern-like foliage and flat-topped flower clusters in shades of white, pink, or yellow. It's drought-tolerant, attracts butterflies, emits a lovely aroma, and is resistant to rabbits, deer, and other creatures that may want to munch on your flowerbeds.


Plant Type: Perennial Hardiness Zone: 3 - 8 Light Requirements: Sun Height: 18" - 24" Width: 18" - 24"

Foliage Color: Green Bloom Color: Red, Pink, White, Yellow Bloom Time: Summer

Attributes: Attracts Pollinators, Cut Flower, Deer Resistant, Rabbit Resistant, Salt Tolerant, Fragrant, Xeric


4. Penstemon (Penstemon spp.)

Penstemon flowering Perennial

There are many native penstemon varieties that thrive in Colorado's sunny conditions. They produce tubular flowers in various colors and attract hummingbirds as well as other beneficial bugs and pollinators. Also known as Beardtongue, these flowers are xeric, easy to care for, and drought tolerant.


Plant Type: Perennial Hardiness Zone: 3 - 9 Light Requirements: Sun Height: 20" - 3' Width: 8" - 12"

Foliage Color: Green Bloom Color: Multicolor, Pink, Purple, White Bloom Time: Summer

Attributes: Attracts Pollinators, Attracts Hummingbirds, Cut Flower, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Easy Care, Rabbit Resistant, Xeric


5. Salvia (Salvia spp.)

Salvia flowering Perennial

Salvia comes in various species and cultivars, many of which are well-suited to Colorado's climate. These landscaping plants for full sun are ideal for xeric landscapes and produce spikes of colorful flowers that are attractive to pollinators such as bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and more.


Plant Type: Perennial Hardiness Zone: 3 Light Requirements: Sun Height: 16" - 18" Width: 18" - 24"

Foliage Color: Green Bloom Color: Purple Bloom Time: Summer

Attributes: Attracts Pollinators, Attracts Hummingbirds, Cut Flower, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Easy Care, Rabbit Resistant, Xeric


6. Coneflower (Echinacea spp.)

Coneflower flowering Perennial

Coneflowers are drought-tolerant perennials that produce striking, daisy-like flowers in shades of pink, purple, red, yellow, and white. They're loved by pollinators, are resistant to rabbits and dear, provide winter interest, are great for xeriscapes, and require very little care and maintenance.


Plant Type: Perennial Hardiness Zone: 3 - 8 Height: 3' Width: 18" - 24"

Foliage Color: Green Bloom Color: Pink, White, Yellow, Red Bloom Time: Fall, Summer

Attributes: Attracts Pollinators, Attracts Birds, Cut Flower, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Easy Care, Winter Interest, Xeric


7. Agastache (Agastache spp.)

Agastache flowering Perennial

Also known as hummingbird mint, Agastache produces spiky flowers in shades of orange, pink, or purple. Depending on the variety, the foliage of these perennial flowers can smell like mint, licorice, or bubblegum when touched. If you are looking for the best full sun plants for landscaping, this option is drought-tolerant, sun-loving, and attractive to pollinators.


Plant Type: Perennial Hardiness Zone: 4 - 8 Light Requirements: Partial Sun, Sun Height: 16" - 18" Width: 12" - 16"

Foliage Color: Green Bloom Color: Orange Bloom Time: Fall, Summer

Attributes: Attracts Pollinators, Attracts Hummingbirds, Cut Flower, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Easy Care, Rabbit Resistant, Staff Favorite, Fragrant, Xeric


8. Rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus spp.)

Rabbitbrush flowering Perennial

This native shrub features bright yellow blooms and is highly drought-tolerant, making it an excellent option for those with xeric landscapes. The compact, dome-like growth of this shrub provides a habitat for wildlife while also attracting pollinators to the area.


Plant Type: Shrub Hardiness Zone: 4 - 9 Light Requirements: Partial Sun, Sun Height: 16" - 24" Width: 20" - 30"

Foliage Color: Blue, Silver Bloom Color: Yellow Bloom Time: Fall, Summer

Attributes: Attracts Pollinators, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant


9. Liatris (Liatris spp.)

Liatris flowering perennial

Known as blazing star or gayfeather, Liatris produces tall spikes of purple, pink, or white flowers that have an almost fuzzy appearance. Great for adding color and texture to any landscape, this perennial flower is drought-tolerant, very hardy, low-maintenances, and attracts butterflies.


Plant Type: Perennial Hardiness Zone: 3 - 9 Light Requirements: Sun Height: 3' - 4' Width: 16" - 20"

Foliage Color: Green Bloom Color: Purple Bloom Time: Summer

Attributes: Attracts Pollinators, Cut Flower, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Easy Care, Xeric


10. Sedum (Sedum spp.)

Sedum groundcover perennial

These succulent plants are incredibly drought-tolerant and come in various forms and flower colors. Many varieties are low-growing groundcover plants that are perfect for rock gardens and sunny spots. Their unique appearance makes them a fun addition to any sunny area of your landscaping.


Plant Type: Groundcover, Perennial Hardiness Zone: 4 Light Requirements: Partial Sun, Sun Height: 4" - 8" Width: 10" - 12"

Foliage Color: Blue Bloom Color: Yellow Bloom Time: Summer

Attributes: Attracts Pollinators, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Easy Care, Fast Growing, Rabbit Resistant, Salt Tolerant, Groundcover


11. Grama Grass (Bouteloua gracilis)

Grama Grass 'Blonde Ambition'- Bouteloua gracilis 'Blond Ambition' PP 22048

This native grass is highly drought-tolerant and adds a natural, ornamental element to the landscape. The seed heads of this native perennial grass hold their horizontal orientation and are displayed high above the foliage throughout the winter. There are many types of ornamental grasses that are great for sunny spots and willfully grace any landscape with their height and texture.


Plant Type: Ornamental Grass Hardiness Zone: 4 - 9 Light Requirements: Partial Sun, Sun Height: 28" - 32" Width: 28" - 32"

Foliage Color: Green Fall Color: Yellow

Attributes: Drought Tolerant, Easy Care, Winter Interest


12. Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Orange Butterfly Weed Milkweed Perennial Flower

Often also referred to as Milkweed, this flowering perennial is highly attractive to a number of different pollinators. It is native to Colorado and is extremely low-maintenance and easy to care for. Its bright orange color definitely makes it a winner among all the options for landscaping plants for full sun.


Plant Type: Perennial Hardiness Zone: 3 - 9 Light Requirements: Sun Height: 24" - 28" Width: 12" - 24"

Foliage Color: Green Bloom Color: Orange Bloom Time: Summer

Attributes: Attracts Pollinators, Attracts Hummingbirds, Cut Flower, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Native, Staff Favorite, Xeric


Landscaping Plants For Full Sun

Finding the right plant for any given space is the first and most important step to having a healthy and beautiful landscaping. Landscaping plants for full sun will not thrive in shaded conditions, and vice versa, so be sure to consider a plant's needs before planting! When you are ready to plant, remember to prepare the soil properly with organic matter and mulch to help retain moisture and reduce watering needs, especially for new plantings. Additionally, regular watering during the establishment phase is essential to ensure your plants thrive in Northern Colorado's sunny conditions. If you would like more recommendations for the best full sun plants for landscaping, use our Plant Finder to discover hundreds of options for a wide variety of environments and growing conditions.

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