Plants for sunny gardens

by M. Arjoca,

SunflowerEven if they grow vegetables, flowers or trees, those who have a sunny garden are lucky gardeners. There are plants that tolerate semi-shade and they are perfect for north facing gardens and for places shaded by trees and buildings. Most plants however, need daily at least 6 hours full sunlight. They need light and warmth to germinate, to grow, to bloom and to bear fruits. Even if they are on a flat field or on a slope, the sunny gardens face the south and get 6-8 hours sunlight daily. The area where you live is also important. In southern areas, where the heat is strong, a garden facing east can be better than one facing south. That’s because too much light and too much warmth can do damage to some plants. The heat is one of the problems that can occur in sunny gardens. She causes rapid evaporation and the sun can burn some plants. This is important especially if that area is also a windy one. The wind makes the water evaporate rapidly and some plants are not resistant to it.
The water is another essential element when you choose the plants for your garden. Some plants love the sunlight, the warmth and they need a lot of water, but others, even if they love sunlight, they don’t need too much water. For example, the succulents and the cacti are suited to arid gardens whereas the irises need sun and moisture.
In  northern areas, a south facing or west facing garden is warmer during the cold seasons and the plants can be protected from frost. The higher temperature of the place will be an advantage especially if you use also protective sheets.
Climbing rosesEven if the garden is not on an open field but a container garden on a terrace or on a window sill facing south, the plants you grow there must love the full sunlight and must have enough space to develop themselves. The Begonia hybrids have very beautiful flowers and are suited for container gardens and semi-shade, but if you grow them on a sunny place, they will die. The tagetes and the calendulas are suited for full sun and are short enough to be grown in containers or in small places, but the oleander and the zucchini need a larger space.
The quality of the soil you use is also important because some plants grow better in a rich soil, but others prefer a poor soil. If your plants need rich soil you can add compost and organic fertilizers and they will bloom and bear fruits as you like. For example, the peppers and the roses prefer rich soil, but the purslane and the nasturtium do best in poor soil.
Some plants prefer slightly acid soils and others prefer alkaline soils. So keep in mind the soil pH.
In a sunny place you can create a wonderful vegetables garden because most vegetables need full sunlight and you can enjoy a diversity of plants. The tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, strawberries, zucchinis, melons, watermelons, carrots, beets and the potatoes need a lot of light to do best. Here is a short list of bright light loving vegetables. Of course you can grow vegetables and flowers. The companion plants protect each other from pests and attract beneficial insects.
Depending on the available space you can choose plants different as height, color, blooming and fruiting season. They can have different needs of watering and food but they can be suited to your garden and they can make a charming place.
There are full sunlight loving plants that bloom in different seasons and you can create the impression that your garden is always in bloom.
Morning gloriesIn spring, when the trees have not yet leaves and the light reaches also the spots underneath, the bulbs bloom. They can be grown also in semi-shaded gardens. The snowdrops, scillas, hyacinths, daffodils, tulips and daisies are the first flowers of the year that color the garden. They will be followed by peonies, irises, freesias, gerbera, lilies, lupines, ornamental onions.
In summer bloom jasmine tobacco, petunias, dahlias, hollyhocks, tagetes, calendulas, gazanias, phlox, gladiolus, yarrow, carnations, zinnias, verbenas, poppies, cornflowers, sunflowers, snapdragon, cannas, strawflowers, black-eyed-Susan, cosmos, sweet William, pelargonium, pineapple lily, daisies, lobelia, paradise flower etc.
Suited to arid gardens with poor, sandy soil and not too much water are: purslane, Livingstone daisy, goldmoss sedum, the cacti and succulents.
Climbing plants that can cover fences or different trellis are: morning glories, sweet peas, nasturtiums (they are adapted also to semi-shade), climbing roses, jasmine, trumpet creeper.
In autumn the sunny garden may enjoy the asters, goldenrods, sedum, chrysanthemums, ornamental cabbages.
Many summer plants continue to bloom until the first frost.

Read more about The light