The Ten Best Sun-loving Plants for a South-facing Garden

July 2, 2021 Tom Luck

Whether you have a south-facing garden or are looking to liven up your summer display, we have selected ten of the best sun-loving plants to choose from.

A south-facing garden is, as the name suggests, a garden that faces south. This includes south-westerly and south-easterly and, since we’re also talking about vertical gardens, can refer to balconies, courtyards and other outdoor spaces. 

South-facing gardens get to enjoy the sun all day and become particularly hot during the summer. As a result, south-facing gardens tend to be warmer than those that face in another direction. 

This can make it easier to grow and care for plants, providing you have the right selection. Not all plants are sun-lovers and some struggle to cope in the hot, unshaded conditions of a south-facing garden. Here are the ten best sun-loving plants that will thrive in the heat and turn any living wall into a living wow

Slender sweet flag ‘Ogon’

This semi-evergreen grows in grass-like clumps and will add a dash of yellow and green to your display throughout spring and summer. ‘Ogon’ is great for adding volume and interest to any south-facing vertical garden, as it shoots like a firework tail out and over the edge of the PlantBox.

Salvia ‘Caradonna’ 

If you’re looking to add a touch of the Mediterranean to your display, then consider these sun-loving plants. The tall, slender stems of purple flowers look and smell fantastic, and are great for bumblebees and other pollinators.

Spindle ‘Harlequin’

This evergreen shrub will provide year-round colour with its creamy-white mottled leaves. ‘Harlequin’ offers multiple planting options: You can let it trail over the sides of the PlantBox, keep it well pruned, or allow it to climb if planted against a wall—this last option is ideal if you want your display to really take over your garden! It also makes a good foil to more ornamental flowers. Once established, it rarely requires watering and can even tolerate drought.

Scabiosa ‘Blue note’

Sometimes called pincushion flowers, they flower blue or lavender over a long period from early summer right into autumn. The flowers will also encourage local populations of bees and butterflies.

Blue fescue

This grass grows in pom-pom-like tufts of blue, needle-thin foliage that can grow to 20cm in length. Blue fescue requires no pruning and is a great low-maintenance option that will add striking shape and colour to any summer display.

Lonicera ‘May Green’

‘May Green’ is a dense evergreen shrub with twining stems of small green leaves. It can spread to provide great swathes of greenery (so much so they can be used as hedges when left to grow). For displays, it can provide a natural, rugged look or a gorgeous green backdrop. This can be complemented with additional colour, other green-leafed plants, a mixture of the two, or left by itself.

Shrubby bindweed

Shrubby bindweed, also known as silverbush, is another evergreen shrub that loves to spread itself out and can grow to 60cm in height. It has silver-green leaves and white, funnel-like flowers that are perfect for trailing out of the PlantBox.

Mexican fleabane

The delicate, daisy-like flowers of Mexican fleabane open white but quickly turn pinkish-purple. It will flower like crazy from spring right through to autumn, spoiling bumblebees and other pollinators with crowds of pollen-rich flowers. As Mexican fleabane grows it will flop lazily over the edge of the PlantBox to create a wild, romantic look.

Geum ‘Mrs J. Bradshaw’

Geum grows into neat heaps of dense foliage and produces semi-double flowers, which will blaze a rich red from June through to September.

Elephant’s ears ‘Purpurea’

With a name like Elephant’s ears you know this plant will make a big impression: ‘Purpurea’ has round, leathery leaves and stand-out clusters of white or pink bell-shaped flowers. The stem (or, as we like to think, “trunk”) of the flowers can grow 50cm in height and are perennial. The evergreen leaves will continue to add colour long after summer has ended.

How PlantBox Helps

We understand that traditional planting isn’t always practical. That’s where PlantBox comes in: The stackable, eco-friendly vertical garden that packs large amounts of plants into even the smallest of spaces. PlantBox also makes caring for your vertical garden easy: Go weeks between watering and know exactly when and how much to top up. Made from 100% recycled materials, PlantBox is designed to best fit your home and is ideal for balconies, roof gardens, courtyards, conservatories and is even suitable indoors. £1 from every PlantBox goes to the PlantBox Trust, a charity which provides access to nature where it is needed. Join the growing revolution for a greener future! Find out more.

PlantBox was featured in the Guangzou Eco City Garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show - winner of Best in Show 2021!