3 Ways to Identify Full Sun Plants (100+ List: Herbs, Vegetables, and More)


The incorrect amount of sunlight or temperature can affect plants. For instance, full-sun plants need the right temperature as well as from 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day.

There are three ways to correctly identify full-sun plants for your garden: 1) use heat-zone or plant hardiness maps, 2) know what’s growing there through visual inspections or online research, or 3) check the full list of full-sun herbs, vegetables, fruiting plants, and flowering plants.

Too much or too little sun can make plants change color, sicken and die. In short, plants need the right amount of sunlight to survive and produce. Here are three things that you can do.

Identify the Area

The term “full sun” refers to plants that require 6 to 8 hours of sunshine each day. Too much or too little sun can make plants change color, sicken and die. In short, plants need the right amount of sunlight to survive and produce.

  • Lack of sunlight: Full-sun plants that don’t get enough sunlight will lean towards a window or source of light. Outdoors, lack of sunlight makes full-sun plants grow longer, thinner, and weaker.
  • Too much sunlight: Full-sun plants can also wilt, burn, shrivel, and die due to overexposure to the sun. In such cases, gardeners try and provide more shade or water.

The sunlight hours of your garden can be affected by location, season, sun blockers (shade, cloud cover, mist, fog). Check how your location matters.

  • Sunlight hours: Whether your area gets 24 hours of sunlight, 24-hour nights, long or short days, or regular sunlight hours, temperatures and sun exposure varies if your location is on hillside or hilltop, full-or partly shadowed, cloudy, or has constant climate patterns.
  • Temperature: Aside from sunlight, plants also need the right temperature. Plants that thrive in high temperatures grow poorly or die in low temperatures, and vice versa.
    • Through gradual adaptation, plants can adjust and thrive in different conditions.
    • The plants thriving in your area are perfect indicators of the plant species that have adapted to the prevailing temperature.
    • Check out the American Horticultural Society’s plant heat zone map here. This map shows in red the areas with the highest average daily temperature.
    • Check out the USDA Hardiness Zone Map here. This map shows 12 areas grouped by climate heat and coldness.
  • Maps: Experts have developed maps that indicate general past trends of climate, temperature, and sunlight exposure in areas around the world.
    • The warmest planting areas in the USA are colored red on the heat zone map
  • Zone 13: From +15 °C (60 °F) to +21.1 °C (70 °F) such as in Hawaii, Guam, and Puerto Rico
  • Zone 12: From +10 °C (50 °F) to +15.6 °C (60 °F)
  • Zone 11: From +4.4 °C (40 °F) to +10 °C (50 °F) such as fields and gardens in the deep South and the coastal areas of the USA

If you’re one of the many who find these maps a bit confusing, try the following:

  • The World Plant Hardiness Zones
  • Climate zones of the USA
  • The Trewartha climate classification system here addresses the limitation of the Koppen-Geiger climate classification system here
  • The hardiness zone map of the Arbor Day Foundation here

See What’s Growing

There are several ways for you to identify the full-sun plants that are growing in your area. You can do physical or online surveys. You can drive-by fields, farms, gardens, or you can talk to local experienced plant growers.

  • Fresh markets: Visit places that sell fresh produce such as weekend markets, open-air markets, farmers’ markets, the produce section of grocery stories, and flower shops.
  • Plant markets: Visit stores that sell plants, seeds, and agricultural stuff. They can provide information on full-sun plant varieties for your location.
    • Talk to owners of plant nurseries about their best-selling plant stocks, seedlings, seeds, and hybrids.
    • Seed suppliers and plant nurseries usually list hardiness zones, but those with exaggerated growing zones are usually unreliable. Note that these may not include climate zones, which are important to your plant selection.
  • Online sources: You can ask questions on Quora, Twitter, or your online community on Facebook. You can look at plant care and plant type sections on Pinterest, ask a search engine, or explore plant databases such as these.
    • The CIA World Factbook contains data about agricultural products of each country.
    • Kew Science maintains a database of almost 2 million plants around the world.
    • Wikipedia has a section on the world’s plants.

Final List of Full Sun Plants

Gardens are purpose-specific. You’re growing flowers for color and ornament, fruits for enjoyment, veggies for nutrition and cooking, or herbs for culinary or medicinal uses.

I’ve included four lists of examples of full-sun herbs, vegetables, fruits, and flowers for you to check out. They’re not complete by all means, but they’re a good place to start.

Before you begin, keep in mind that what we know about weather, temperature, and plants are based on information from the past.

  • Climates and temperatures: Local climates and temperatures are changing due to changes in the ozone layer, corona sunspot events on our sun, pollution effects around the world’s mantle, and erratic weather developments. Use these lists for guidance instead of for definitive rules.
  • Plant species and adaptations: At the same time, the biological exchange, spread, and exports of plant species continue despite national boundaries, rules, and technology. Thus, plants known to grow in one type of climate can adapt and thrive over time in another climate.
  • Plant traits and characteristics may also change in the course of strain adaptation or species evolution. For instance, harmless plants may develop harmful toxins. Edible parts may become fatal. Again, use the following lists with care.

First, let’s see what herbs thrive in full sun.56 Full-Sun Herbs

The term “herb” can refer to a bush or plant with non-woody stems. That’s a bit confusing when we talk about herbs and herbal stuff.

You see, the term “herbals” actually refers to the roots, leaves, bark, flowers, and other plant parts that can be gathered from vines, bushes, or trees to be used for flavoring, medicinal, perfume, food, and other uses.

In the following herbal identification list, the “zone” labels indicate the USDA plant hardiness zones that correspond to heat zones (average sunshine exposure per day). Put simply, the higher numbers indicate plants that grow well in more sunshine.

In other words, herbals with only high zone numbers love a lot of sun and heat. Those with a range of numbers from low to high mean that they’re fine with various amounts of heat and sunlight.

Warning: The following list is for information only. Please use it with caution. Many of these herbals can be toxic or can cause unwanted side effects.

Common namesHardiness ZonesHardiness Zones
Amaranth, love lies bleeding, careless weed, Palmer’s pigweed, Palmer amaranth, dioecious amaranth, tumbleweed7-13Amaranthus palmeri
Basil, surasa, sweet basil, joseph wort, garden basil, lemon basil, Thai basil, Genovese basil, purple basil10-13Ocimum basilicum
Bay laurel, laurel, Grecian laurel, sweet bay, true laurel,10-13Laurus nobilis
Black cumin, black seed, fennel flower, kalonji, black caraway, Roman coriander5-10Nigella sativa
Black nightshade, European black nightshade, blackberry nightshade10-13Solanum nigrum
Borage, burrage, bugloss, bee plant, beebread, borago, cool tankard3-10Borago officinalis
Calendula, marigold, common marigold, ruddles, Scotch marigold9-11Calendula officinalis
Canary creeper, canary bird flower, nasturtium9-13Tropaeolum peregrinum
Caraway, meridian fennel, Persian cumin, carvi4-10Carum carvi
Cayenne pepper, tabasco pepper, bird pepper, chili pepper, sweet pepper, red pepper, Christmas pepper, ornamental chili pepper9-11Capsicum annuum
Chervil, French parsley, garden chervil8-10Anthriscus cerefolium
Chia, Mexican chia, salba chia9-12Salvia hispanica
Chicory, bunk, cornflower, succory, blue daisy, wild endive, horseweed, blue dandelion, coffeeweed, blue sailors, blue weed, ragged sailors, wild bachelor’s buttons3-10Cichorium intybus
Chives, flowering onion, garlic chives, flat-leafed chives3-10Allium schoenoprasum
Cilantro (see Coriander)10-13 
Coriander seeds, Cilantro leaves, Chinese parsley, dhania2-11Coriandrum sativum
Cumin, anis acre, Roman caraway, faux anis5-10Cuminum cyminum
Dill, American dill9-11Anethum graveolens
Eucalyptus, blue gum, fever tree8-11Eucalyptus gunnii, E. globulus, E. nitens
Fennel, marathos6-11Foeniculum vulgare
Fenugreek, goat’s horn, Greek hayseed, hilba, methi, Greek clover9-11Trigonella foenum-graecum
Ginger, Canton ginger, cooking ginger, canton, stem ginger, common ginger7-10Zingiber officinale
Green onion, spring onion or scallion6-9Allium fistulosum
Henna, mignonette, Egyptian privet 9-11Lawsonia inermis
Holy basil, baranda, brinda, Indian basil7-10Ocimum sanctum, O. tenuiflorum
Kalanchoe, Madagascar widow’s-thrill, flaming Katy, florist kalanchoe, Christmas kalanchoe,10-12Kalanchoe blossfeldiana
Lantana, wild sage, west Indian lantana, big sage, red sage, white sage, tickberry, lantana verbena9-13Lantana camara
Lemon eucalyptus, lemon scented gum, spotted gum, aerial eucalyptus, Australian fever tree8-11Eucalyptus citriodora
Lemon verbena8-11Aloysia citriodora
Lemongrass, fever grass, citronella grass, lemon grass, citron grass, West Indian lemongrass6-9Cymbopogon citratus
Licorice, liquorice, sweet root, sweetwood10-13Glycyrrhiza glabra
Lovage, smellage, Maggi plant, American lovage, Cornish lovage, Italian lovage, old English lovage3-9Levisticum officinale
Marjoram, sweet marjoram, knotted marjoram, garden marjoram6-9Origanum majorana
Mexican mint marigold, ansillo, sweet mace, Mexican tarragon or marigold, sweet-scented marigold, Texas tarragon, pericón, yerbaniz  6-11Tagetes lucida
Mint, lamb mint, brandy mint, American mint, lammint, peppermint3-9Mentha piperita
Nasturtium, common nasturtium, garden nasturtium, monks cress, Indian cress,  poor man’s capers9-11Tropaeolum majus
Nepitella, nepetella, nepeta, lesser calamint, mentuccia, calamintha5-10Clinopodium nepeta
Oregano, wild marjoram5-10Origanum vulgare hirtum
Parsley, Hamburg, garden parsley, rock parsley, common parsley, German parsley4-9Petroselinum crispum
Patchouli, stinkweed, putcha-pot, patchouly, mentha cablin9-11Pogostemon cablin
Racemosa coffee9-13Coffea racemosa
Red mint, Japanese basil, beefsteak plant, purple basil, pea mint, red raripila, rust-free mint9-13Mentha rubra raripila
Rosemary, compass weed, romero, compass plant, rosmarin, incensier, polar plant7-10Salvia rosmarinus, Rosmarinus officinalis
Rue, herb of grace, strong-smelling rue, garden rue, common rue6-11Ruta graveolens
Sage, Dalmatian sage, kitchen sage, garden sage, red sage, purple sage, golden sage, broadleaf sage3-10Salvia officinalis
Scented geranium, sweet scented geranium, rose geranium, rose-scent geranium, old-fashioned rose geranium8-13Pelargonium graveolens
Stevia, sweet herb, candy leaf, honey yerba, sweet leaf8-11Stevia rebaudiana
Summer savory10-11Satureja hortensis
Tarragon, sagewort, long hao, estragon, false tarragon8-10Artemisia dracunculus
Thyme, garden thyme, common thyme4-9Thymus vulgaris
Turmeric, haldi, manjal8-13Curcuma longa
Valerian, garden valerian, all-heal, setwall, garden heliotrope4-9Valerian officinalis
Winter savory, mountain savory6-11Satureja montana
Wormseed, Mexican-tea, Jesuit’s tea, herba sanctæ Mariæ, paico, epazote9-13Dysphania ambrosioides
Yarrow, old man’s pepper, devil’s nettle, stench grass, bloodwort, sanguinary, soldier’s woundwort, milfoil, thousand leaf, nosebleed3-9Achillea millefolium
Full-sun Herbal Identification Guide

PRO TIP: Full-sun herbs can grow in high, mild, or low temperatures. For instance, winter herbs such as chamomile, coriander, chives, curry leaf, lavender, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon, and thyme can be grown in low temperatures provided they get full sun and enough heat.

Next, here’s a list of flowers that thrive in full sun.

56 Full-Sun Flowers

The flowers of a plant usually stand out from foliage with their colors and shapes to attract pollinators (bees). Petals are usually thinner and more tender than leaves, so too much sun can cause colors to bleach, petals to shrink, shrivel, and drop off faster.

In the following list, higher-numbered hardiness zones indicate flowers that bloom well in high temperature and high sunlight hours. Low numbers indicate plants that are hardy and thrive in lower temperatures.

Common NameHardiness ZonesScientific Name
Amaranth, love lies bleeding, spiny amaranthus, needle burr, spiny pigweed, prickly callau, prickly caterpillar, spiny callaloo, sticker weed2-11Amaranthus
Amaryllis, March lily, belladonna lily, naked-lady-lily7-11Amaryllis belladonna
Anthurium, tailflower, flamingo lily, laceleaf10-13Anthurium andraeanum
Aster, sweet aster, Chinese aster, New England aster, European Michaelmas daisy, calico aster, smooth aster, Italian aster, aromatic aster, New York aster7-13Aster ageratoides
Baby’s breath, common baby’s breath, showy baby’s breath, panicled baby’s breath1-13Gypsophila paniculata
Begonia, angel wing begonia, cane-stemmed begonia, coral begonia6-12Begonia semperflorens cultorum
Bellflower, American bellflower, Codonopsis, Chinese bellflower, dane’s blood, clustered bellflower3-11Campanula
Blanket flower3-11Gaillardia
Bolivian begonia10-12Begonia boliviensis
Bougainvillea, paper flower10-12Bougainvillea glabra
Bugleweed, bugle herb, St. Lawrence plant, carpetweed, carpet bugleweed, common bugle, burgundy glow, bronze beauty, blue bugle,4-11Ajuga reptans
Bulbine, burn jelly plant, stalked bulbine, cat’s tail, snake flower9-11Bulbine frutescens
Calendula, pot marigold, ruddles, marigold9-11Calendula officinalis
Canna, purple arrowroot, edible canna, Indian shot, African arrowroot, Sierra Leone arrowroot10-12Canna indica
Carnation, clove pink6-12Dianthus caryophyllus
Chrysanthemum, mums, chrysanths, golden daisy10-13Chrysanthemum indicum
Clematis, western blue, virgin’s bower, mountain clematis9-12Clematis occidentalis
Coleus11Plectranthus scutellarioides
Columbine, granny’s bonnet3-11Aquilegia
Coral bell, alum root4-11Heuchera
Cosmos, garden cosmos, Mexican aster3-11Cosmos bipinnatus
Dahlia, dinner plate dahlia, Kelvin floodlight8-12Dahlia pinnata
Daisy, English daisy, lawn daisy, common daisy4-11Bellis perennis
Desert rose, mock azalea, impala lily, kudu, sabi star10-13Adenium obesum
Diamond frost, graceful spurge, baby’s breath euphorbia10-12Euphorbia hypericifolia
Fanflower, fairy fan flower9-11Scaevola aemula
Gardenia, cape jasmine8-11Gardenia jasminoides
Geranium9-12Pelargonium
Geranium, cranesbill, wood cranesbill, woodland geranium9-11L. Geranium sylvaticum
Gerbera daisy, Transvaal daisy, Barberton daisy5-12Gerbera jamesonii
Hibiscus, China rose, Hawaiian hibiscus, rose mallow shoeblack plant,10-11Hibiscus rosa sinensis
Ixora, jungle geranium, flame of the woods9-11Ixora coccinea
King’s mantle, bush clock vine, potato bush10-11Thunbergia Erecta
Lady banks rose, bank’s rose, climbing rose9-11Rosa banksiae
Lantana, lemon glow, wild sage, West Indian lantana7-12Lantana camara
Lavender7-11Lavandula angustifolia 
Lisianthus, prairie gentian, bluebell gentian9-12Eustoma
Mandevilla, rock trumpet9-11Mandevilla
Million bells, seaside petunia, mini petunia, trailing petunia9-11Calibrachoa parviflora
Moss rose, moss-rose purslane, rose moss, rock rose, eleven o’clock, sun rose, Mexican rose,2-11Portulaca grandiflora
Mugwort, St. John’s plant, sailor’s tobacco, naughty man, riverside wormwood, felon herb, old Uncle Henry, chrysanthemum weed, wild wormwood4-10Artemisia vulgaris
Nemesia6-11Nemesia caerulea
Parakeet flower, false bird-of-paradise, parrot’s flower, parrot’s beak, parrot’s plantain,10-13Heliconia psittacorum
Penta, Egyptian star cluster, star flower9-11Pentas lanceolata
Periwinkle, Madagascar periwinkle, annual vinca10-12Catharanthus roseus
Petunia10-11Petunia
Pineapple sage, tangerine sage8-11Salvia elegans
Plumbago, cape forget me not, blue plumbago9-11Plumbago auriculata
Plumed cockscomb, silver cock’s comb10-12Celosia argentea
Plumeria, nosegay, frangipani10-13Plumeria rubra
Powderpuff, red powderpuff, pink tassel flower, pink powder-puff9-11Calliandra haematocephala
Sacred lotus, Indian lotus, Egyptian bean, water lily8-13Nelumbo nucifera
Scarlet rosemallow, crimson rosemallow, swamp hibiscus, red hibiscus, wild red mallow6-12Hibiscus coccineus
Spider flower, pink queen, grandfather’s whiskers10-12Cleome hassleriana
Summer snapdragon, angelonia9-11Angelonia angustifolia
Sunflower4-8Helianthus annuus
Full-Sun Flowers Identification Guide

Next, let’s look at some fruiting plants that thrive in full-sun conditions.

34 Full-Sun Fruits

Heat-loving, fruit-bearing trees, bushes, and vines can provide us with an abundance of fruits in the right temperature and light. The good news is, many fruit-bearing plants from colder zones can be grown in higher-temperature zones too.

For instance, winter fruits such as raspberry, pear, grape, plum, apple, and blueberry can flourish in full sun at the right temperatures. Here are other fruit-bearing plants that love the sun.

Common NameHardiness ZoneScientific Name
Ackee, akee apple, ankye, achee, ayee10-13Blighia sapida
Alupag, longan, lychee,10-13Dimocarpus didyma
Ambersweet, Mandarin orange9-11Citrus sinensis
Avocado, alligator pear, avocado pear9-13Persea americana
Banana5-13Musa
Barbados cherry, acerola10-13Malpighia emarginata
Calamondin orange, calamansi, Philippine lemon, Philippine lime9-11Citrofortunella microcarpa
Cantaloupe, rock melon, sweet melon, Persian melon, muskmelon, netted melon, nutmeg melon7-11Cucumis melo var. cantalupensis
Cashew, kaju, cashew apple, cashew nut9-11Anacardium occidentale
Chinese-laurel, wild cherry, currant tree, Queensland cherry, bignay, salamander-tree,10-13Antidesma bunius
Coconut palm, coconut11-13Cocos nucifera
Dragon fruit, white-fleshed pitahaya10-11Hylocereus undatus
Grapefruit, pomelo, pamplemousse9-13Citrus × paradisi
Guava, yellow guava, lemon guava, apple guava, Brazilian guava9-13Psidium guajava
Jackfruit, breadfruit, jack tree10-13Artocarpus heterophyllus
Java olive, poon tree, wild indian almond, hazel sterculia10-13Sterculia foetida
Kiwi, kiwifruit9-11Actinidia deliciosa
Lemon, citron, limon9-13Citrus × limon
Loquat, Japanese plum, Japanese medlar9-13Eriobotrya japonica
Lychee, Chinese cherry, leechee10-12Litchi chinensis
Mango, manga, ambra10-12Mangifera indica
Mangosteen, manggis11-13Garcinia mangostana
Melon9-11Cucumis melo
Miracle fruit, miracle berry, sweet berry, miraculous berry10-13Synsepalum dulcificum
Navel Orange9-13Citrus sinensis Osbeck
Papaya, pawpaw10-13Carica papaya
Passion fruit, grenadine, purple granadilla10-12Passiflora edulis
Pineapple guava9-13Acca sellowiana
Pineapple, piña 9-11Ananas comosus
Plantain, plátano, cooking banana, French plantain10-13Musa × paradisiaca
Pomegranate9-13Punica granatum
Soursop, custard apple, guanabana, Brazilian paw, cherimoya, graviola10-13Annona muricata
Starfruit, carambola, five-corner10-12Averrhoa carambola
Sugar apples, sweetsop, custard apple10-11Annona squamosa
Full-Sun Fruiting Plant Identification Guide

If your area experiences irregular seasonal or climatic patterns, this may be caused by pollution damage to the ozone layer or other meteorological conditions. In that case, please use the preceding tables as guides rather than as definitive standards.

20 Full-Sun Vegetables

The best time to plant full-sun veggies is during the warm season between mid-March and mid-April when temperatures start rising up to the 90s.

However, autumn or winter vegetables such as artichoke, arugula, broccoli, carrot, chard, collard, kale, broccoli, beetroot, cabbage, cauliflower, fava bean, garlic, kohlrabi, lettuce, leek, parsnip, shallot, spinach, and zucchini can grow in with the right light and temperature.

PRO TIP: For full-sun vegetables, the best sunlight exposure would be a combination of morning sun and afternoon sun because hot midday sun can burn tender leaves.

Common namesHardiness ZonesScientific names
Alpine mignonette strawberry9-13Fragaria vesca
Bush bean, string bean, green bean, garden bean, dwarf bean, kidney bean, field bean, snap bean, French bean, pole bean3-13Phaseolus vulgaris
Carrot, garden carrot, little finger carrot3-10Daucus carota sativus
Chard, beet, garden beet, red beet, spinach beet, sea kale beet, swiss chard, rhubarb2-11Beta vulgaris
Corn, maize, milho2-11Zea mays
Cucumber, gherkin, garden cucumber4-12Cucumis sativus
Eggplant, aubergine, melongine, garden egg, guinea squash5-13Solanum melongena
Kale, collards, green cabbage, leaf cabbage, borecole, wild cabbage7-9Brassica olera
Lettuce, iceberg lettuce, butterhead lettuce, red lettuce, bibb lettuce, romaine lettuce7-13Lactuca sativa
Mexican coriander, culantro, sawtooth coriander, long coriander, shadow beni, recao9-13Eryngium foetidum
Okra, ochro, ladies fingers, gumbo6-11Abelmoschus esculentus
Peas, green pea, snow pea, snap pea, English pea, sweet pea, garden pea7-11Pisum sativum
Pumpkin, gourd, musky gourd, winter squash, calabash3-12Cucurbita moschata
Radish, garden radish, cultivated radish, wild radish, Chinese radish, Japanese radish, Oriental radish, mooli, rabano3-11Raphanus sativus
Rocoto pepper, tree pepper, tree chili, rukutu11-13Capsicum pubescens
Spinach, samba lettuce7-11Spinacia oleracea
Sweet potato, yam, English sweet potato, Spanish sweet potato, Brazilian arrowroot, camote10-12Ipomoea batatas
Tomatillo, Mexican husk tomato, wild tomatillo, Mexican ground cherry, large-flower tomatillo, tomatillo ground-cherry, tomatillo, jamberry6-10Physalis philadelphica
Tomato, cherry tomato, garden tomato3-13Solanum lycopersicum
Zucchini, summer squash, field pumpkin, autumn squash, courgette, ornamental gourd, summer squash, winter squash, acorn squash, pepper squash, butternut squash4-12Cucurbita pepo
Full-Sun Vegetable Identification Guide

Takeaways

You need to know your full-sun plants so that you can move potted plants to where they can get enough sunshine or provide them with the right amount of artificial lights.

On the other hand, if you’re gardening outdoors, you want to know what not to plant in shaded areas. To summarize:

  1. Full sun: The term “full sun” refers to plants that require 6 to 8 hours of sunshine daily. These can be herbs, vegetables, fruiting plants, or flowering plants that need high, low, or average temperatures. (Note: full sun does not mean high temperature).
  2. Sunlight hours: Too much or too little sunlight can affect the health and productivity of plants. The number of sunlight hours of each area can be determined by location according to plant hardiness zone mapping.
  3. Climate temperature: The climate temperature of each area affects plants, not just by the amount of sunshine but also by the amount of rain, snow, moisture, and wind according to the mapping of average area temperatures.

Here you know now what are the full sun plants. I wish you happy gardening!

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Andrea

A young Italian guy with a passion for growing edible herbs. After moving to the UK 6 years ago in a tiny flat, it was impossible to grow herbs outside. So I start my journey in growing indoor and so I decided to share my knowledge.

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