COLOR FOR THE HOT SPOT Other than color for the shade, this is the largest category of questions we field. What is suitable for someplace that gets a lot of sun? “A lot of sun” to us means the hot, noon-day sun that occurs between 10am and 2pm. Straight down sun is much hotter than early morning or early evening light that creeps under trees. Hot noon-day sun also shows up between homes, even through the houses shade each other at the start and end of the day. Noon-day sun is a lot of sun, especially when there are four hours of it.
THRIVE IN THE FULL GLORY For many perennials, this is just manna from heaven. Shade perennials will burn in this kind of sun, but Suncatcher perennials thrive in it. No need for shade, no worries about heat—just give the garden regular water (they are not cacti), and you should be good to go.
- Lavender features beautiful purple flowers with silvery foliage and a heavenly scent.
- Veronica performs well under hot sunlight. Plant a mass of them for your own Candlestick Park!
- Leucanthemum, recognized as the Daisy, is a classic meadow plant that says, “home garden.”
- Achillea is a capable weed-suppressor and delivers long-lasting blooms. Modern achilleas come in a range of colors.
- Echinacea, or coneflower, is the queen of today’s garden. Although it started in pink, it comes in a range of jewel tones: warm yellows, solid oranges and rich purples.
- Coreopsis, another hot and dry performer, will bush up and take over a tough spot easily. It looks striking planted along a fence, roadside or driveway, or any place where dense color is desired.
- Perovskia is more subtle and nuanced. It gets a late start and produces heavy masses of thin blooms for a dense-yet-wispy look. A very distinctive plant, it survives flat islands of intense heat that roast other perennials.