14 Stunning Full Sun Shrubs

Oakleaf Hydrangea
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A wide variety of shrubs are famous for thriving in the sun, from large, flowering bushes to compact and hardy hedges. In most locations, full sun means between 6 and 8 hours per day, with some plants preferring morning sun and afternoon shade. Read on to learn about different full sun shrubs that will add a touch of brilliance to any outdoor space.

Before buying a landscape shrub, always check if a plant is invasive in your area. Visit the National Invasive Species Information Center or contact your local university extension office for advice on shrubs that may be invasive in your region.

Some of the plants on this list are toxic to pets. For more information about the safety of specific plants, consult the ASPCA's searchable database.

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Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia)

oak leaf hydrangea tree blossoms
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A deciduous shrub with white, showy flower heads, oakleaf hydrangea is native to woodland habitats of the American South, and is often grown as an ornamental flowering bush in parks and gardens. These hydrangeas thrive in hot summers and can tolerate drought, but the soil must be well-draining.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.
  • Soil Needs: Rich, moist, well-draining.
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American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)

Beautyberry, Callicarpa
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This moderate- to fast-growing open-habitat perennial shrub is native to the Southeastern United States and is often found in ornamental gardens. Known for its large clusters of purple berries, beautyberry typically grows 3 feet to 5 feet tall and equally wide, and has long, arching branches and leaves.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 6 to 10.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade.
  • Soil Needs: Rich, moist, well-draining.
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Pussy Willow (Salix discolor)

Pussy willow
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A weak-wooded deciduous shrub, the American pussy willow is native to Alaska, Canada, and the northernmost parts of the contiguous United States. These plants are remarkable because they produce catkins — cylindrical flower clusters with inconspicuous or no petals. Regular pruning of pussy willows will produce the maximum impact, as they are fast-growing and spread quickly.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 7.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade.
  • Soil Needs: Rich, loamy, well-draining.
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Banana Yucca (Yucca baccata)

Banana Yucca
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Native to the deserts of the Southwestern United States and Mexico, banana yucca gets its name from the banana-shaped fruit it produces. This plant, also known as Datil yucca or blue yucca, has long, stiff, leaves, reaching between 20 inches and 30 inches, and flowers in the spring. Banana yucca is particularly drought-tolerant and propagates easily from cuttings.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.
  • Soil Needs: Sandy; tolerates low fertility.
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Black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa)

Chokeberry grows on a Bush in late summer
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Native to southern Canada and the Eastern United States, black chokeberry is a branching shrub with glossy green leaves that is a member of the rose family. Its white or pink flowers appear at the end of spring, eventually producing dark fruits in the fall that are a food source for some birds. Typically reaching a height between 3 feet and 6 feet, this plant is not drought tolerant.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 6.
  • Sun Exposure: Prefers full sun; tolerates some shade.
  • Soil Needs: Adaptable; sandy to clay soils.
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Diablo Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius 'monlo")

Physocarpus opulifolius diabolo or ninebark foliage with white flowers

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The diablo ninebark is a flexible plant that tolerates a variety of soil conditions. Part of the rose family, this fast-growing deciduous shrub can reach heights between 4 feet and 8 feet.

Known for its purplish leaves, the ninebark blooms in May and June with a beautiful display of white or light pink flowers.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 7.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun, tolerant of partial shade.
  • Soil Needs: Prefers evenly moist, well-drained soil, but can tolerate wet soil, clay, and some drought conditions.
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Dwarf Fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii)

Fothergilla Plant Blossoming in Spring

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Native to the Southeastern United States, the dwarf fothergilla is a deciduous flowering shrub that grows upright, reaching heights between 3 feet and 5 feet.

This sun-loving plant blooms in April and May, displaying beautiful honey-scented white flowers. In your garden, the dwarf fothergilla will pair well with azaleas and rhododendrons. This plant is also known for its impressive fall foliage, which can boast variegations of orange, yellow, purple, and green.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 8.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to full shade.
  • Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained, acidic soil.
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Winter Heath (Erica carnea)

Winter heath with bokeh (Erica carnea)
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This low-growing evergreen shrub usually flowers in the winter, but in the right growing conditions it can continue to flower for most of the year. Typically reaching between 6 inches and 9 inches in height, this species has needle-like, medium-sized green leaves and can tolerate alkaline soils better than other heath varieties. Root rot may occur in poorly draining soils.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 7.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.
  • Soil Needs: Loamy, acidic, well-draining.
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Blue Star Juniper (Juniperus squamata 'Blue Star')

Juniperus squamata or flaky juniper blue star green plant
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A needled evergreen shrub with densely packed foliage, blue star juniper grows slowly into clumps that reach between 1 foot and 3 feet in height at adulthood. Ideal for mass planting as ground cover, blue star juniper also works well as a single specimen in rock gardens. It gets its name from the silvery-blue tint of its green leaves.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.
  • Soil Needs: Tolerates a range of soil types; well-draining.
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Dwarf English Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens 'Suffruticosa')

Lawn with plants. Boxwood, evergreen foliage plant
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This evergreen foliage plant reaches heights between 2 feet and 3 feet and works well as small hedging or in front of buildings. Often bordering flowerbeds and pathways, English boxwood is native to Europe, where uncultivated it is often found in the forest understory, beneath larger trees.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 6 to 8.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.
  • Soil Needs: Evenly moist, well-draining sand/clay mix.
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Common Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)

lilac blossoms
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Also known as French lilacs, this shrub is part of the olive tree family. Typically found growing on rocky hills, these large deciduous shrubs produce dense groupings of purple to white flowers with four lobes, which provide food for a variety of pollinators. This variety of lilac can become leggy, with an irregular outline to its foliage, and does not do well in particularly hot climates.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 7.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.
  • Soil Needs: Clay/loamy, well-draining; low acidity.
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Mock Orange (Philadelphus coronarius)

Bush of mock orange in bloom in the park in June
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These flowering deciduous shrubs are known for their intensely fragrant, orange-smelling flowers. Capable of reaching heights of 10 feet and a width of around 3 feet, mock orange is also known as English dogwood and is a popular ornamental garden plant in temperate regions, producing blossoms profusely in early summer.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.
  • Soil Needs: Tolerates a variety of soil types; prefers rich and permeable.
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Pink Poppet (Weigela florida)

Weigela florida Pink Poppet
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A low-maintenance deciduous shrub reaching between 3 feet and 4 feet in height, pink poppets attract a number of pollinators with their profusion of pink blooms. Well-suited to casual gardens or bordering steps and porches, these plants first bloom in spring and then again in the summer.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 8.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun.
  • Soil Needs: Well-draining, medium moisture soils.
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Tatarian Dogwood (Cornus alba)

Ornamental shrub of the White Derena Elegantissima or Cornus alba. Soft and selective focus. Delicate natural colors
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A hardy deciduous shrub with variegated leaves and striking red bark, these dogwoods grow rapidly and are adaptable to a multitude of soils, though they prefer colder climates. Propagated primarily by rooting stem cuttings, regular pruning of older stems will produce more striking coloration with new growth.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 7.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.
  • Soil Needs: Rich and well-draining. Keep moist.