10 Sun-Thriving Shrubs You Can Use in Your Landscape

Shrubs range in size from small to medium and are a woody plant. These differ from trees because of their multiple stems and short height. Shrubs make a great addition to any landscape because they can respond very well to renewal pruning. Depending on their growing conditions, plants can become shrubs or trees and most shrubs do not exceed 20 feet in height. Some shrubs only grow to between 4 feet to 6 feet and can be clipped as topiary, making them grow more densely. Shrubs grouped together in a shrubby habitat are typically species that are either deciduous or evergreen.

Of the many species, shrubs can thrive in certain climate environments, ranging from shady and cool to completely exposed to the full strength of the sun in warm climates. Here in Sarasota, there’s certainly no shortage of sunlight and summers are quite warm and balmy. Hydrangeas, for instance, like morning sun, but don’t do as well when exposed to a lot of sunlight through the day. These prefer shady conditions during the afternoon hours when the sun is at its hottest. Red Japanese barberry shrub is another species that likes sun in the morning, but grows best under shade during the long sunny hours of spring and summer.

Some Shade Loving Shrubs

Other species don’t perform well under sunlight but do thrive in the shade. Kalmia latifolia or mountain laurel is just one example. Found throughout New England, mountain laurel its natural habitat is woodland areas, where it thrives because it is shaded under larger trees. These sprout glossy, evergreen leaves and colorful flower clusters, which make for great landscape additions. Kerria japonica or Japanese rose is another shade loving shrub that is deciduous and blooms yellow colored flowers. Climbing hydrangeas are curious because they tolerate shaded areas, but do well when exposed to a reasonable amount of sunlight. Florida might prove to be a bit too much for these, if you are able to strike a balance.

Shrubs that grow best when exposed to morning sun are often categorized as needing “partial sun.” This is because these plants often can’t tolerate hot, afternoon sunshine. Many have broad leaves that scorch easily, or prefer cool soil. On the other hand, they still need some sun exposure to bloom and grow. —San Francisco Chronicle

Emerald and gold euonymus both do well in shaded environments but also need sunlight to be healthy and look their best. Pieris japonica or Andromeda shrubs emit a strong odor, so you either enjoy the scent or are repelled by it. This is an evergreen with a bonus, Andromeda produces flowers. Carol Mackie Daphne is in the family of climbing hydrangeas like shade but do need sunlight to grow healthy. Carol Mackie produces aromatic flowers, making it a great choice for landscape beauty.

10 Sun-Thriving Shrubs You can Use in Your Landscape

Though there are a number of shrubs which do well under shady or partial shade conditions, there are species which do well under direct sunlight. Here are ten shrubs that thrive in the sun:

  1. Gold mound spirea. This shrub not only thrives under the sun, it also has wonderfully colored flowers, making it a great choice for a landscape in the Florida climate. The foliage is typically gold during the spring season, turning yellow during the summer and then red in the fall months.
  2. Flamingo Japanese willow. This reddish-pink shrub takes a shape that’s much like that of a flamingo. It also does well in the sun but needs the right care to look its best.
  3. Forsythia. This yellow flowering shrub is one of the first to wake from winter when spring begins to arrive. Forsythia likes sunlight and proves so with its early flower blooming.
  4. Flowering quince. Having multiple colors such as orange, flowering quince can also be pink or red. It thrives in the sun and is a flowering shrub.
  5. Diablo ninebark. During the summer and spring months, this shrub is one that produces dark foliage and does well in sunny conditions.
  6. Mock orange. This white, fragrant flowering shrub is one that does well in the sunlight. The smells it produces ranges from sweet to more interesting aromas.
  7. Weigela Florida. This shrub grows 6 feet to 10 feet in height and produces, pink, red, or white flowers during the spring and first part of summer.
  8. Fothergilla bush. Also commonly called “bottlebrush,” this shrub will grow under shade or partial shade, but it performs best and looks most beautiful when it’s exposed to the sunlight.
  9. Doublefile viburnum. This deciduous shrub produces white flowers and grows 10 feet to 12 feet in height, with a larger spread.

Oakleaf hydrangea is another flower producing shrub that loves its sunlight. These shrubs grow in height and spread ranging from 4 feet to 6 feet and their summer white flowers become pinkish-brown as the fall months roll off the calendar.

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