14 Best Annual Flowers For Full Sun (Long Blooming)

Are you looking to spruce up your garden beds this spring? Maybe add some color and vibrancy with beautiful flowers? Today we are sharing the best flowering annuals for full sun..

Get ready for a garden full of beautiful flowers that feature long bloom times. Bright, bold and beautiful, most of these beautiful blooms can be found at local garden centers.

pink and white cosmos that bloom as annuals all summer long

The Best Flowering Annuals For Full Sun

These are some of the best annuals for full sun to brighten up your flower beds this summer. Many of these flowering annuals bloom all summer, so you’ll be able to enjoy pops of color and vibrancy all season.


sunflowers are an easy to grow annual that love full sun

Nothing says summer quite like the sunflower. These full-sun annuals can take the heat and come in many different colors-from red and orange, yellow and even black!

These bright blooms attract bees and butterflies with their cheery faces are so easy to grow. From dark red to light yellow, they come in a wide array of colorful hues. Sunflowers are one of the easiest flowers to grow!

Get creative and add variety by planting red sunflowers or dwarf sunflowers.

Sunflowers are inexpensive and tolerate poor soil. Dwarf varieties make a great addition to a cut flower garden.

Sunflowers are fool proof and a great flower for beginner gardeners. Plant from seed in a spot that has full sunlight and well-draining soil.


pink zinnias add color and beauty to the summer garden

Zinnias (zinnia elegans) are a prolific annual that bloom all summer. They look lovely growing next to a sunny garden, adding brilliant colors that attract bees and butterflies. They come in a wide range of colors and need well-drained soil in order to thrive.

Zinnias are very easy to grow from seed and make excellent cut flowers with a long vase life. They are very low maintenance annual plant that kids love to grow. (They are one of my daughter’s favorite flowers to grow!).

Learn how to keep your zinnias blooming all summer here.


Petunias are an easy to grow summer annual

Famous for their cascading flowers, petunias add brilliant color to the summer garden.

Petunias are a popular choice for hanging baskets, window sills, and containers. They can even be grown as a ground cover.

These beautiful flowers come in many colors and varieties, providing a fun way to add texture and vibrancy to the summer flower garden. Petunias love lots of sun, but can tolerate partial shade in the afternoons.

Nothing says summer quite like an overflowing basket of colorful petunias!


up close photo of heliotrope

Heliotrope is a vibrant shade of purple and wonderfully fragrant. It can be grown as an annual in most zones.

This unique flower has a delicious vanilla scent that is irresistible to bees and butterflies.

The foliage of heliotrope is deep green with lovely purple blooms. Classified as a half hardy perennial, heliotrope survives the winters only in zones 9 and 10. These plants are an excellent choice for a pollinator garden and one of our favorite annuals to grow!

You can try overwintering your heliotrope by growing it in a pot and bringing it inside during winter. These fragrant flowers will brighten up your garden and draw in happy pollinators.

Are you a busy gardener? Get our list of low maintenance flowers for busy people here.


field of cosmo flowers grown as annuals every summer

Cosmos are cheerful and easy to grow sun loving annuals that come in a wide array of colors and shapes. They thrive in hot, sunny locations.

When planted from seed, cosmos provide an incredible value, giving many plants per pack!

Cosmos are an easy to grow flower that can be used in arrangements. They come in many flower colors: bright pink, white, yellow and even bright orange. As an added bonus, you can collect cosmos seeds to re plant the following year. Both shorter and taller varieties of cosmos are available, and both are worth growing!

Cosmos do well in sandy soil with good drainage. Consider growing them alongside sunflowers and the perennial plant hot lips salvia.


up close photo of snapdragons

Snapdragons are charming cottage styled flowers that are coveted for their vibrant shades and quirky dragon face. They thrive in cooler weather and can be grown in early spring.

Grow snapdragons in full sun during the cooler spring months and in fall. During the heat of summer snapdragon may stop blooming, but they will begin to bloom again in early fall.

These popular flowers can be grown as short lived perennials. (They are not true annuals, just often grown as such). Plant them in rock gardens and containers (follow these tips!). The colorful flowers come in many bright colors and make beautiful bouquets.

Snapdragons are a long blooming flower that will bloom up until the first frost when watered and cared for.


up close photo of purple osteospermum, also known as african violet.

Osteospermum, or African Daisy, are grown in many climates as an annual. They thrive in the summer sun and make a great addition to a pollinator garden.

They boast a brightly colored petal that come in vivid shades of pink, purple, or white. Osteosperumum are easy to grow and make beautiful cut flowers. Give them evenly moist, well draining soil and of course, full sun.


Dahlias are a popular heat loving flower that can be growing as an annual in cooler climates.

There are hundreds of varieties of dahlias in every color of the rainbow! These one of the best plants for flower production, as one plant can produce hundreds of flowers each season (be sure to dead head spent blooms regularly). Young plants grow very quickly, giving you lots of beautiful blooms in late summer and fall.

If you live in a cooler climate you can dig up your dahlia tubers and re plant them in late spring to early summer.

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In zones 8-11, dahlias can be grown as perennial flowers. Give your dahlia tuber soil rich in organic matter and full sun exposure.

Visit your local nursery in spring to find your favorite variety of dahlia!


Marigolds are a classic flower that are often grown alongside of the vegetable garden. This beautiful flower attracts bees and butterflies to the garden during the growing season. Marigolds are full sun summer annuals and require little maintenance.

They come in bold colors of orange, yellow, and red. Don’t be afraid to plant marigolds in your flower bed for a bold splash of color. These long-lasting blooms will give you garden color until the first frost of fall.

These tropical plants crave warmth, so be sure to set them out after all danger of frost has passed.


up close photo of blue lobelia

Sky blue lobelia are a trailing vine adorned with tiny flowers. They often accent larger flowers in hanging baskets.

Lobelia is grown as an annual in most climates. Plant lobelia as a cascading flower in hanging baskets, containers, and window boxes.


Sweet and dainty, calibrachoa comes in tiny flowers of white, pink orange, red and lavender tones. These colorful flowers are often seen in hanging baskets, containers, and window boxes.

Plant alongside lobelia, wave petunias and potato vine for a lush display of overflowing flowers.


brightly colored lantana is a full sun annual and comes in a variety of colors

Lantana is a tropical flower that features brightly colored hues against darker foliage. These beautiful flowers bloom for a long time and are great plants for containers.

Lantana’s bold colors attract bees and butterflies, making them a perfect annual for a butterfly garden.

This annual really packs a powerful punch when it comes to color!

Lotus Vine

lotus vine annual flower

Also known as parrot beak, lotus vine is a unique fiery orange flower. The double flower head on this unique plant make it look like a parrot’s beak.

These quirky flowers are often planted in hanging basket due to their cascading habit. Lotus vine are very heat tolerant, making them a low-maintenance plant for full sun. Plant them in full sun flower gardens alongside other sun loving plants!

Lotus vine pair well in hanging baskets alongside petunias, verbena and potato vine.

Sweet Alyssum

Sweet alyssum features small puffs of pink, red, purple, or white flowers. This plant has large groups of tiny flowers available in a wide variety of colors.

Sweet alyssum is often grown as an annual, though it can survive as a perennial in zones 8-11.

With a light and sweet fragrance, sweet alyssum is very attractive to bees and butterflies. This cheerful plant loves rock gardens and full sun, making it the perfect annual for a sunny space.

For more fun color in your flower beds, try growing ornamental peppers! While technically not a flower, these full sun peppers look like brightly colored Christmas bulbs! Brighten up your space with these unique, fun plants.

Full Sun Annual List

Need a quick and easy check list list of our favorite recommended full sun annuals? Here they are:

  • Sunflowers (from seed)
  • Zinnias (from seed)
  • Petunias
  • Heliotrope
  • Cosmos (from seed)
  • Snapdragons
  • Osteospermum
  • Dahlia
  • Marigold
  • Lobelia
  • Calibrachoa
  • Lantana camara
  • Lotus Vine
  • Sweet Alyssum

What Is A Flowering Annual?

A flowering annual is a plant that flowers during the warmer spring and summer months. The entire plant dies once autumn frosts hit.

An annual is a plant that blooms for one season only. Annuals do not come back each year. A plant may act as a perennial in one climate and an annual in another, depending on weather.

Benefits Of Planting Full Sun Annuals

Purchasing annuals allows you to spruce up the flower bed for summer with plants that don’t grow well in your zone the rest of the year.

You can increase the variety of flowers in your garden during the summer season by purchasing flowering annuals.

Many annual flowers attract attract bees and butterflies, providing fodder for hungry pollinators. And they help create a garden full of charm and beauty.

calibrachoa, an orange flowering annual

Where To Plant Annuals

Annuals can be planted directly into flower beds, containers, raised beds and hanging baskets! Most annuals like loose, well draining soil. Different types of annuals have different preferences for sun or shade. In this article we focus on full sun annuals.

What Does Full Sun Mean?

“Full sun” Is a light requirement that can be ambiguous in meaning. Some annuals, like sunflowers, crave all day sun and can tolerate 10 hours of direct summer sun.

Others do well with just 4-6 hours of direct light (we’ve had success with this amount of light with petunias). A bit of afternoon shade can help many flowers survive the hot sun during summer.

For most flowers, full sun simply means between 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight. Different types of flowers may need different levels of light, even if they both say full sun.

For best results, research the specific flower grown for their summer sun needs!

blue lobelia

When To Purchase Annuals For Full Sun

Now that you have ideas for flowering annuals, you may be wondering when to purchase them, or if you should grow them from seed.

The most important thing about planting annuals is to make sure you are past the last frost date. In colder climates, this will be later in the spring. And in warmer areas you may be able to set out annuals in early to mid spring.

Just keep in mind that annuals need warm weather in order to thrive. Many of them come from warmer climates, such as Central and South America.

Oftentimes nurseries and garden centers will set out annuals but pull them out of the frost at night. Don’t fall for this sales trick unless you are able to bring your annuals in every night as well!

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