Salvia and stachys

Plant combinations for full sun

We pick some of our favourite plant combinations for bright, sunny spots in the garden.

With such a vast array of garden plants that thrive in full sun, it can be hard to know how to start narrowing down the options.

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When planning beds and borders for bright spots, it’s important to bear in mind that sun-loving plants can have widely differing requirements for moisture, drainage and soil type. At the height of summer, full sun can really bake plants. Some plants, such as bearded irises, can cope and even benefit with such heat. Others need a more moisture-retentive soil, and more frequent watering, to cope with the hottest days.

Use our Plant Finder to choose sun-loving plants and to refine the options by soil type, moisture requirements and flower colour.

To help inspire you, we’ve selected seven gorgeous plant combinations for full sun, below.

Silver and yellow is a classic colour combination for hot, dry borders.

Agastache and eryngiums

This gorgeous combination of cool-toned Agastache ‘Blackadder’ and Eryngium planum ‘Blauer Zwerg’ ticks all the boxes – texture, colour and form. Provide both plants with very good drainage.

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Verbena and chocolate cosmos

Here, luminous and sumptuous colours bounce off of each other to create a striking display. Both verbena and chocolate cosmos are tender perennials so will benefit from some protection.

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Cardoon, scabious and nepeta

Planted with wildlife in mind – this container combination will prove a hit with bees and other pollinators. Cynara ‘Violet de Provence’, Nepeta x faassenii and Scabiosa ‘Blue Note’ are used.

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Artemisia and achillea

Silver and yellow is a classic colour combination for hot, dry borders. Planted here is Artemisia ludoviciana ‘Silver Queen’ and Achillea ‘Moonshine’, both of which perform best in soils with sharp drainage.

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Sedum and salvia

Ruby tones dominate here, with the stars being Salvia greggii ‘Royal Bumble’ and Sedum ‘Red Cauli’. If you like, leave the sedum flowerheads to provide winter interest.

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Dahlia and carex

This summer pot combination uses the russet tones of Carex comans as a backdrop to the dramatic Dahlia ‘Art Nouveau’. Lift and store the dahlia tubers over winter, though the carex can remain in place.

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Salvia and stachys

Pastel hues rule here. Fluffy texture is provided by lamb’s ears, Stachys byzantina, while bee-friendly salvias provide marvellous contrast. Plant in a dry, sunny spot and deadhead to keep the display coming.

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