Orange-centred yellow rock roses

Plants for a south-facing border

Check out some of our favourite plants to grow in sunny, south-facing beds and borders.

There are many plants that’ll enjoy growing in a sunny, south-facing border. These spots can really bake in the summer months, so you need to choose plants that can take the heat.

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For many plants, a bright spot like this is essential to prevent them from becoming leggy. It’ll also encourage more flowers for a longer period of time.

To break up your borders and add some texture, try dotting in grasses like stipa, deschampsia and miscanthus. Take a look at these grass and flower combinations for more ideas.

Got an indoor sun-trap? Discover some of best houseplants for sunny spots.

To complete your border, check out some of our favourite climbers for a south-facing wall.

Check out some of our favourite plants for a south-facing border, below.

Bold, architectural plants like agaves make great focal points in sunny borders.

Sedums

If not grown in full sun, tall-growing sedums like Sedum spectabile and Sedum telephium can flop over. Plant them in a south-facing garden to prevent them from becoming leggy.

Pink sedum buds
Pink sedum buds

Chamomile

Chamomile is a pretty, aromatic plant. Both annual chamomile (Anthemis arvensis) and perennial chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) are easy to grow, and thrive in full sun.

Daisy-like corn chamomile flowers
Daisy-like corn chamomile flowers

Mediterranean herbs

Mediterranean herbs like thyme, sage and rosemary not only come in handy in the kitchen, but they’ll also provide pretty, nectar-rich flowers for pollinators. For ground cover, try rosemary ‘Prostratus’.

A carpet of purple-flowering thyme
A carpet of purple-flowering thyme

Alliums

Ornamental alliums can be used to great effect dotted amongst borders. They’re easy to grow and will attract a range of pollinating insects. The seedheads can also be left in place to provide winter interest. Discover more plants with attractive seedheads.

Vivid purple allium flowerheads
Vivid purple allium flowerheads

Nepeta

Catmint (nepeta) is a favourite with pollinating insects. Grow in a light, well-drained soil and cut back after the first blooms have finished to encourage a second flush. Here’s how to use it in a nectar-rich container display.

Purple-blue catmint flowers
Purple-blue catmint flowers

Euphorbia characias

Many euphorbias can be grown in full sun. For the front of the border, try the low-growing Euphorbia myrsinites. For something more statuesque, Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii or Euphorbia x pasteurii.

Tall lime flower spikes of Euphorbia characias
Tall lime flower spikes of Euphorbia characias

Cotton lavender

Cotton lavender, Santolina chamaecyparissus, is a Mediterranean native, so is perfectly suited to the sunny conditions of a south-facing border. The aromatic foliage grows to form a neat mound and, in summer, yellow pom-pom shaped flowers appear.

Silver-grey cotton lavender foliage
Silver-grey cotton lavender foliage

Pittosporums

Pittosporums like Pittosporum tenuifolium and Pittosporum tobira are valued for their evergreen foliage and powerfully scented blooms. Provide them with shelter from cold, drying winds.

White flowers and glossy leaves of pittosporum
White flowers and glossy leaves of pittosporum

Agave

Bold, architectural plants like agaves make great focal points in sunny borders. Some of the hardier species are Agave montana and Agave parryi. To ensure their hardiness, it’s critical that they’re kept as dry as possible over winter. Grow in a very free-draining soil, and consider lifting or covering in winter.

Purple-spiked, cream and grey Agave parryi
Purple-spiked, cream and grey Agave parryi

Helianthemums

Helianthemums, or rock roses, are low-growing, evergreen shrubs. Lots of flower colours are available and they look lovely allowed to tumble over a wall and soften border planting schemes.

Orange-centred yellow rock roses
Orange-centred yellow rock roses
Architectural grey-green cardoon foliage
Architectural grey-green cardoon foliage

More architectural plants to grow in full sun

  • Yucca filamentosa
  • Beschorneria yuccoides
  • Verbascum thapsus
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