Best Plants for Hanging Baskets in Full Sun

The Ultimate Guide to the Best Plants for Hanging Baskets in Full Sun‍

Best Plants for Hanging Baskets in Full Sun
Photo by angelsharum on Pixabay

‍Are you looking to create a vibrant and stunning display of hanging baskets in your garden? If so, you’ve come to the right place!

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the best plants for hanging baskets in full sun. With the right selection of plants, you can create a colorful and eye-catching display that will thrive in sunny spots.

Benefits of Hanging Baskets

Hanging baskets are a fantastic way to add vertical interest and beauty to your garden. They can transform any space, from a small balcony to a sprawling backyard. Here are some of the benefits of using hanging baskets:

  1. Space-saving: Hanging baskets allow you to utilize vertical space, making them ideal for small gardens or balconies.
  2. Versatility: You can hang baskets from pergolas, fences, walls, or shepherd’s hooks, adding visual interest to any area.
  3. Easy maintenance: Hanging baskets are generally easy to care for, requiring less bending and kneeling compared to ground-level beds.
  4. Flexibility: You can easily change the plants in your hanging baskets to suit the season or your personal preferences.
  5. Color and texture: Hanging baskets offer an opportunity to showcase a variety of plants, creating a stunning display of colors and textures.
  6. Attract pollinators: Many flowering plants in hanging baskets attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, contributing to a thriving ecosystem in your garden.

Now that we understand the benefits of hanging baskets, let’s dive into the best plants that thrive in full sun.

1. Ivy Leaf Geranium

The Ivy Leaf Geranium is a beautiful trailing plant that adds elegance to any hanging basket. With its thick, waxy leaves and trailing habit, it is a perfect choice for sunny spots.

The flowers come in a variety of colors, including white, pink, red, and purple. These tender perennials bloom continuously until frost, providing a colorful display all summer long.

If you live in a cold winter region, treat them as annuals or overwinter them indoors.

2. Petunia

No summer garden is complete without the vibrant and abundant blooms of petunias. These sun-loving plants are available in a wide range of colors and patterns, making them a popular choice for hanging baskets.

Wait until all threat of frost has passed before planting them in full sun. Provide ample water and regular fertilization to promote vigorous growth and a profusion of colorful blooms.

3. Million Bells

Calibrachoa, also known as Million Bells, is a delightful annual plant that produces an abundance of small, petunia-like flowers.

These flowers bloom continuously in full sun, creating mounds of color throughout the growing season. While Million Bells thrive in sunny locations, they require regular watering and fertilization to maintain their vibrant display.

4. Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea is a stunning and versatile plant that can be grown in hanging baskets. Known for its vibrant bracts that resemble flowers, Bougainvillea thrives in sunny spots.

This plant requires as much sun as possible and should be allowed to dry out slightly between waterings. With proper care, Bougainvillea can be overwintered before the arrival of cold temperatures.

5. Portulaca

Also known as moss rose, Portulaca is a drought-tolerant plant that thrives in full sun. With its vibrant flowers in various colors, including white, pink, yellow, and magenta, Portulaca adds a pop of color to any hanging basket.

These succulent plants can tolerate neglect and prefer the soil to dry out slightly between waterings.

6. Dragon Wing Begonia

Dragon Wing Begonias are beautiful cane begonias that make excellent choices for hanging baskets. Their pendulous blooms add grace and charm to any display.

While they prefer part shade, they still require a few hours of direct sun for optimal growth and flowering. Keep the soil consistently moist to ensure the best results.

7. Begonia boliviensis

Begonia boliviensis is a stunning begonia variety that prefers fairly moist soil. It can tolerate full sun but also performs well in part sun conditions.

Many newer cultivars have been developed to thrive in full sun, offering a wider range of choices. Water the plant when the surface of the soil feels dry to the touch and provide regular fertilization.

8. Sunpatiens

If you love impatiens but have only sunny locations, Sunpatiens are the perfect solution. These impatiens varieties thrive in full sun and bring vibrant color to your hanging baskets.

Ensure these plants receive ample water and regular fertilization to prevent wilting due to dry soil.

9. Black-Eyed Susan Vine

While Black-Eyed Susan Vine is typically grown on trellises or supports, it can also be successfully grown in hanging baskets.

The vines of this plant will wrap around everything, creating a captivating display. Keep the soil consistently moist and provide full sun for the best results.

10. Tradescantia pallida ‘Purpurea’

Tradescantia pallida ‘Purpurea,’ also known as Purple Heart or Wandering Jew, is a trailing plant with striking purple foliage. It adds a touch of beauty to mixed hanging baskets or can be grown on its own.

Full sun brings out the rich purple color of the foliage, making it a captivating addition to your hanging basket. However, note that the plant’s color may not be as deep if it doesn’t receive enough sunlight.

11. Lantana

Lantana is an excellent choice for hot and sunny locations. With its beautiful multicolored blooms, Lantana adds vibrancy to any hanging basket.

Give these plants at least half a day of sun for optimal blooming. Additionally, Lantana attracts hummingbirds, hummingbird moths, and butterflies, adding an extra touch of life to your garden.

12. Sweet Potato Vine

Sweet Potato Vine is a popular choice for mixed hanging baskets due to its stunning foliage. It is an extremely vigorous grower, with vines that can quickly reach the ground.

These plants thrive in full sun and require plentiful water to prevent wilting.

13. Verbena

Verbena is a commonly available hybrid plant that produces beautiful colorful flowers. These tender perennials can be grown outdoors as annuals in colder climates.

Water thoroughly after allowing the soil to dry out slightly. Good drainage is essential for these plants’ health, and they are a favorite of insect pollinators.

14. Lobelia

Lobelia is a cool-weather plant that produces rich purple flowers. This tender perennial is often grown as an annual in colder zones.

Keep the plant well hydrated during hot and dry periods, and consider pruning up to 1/3 of the plant to encourage new growth and flowers.

15. Licorice Plant

The Licorice Plant features silvery foliage that contrasts beautifully with other plants in your hanging baskets. This vigorous grower is best limited to one plant in mixed baskets. Provide ample water, especially if grown in full sun.

16. Vinca

Vinca, also known as Catharanthus roseus, has glossy green leaves and colorful flowers. This plant is native to Madagascar and grows to about a foot tall.

Once established, it is drought-tolerant. However, be cautious of overwatering to prevent root rot.

17. Pansies

Pansies are cool weather plants that thrive in temperatures ranging from 40-60°F (4-16°C). These hardy biennials can be grown outdoors as annuals in colder climates.

Prune them back in late summer or early fall to encourage fresh growth and new flowers.

18. Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums are not only beautiful but also have edible flowers with a peppery taste. They come in vining and bushy varieties, making them versatile choices for hanging baskets.

Water your nasturtium hanging basket when the top 1-2 inches of soil have dried out.

19. Burro’s Tail

Burro’s Tail is a gorgeous succulent that adds unique texture to hanging baskets. While it is often grown indoors, it can also thrive in a protected, sunny spot outdoors.

Allow the plant to dry out completely before watering and provide plenty of direct sun.

20. Bacopa

Bacopa is an excellent filler plant for hanging baskets. Most varieties produce small white flowers, with some having purple flowers.

These plants prefer evenly moist soil and may stop blooming temporarily if the soil dries out too much.

21. Dichondra ‘Silver Falls’

Dichondra ‘Silver Falls’ is a vigorous trailing plant that works well in mixed hanging baskets. Its cascading silver foliage adds a unique touch to any display.

Trim the plant as needed to maintain its desired length.

22. Creeping Jenny

Creeping Jenny, belonging to the genus Lysimachia, is a trailing plant with stunning chartreuse leaves. It prefers at least half a day of sun and a well-draining yet moist soil.

23. Strawberries

Why not grow strawberries in hanging baskets? They are a great option if you have limited space or want to add an edible touch to your garden.

Ensure they receive full sun, and refer to a detailed post on growing strawberries in hanging baskets for valuable tips.

24. Scaevola

Scaevola is a heat and drought-tolerant annual that works wonderfully in hanging baskets. With its self-cleaning flowers, deadheading is not necessary.

These plants thrive in full sun and prefer evenly moist soil.

25. String of Pearls

String of Pearls is a popular trailing plant often grown indoors. However, it can also thrive outdoors in high-light conditions.

When transitioning your plant from indoors to outdoors, gradually acclimate it to prevent burning. Start by placing it in full shade before gradually increasing the amount of direct sun.

26. Sweet Alyssum

Sweet Alyssum is a charming plant that produces fragrant white flowers. They also come in purple, pink, and peach varieties.

These plants require ample sunlight to bloom heavily, and air circulation benefits their growth.

27. Ivy

Ivy is a versatile plant that can thrive in both sun and shade. Outdoors, it is easier to grow compared to indoor conditions. Provide plentiful water, especially if grown in full sun.

28. Nemesia

Nemesia performs best in cooler temperatures of spring and fall. When they start to look tired, prune them back and fertilize to encourage new growth and flowers.

29. Osteospermum

Osteospermum plants add a burst of color to hanging baskets. These upright plants come in a wide range of colors and attract pollinators. Consider pairing them with trailing plants for a visually appealing display.

30. Trailing Coleus

While Coleus is typically considered a shade-loving plant, certain varieties, like ColorBlaze Chocolate Drop and ColorBlaze Strawberry Drop, thrive in full sun.

These trailing coleus varieties perform beautifully outdoors and provide a unique touch to hanging baskets.

31. Mandevilla

Mandevilla plants are often grown with trellises or supports, but they can also be grown in hanging baskets. Choose mounding varieties for tidier growth.

Provide at least half a day of sun for optimal results.

32. Cherry Tomatoes (bush varieties)

Growing cherry tomatoes in hanging baskets is a fantastic option for those with limited gardening space. Look for bush varieties that are suitable for containers.

These plants require ample sun to produce an abundant harvest.

33. Heliotrope

Heliotrope is a delightful plant known for its beautiful purple flowers and delightful fragrance. Provide plenty of sun and consistent watering for the best results.

34. Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’

Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’ is a stunning plant that produces clouds of white flowers throughout the growing season.

It works well as a filler plant in hanging baskets and adds an ethereal touch to any display.

35. Angelface Cascade Angelonia

Angelface Cascade Angelonia is a cascading variety of Angelonia that works wonderfully in hanging baskets. Its height and cascading habit make it ideal as both a filler and a spiller.

The purple and pink varieties add a splash of color to your hanging baskets.


In conclusion, there is a wide array of plants that thrive in full sun and are perfect for hanging baskets. Whether you prefer trailing plants like Ivy Leaf Geranium or vibrant blooms like Petunias, you can create a stunning display that will flourish in sunny spots.

Remember to provide ample water, regular fertilization, and proper care to ensure the success of your hanging baskets. Experiment with different combinations and let your creativity shine!

Now that you have a comprehensive understanding of the best plants for hanging baskets in full sun, it’s time to start planning and creating your own beautiful hanging basket garden. Enjoy the process and the beauty that these plants will bring to your outdoor space!

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