30+ Popular Annuals that Can Handle Plenty of Sun (Color Explosion)

Photo gallery featuring annual flowers that like or can handle plenty of sun. Each flower includes water requirements, hardiness zones, soil pH, colors and more.

Welcome to our massive gallery featuring annuals that like or tolerate plenty of sun.

What are annuals?

Without getting into to much detail, they are flowers that last one season.  You buy more or re-seed each year.  Because annuals require effort each year, perennials are favored by people who like the idea of plant once and enjoy forever (or at least several years).

Perennials are the passive gardener’s preference.  I can see the merit of that, BUT, and there’s a big but, no garden should ignore annuals.

Annuals Photo Gallery

Click titles or flower images to enlarge images.  Gallery will load within seconds.

Corn Poppy (Papaver rhoeas)

Corn Poppy (Papaver rhoeas)
Common Name:
Corn Poppy
Scientific Name:
Papaver rhoeas
Sub Type:
Grouncover
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Full Sun
Water:
Moderate moisture
Soil PH:
5.0 to 5.8
Flower Color:
ed (sometimes purple or white)
Special Characteristics:
Container
Hardiness Zone(s):
3 to 10
Height At Maturity:
12" to 30"

Love in a mist (Nigella damascena)

Love in a mist (Nigella damascena)
Common Name:
Love in a mist
Scientific Name:
Nigella damascena
Sub Type:
Groundcover
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Full sun
Water:
Moderate moisture
Soil PH:
6.3 to 6.7
Flower Color:
Blue with cultivars in white, pink, rose and purple
Special Characteristics:
container
Hardiness Zone(s):
2 to 11
Height At Maturity:
16" to 24"

Annual Phlox (Phlox Drummondii)

Annual Phlox (Phlox Drummondii)
Common Name:
Annual Phlox
Scientific Name:
Phlox Drummondii
Sub Type:
Groundcover
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Full Sun
Water:
Moderate moisture
Soil PH:
4.5 to 7
Flower Color:
Pink, rose-red
Special Characteristics:
Attracts birds and butterflies, deer resistant, fragrant
Hardiness Zone(s):
2 to 11
Height At Maturity:
6" to 12"

Moss Rose (Portulaca grandiflora)

Moss Rose (Portulaca grandiflora)
Common Name:
Moss Rose
Scientific Name:
Portulaca grandiflora
Sub Type:
Groundcover
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Full sun
Water:
Moderate to dry
Soil PH:
5.6 to 7.5
Flower Color:
Pink Red Orange Pale Yellow White/Near White
Hardiness Zone(s):
2 to 11
Height At Maturity:
4" to 16"

Creeping Zinnia (Sanvitalia Procumbent)

Creeping Zinnia (Sanvitalia Procumbent)
Common Name:
Creeping Zinnia
Scientific Name:
Sanvitalia Procumbent
Sub Type:
Groundcover
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Full Sun
Water:
Moderate moisture to Dry
Soil PH:
5.5 to 7.5
Flower Color:
Orange, Pink,Purple,Red,White,Yellow
Hardiness Zone(s):
2 to 11
Height At Maturity:
6"

Dahlberg Daisy (Thymophylla tenuiloba)

Dahlberg Daisy (Thymophylla tenuiloba)
Common Name:
Dahlberg Daisy
Scientific Name:
Thymophylla tenuiloba
Sub Type:
Groundcover
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Full sun
Water:
Tolerates drought
Soil PH:
6.6 to 7.8
Flower Color:
Yellow
Special Characteristics:
Fragrant
Hardiness Zone(s):
9 to 10
Height At Maturity:
6" to 12"

Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia)

Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia)
Video:
Common Name:
Mexican Sunflower
Scientific Name:
Tithonia rotundifolia
Sub Type:
Groundcover
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Sun full
Water:
Moist to dry
Soil PH:
5.5 tp 7.5
Flower Color:
Orange-red with yellow center disk
Special Characteristics:
Attracts birds and butterflies, cut flower, deer resistant
Hardiness Zone(s):
3 to 11
Height At Maturity:
4' to 6'

White horehound (Marrubium vulgare)

White horehound (Marrubium vulgare)
Common Name:
White horehound
Scientific Name:
(Marrubium vulgare
Sub Type:
Groundcover
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Full sun
Water:
Drought tolerant
Soil PH:
6.8 to 7.5
Flower Color:
White
Special Characteristics:
Easy-to-grow, Attract birds and butterflies, Deer resistant, Container
Hardiness Zone(s):
3 to 10
Height At Maturity:
14"

Butter daisy (Melampodium paludosum)

Butter daisy (Melampodium paludosum)
Common Name:
Butter daisy
Scientific Name:
Melampodium paludosum
Sub Type:
Groundcover
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Full sun
Water:
Moderate moisture
Soil PH:
6.1 to 6.5
Flower Color:
Yellow
Special Characteristics:
Deer resistant
Hardiness Zone(s):
2 to 11
Height At Maturity:
1' to 2'

Four O’clock (Mirabilis jalapa)

Four O’clock (Mirabilis jalapa)
Common Name:
Four O’clock
Scientific Name:
Mirabilis jalapa
Sub Type:
Groundcover
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Full sun
Water:
Moderate, tolerates wet soil
Soil PH:
6.1 to 7.5
Flower Color:
Pink, rose, red, magenta, yellow, white
Special Characteristics:
Attracts bird and butterflies, deer-resistant
Hardiness Zone(s):
9 to 11
Height At Maturity:
2' to 3'

Annual mallow (Lavatera trimestris)

Annual mallow (Lavatera trimestris)
Video:
Common Name:
Annual mallow
Scientific Name:
Lavatera trimestris
Sub Type:
Groundcover
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Full Sun
Water:
Medium moisture
Soil PH:
6.3 to 6.7
Flower Color:
White to pink
Special Characteristics:
Attractas Birds and butterflies, Cut Flower and Easy-to-grow
Hardiness Zone(s):
2 to 11
Height At Maturity:
2' to 4'

Sweet Pea (Lathryrus odoratus)

Sweet Pea (Lathryrus odoratus)
Common Name:
Sweet Pea
Scientific Name:
Lathryrus odoratus
Sub Type:
Fragrant
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Full Sun
Water:
Medium Moisture
Soil PH:
5.8 to 7.0
Flower Color:
Cultivars in all colors except yellow
Hardiness Zone(s):
2 to 11
Height At Maturity:
3' to 8'

Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia)

Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia)
Video:
Common Name:
Crape Myrtle
Scientific Name:
Lagerstroemia
Sub Type:
Groundcover
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Full Sun
Water:
Moderate moisture
Soil PH:
5.0 TO 6.5
Flower Color:
Red, pink, white, purple
Hardiness Zone(s):
6 TO 9
Height At Maturity:
2' TO 10'

Paper Daisy (Helipterum roseum)

Paper Daisy (Helipterum roseum)
Video:
Common Name:
Paper Daisy
Scientific Name:
Helipterum roseum
Sub Type:
Groundcover
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Full Sun
Water:
Tolarates wet soil
Soil PH:
6.0 to 7.0
Hardiness Zone(s):
3 to 11
Height At Maturity:
12' to 20"

Everlasting Flower (Helichrysum Bracteatum)

Everlasting Flower (Helichrysum Bracteatum)
Common Name:
Everlasting Flower
Scientific Name:
Helichrysum Bracteatum
Sub Type:
Groundcover
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Full sun
Water:
tolerate wet soil
Soil PH:
6.6 to 7.5
Flower Color:
Yellow, purple, red, violet
Special Characteristics:
Deer resistant
Hardiness Zone(s):
3 to 10
Height At Maturity:
40"

Sunflower (Helianthus Annuus)

Sunflower (Helianthus Annuus)
Video:
Common Name:
Sunflower
Scientific Name:
Helianthus Annuus
Sub Type:
groundcover
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Full sun
Water:
Moderate moisture to tolerate drought
Soil PH:
6.0 to 7.5
Flower Color:
Yellow, red, mahogany, bicolor rays with brown to purple center disk
Special Characteristics:
Attracts birds and butterflies, container and deer-resistant
Hardiness Zone(s):
2 to 11
Height At Maturity:
3' to 20'

Globe Amaranth (Gomphrena Globosa)

Globe Amaranth (Gomphrena Globosa)
Video:
Common Name:
Globe Amaranth
Scientific Name:
Gomphrena Globosa
Sub Type:
Groundcover
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Full Sun
Water:
Moderate moisture, Tolerate Drought
Soil PH:
5.8 to 6.2
Flower Color:
White to yellow with bright magenta bracts
Special Characteristics:
Attracts Butterflies, Container
Hardiness Zone(s):
2 to 11
Height At Maturity:
1' to 2'

Fennel (Foeniculum Vulgare)

Fennel (Foeniculum Vulgare)
Video:
Common Name:
Fennel
Scientific Name:
Foeniculum Vulgare
Sub Type:
Groundcover
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Full sun
Water:
Moderate Moisture
Soil PH:
7.0 to 8.0
Flower Color:
Yellow
Special Characteristics:
Deep resistant, Fragrant, attract birds and butterflies
Hardiness Zone(s):
4 to 9
Height At Maturity:
4' to 6'

Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima)

Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima)
Video:
Common Name:
Sweet alyssum
Scientific Name:
Lobularia maritima
Sub Type:
Groundcover
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Full sun
Water:
Moderate moisture. Drought tolerant
Soil PH:
5.6 to 7.6
Flower Color:
White
Special Characteristics:
Fragrant
Hardiness Zone(s):
5 to 9
Height At Maturity:
0" to 12"

Petunia (Calibrachoa)

Petunia (Calibrachoa)
Video:
Common Name:
Petunia
Scientific Name:
Calibrachoa
Sub Type:
Grourdcover
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Full Sun
Water:
Moderate
Soil PH:
5 to 5.8
Flower Color:
Violet, blue, pink, red, magenta, yellow, bronze, white
Special Characteristics:
Easy-to-grow, Container
Hardiness Zone(s):
9 to 11
Height At Maturity:
12"

Blue floss (Ageratum houstonianum)

Blue floss (Ageratum houstonianum)
Common Name:
Blue Floss
Scientific Name:
Ageratum houstonianum
Sub Type:
Groundcover
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Full sun, Partial Shade
Water:
Medium Moisture
Soil PH:
4.5 to 7.5
Flower Color:
Blue, Pink, White
Special Characteristics:
Deer resistant, Attracts Birds and Butterflies, easy-to-grow, Container
Hardiness Zone(s):
2 to 22
Height At Maturity:
24" to 48"

Cocksomb (Celosia)

Cocksomb (Celosia)
Common Name:
Cocksomb
Scientific Name:
Celosia
Sub Type:
Groundcover
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Full Sun
Water:
Tolerate drought
Soil PH:
6 to 6.5
Flower Color:
Amigo Red, Armor Yellow, Flamingo Feather, Fresh Look Yellow, Fresh Look Red
Special Characteristics:
Cut Flower
Hardiness Zone(s):
2 to 11
Height At Maturity:
24" to 48"

Carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus)

Carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus)
Video:
Common Name:
Cardinal Flower
Scientific Name:
pink and peach
Sub Type:
Groundcover
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Full Sun
Water:
Moderate Moisture
Soil PH:
5.8 to 6.2
Flower Color:
red, yellow, white, purple, pink and peach
Special Characteristics:
Deer Resistant
Hardiness Zone(s):
5 to 9
Height At Maturity:
12" to 24"

Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
Common Name:
Cardinal Flower
Scientific Name:
Lobelia cardinalis
Sub Type:
Groundcover
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Full Sun
Water:
Tolerates wet soil
Soil PH:
5.5 to 7
Flower Color:
red white pink
Special Characteristics:
Attracts Birds and Butterflies
Hardiness Zone(s):
2 to 9
Height At Maturity:
24" to 48"

Garden stock (Matthiola incana)

Garden stock (Matthiola incana)
Video:
Common Name:
Garden stock
Scientific Name:
Matthiola incana
Sub Type:
Groundcover
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Full Sun
Water:
Moderate Moisture
Soil PH:
6.8 to 7.5
Flower Color:
Pink, lander, purple. white, yellow, red
Special Characteristics:
Deer Resistant, Fragrant
Hardiness Zone(s):
7 to 10
Height At Maturity:
24" to 48"

Marigold (Tagetes)

Marigold (Tagetes)
Video:
Sub Type:
Cut flower
Sun:
Full Sun
Water:
Needs moderate moisture
Soil PH:
5.5 to 7.5
Flower Color:
yellow, orange, red and maroon
Special Characteristics:
Cut Flower
Hardiness Zone(s):
9 yo 11
Height At Maturity:
24" to 48"

Pansy (Viola x wittrockiana)

Pansy (Viola x wittrockiana)
Common Name:
Pansy
Scientific Name:
Viola x wittrockiana
Sub Type:
Herb
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Full Sun
Water:
Needs Moderate moisture
Soil PH:
5.4 to 5.8
Flower Color:
red orange yellow blue violet white pink
Hardiness Zone(s):
4 to 8
Height At Maturity:
12" to 24"

Gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)

Gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
Video:
Common Name:
Gerbera daisy
Scientific Name:
Gerbera jamesonii
Sub Type:
Ground-cover, houseplant
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Full Sun
Water:
Needs moderate moisture
Soil PH:
6.1 to 7.5
Flower Color:
Orange Red Yellow
Special Characteristics:
Container, cutflower
Hardiness Zone(s):
8 to 9
Height At Maturity:
12" to 24"

Blanket flower (Gaillardia pulchella)

Blanket flower (Gaillardia pulchella)
Common Name:
Blanket flower
Scientific Name:
Gaillardia pulchella
Sub Type:
Groundcover
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Full Sun
Water:
Needs moderate moisture
Soil PH:
6.8 to 7.2
Flower Color:
Orange, Red
Special Characteristics:
Cut Flowers, Good for Containers, Easy-to-grow
Hardiness Zone(s):
3 to 9
Height At Maturity:
24" to 48"

Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)

Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)
Video:
Common Name:
Snapdragon
Scientific Name:
Antirrhinum majus
Sub Type:
Groundcover
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Full Sun
Water:
Needs moderate moisture
Soil PH:
5.5 to 6.2
Flower Color:
Green, Orange, Pink, Red, White
Special Characteristics:
Container
Hardiness Zone(s):
6 to 10
Height At Maturity:
1' to 8'

Geranium (Pelargonium)

Geranium (Pelargonium)
Common Name:
Geranium
Scientific Name:
Pelargonium
Sub Type:
Groundcover
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Full Sun
Water:
Needs moderate moisture
Soil PH:
5.5 to 6.8
Flower Color:
white, red, pink, purple or blue
Special Characteristics:
Deer Resistant, Fast-growing
Hardiness Zone(s):
8 to 10
Height At Maturity:
24" to 48"

African Daisy (Arctotis)

African Daisy (Arctotis)
Video:
Common Name:
African Daisy
Scientific Name:
Arctotis
Sub Type:
Groundcover
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Full Sun
Water:
Tolerates drought
Soil PH:
5 to 5.5
Flower Color:
Orange, Pink, Red, White
Special Characteristics:
Container
Hardiness Zone(s):
2 to 11
Height At Maturity:
12" to 24"

Love lies bleeding (Amaranthus caudatus)

Love lies bleeding (Amaranthus caudatus)
Video:
Common Name:
love lies bleeding
Scientific Name:
amaranthus caudatus
Sub Type:
Houseplant, Attracts birds
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Full Sun- Partial Shade
Water:
Needs moderate moisture
Soil PH:
5.5 to 7
Flower Color:
Red, Yellow Green, Dark Red
Special Characteristics:
Container
Hardiness Zone(s):
6 to 11
Height At Maturity:
4' to 8'

Swan river daisy (Brachycome iberidifolia)

Swan river daisy (Brachycome iberidifolia)
Video:
Common Name:
Swan river daisy
Scientific Name:
Brachycome iberidifolia
Sub Type:
Groundcover
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Full Sun
Water:
Tolerates Drought
Soil PH:
5.5 to 8
Flower Color:
Lavender, blue, violet, yellow or white rays with yellow to black centers
Special Characteristics:
Container, Easy-to-grow
Hardiness Zone(s):
6 to 10
Height At Maturity:
0" to 12"

Godetia (Clarkia amoena)

Godetia (Clarkia amoena)
Video:
Common Name:
Godetia
Scientific Name:
Clarkia amoena
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Plenty of sun and partial shade.
Flower Color:
Pink and White
Special Characteristics:
Easy to grow / Good for cut flowers / Attracts butterflies and birds / Fast growing
Hardiness Zone(s):
2 through 11
Height At Maturity:
24" to 48"

Rocket larkspur (Consolida ambigua)

Rocket larkspur (Consolida ambigua)
Video:
Common Name:
Rocket larkspur
Scientific Name:
Consolida ambigua
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Plenty of sun as well as some shade
Water:
Moderate
Soil PH:
6.1 to 7.3
Flower Color:
White, Lilac and Pink
Special Characteristics:
Attracts butterflies and birds.
Hardiness Zone(s):
2 through 11
Height At Maturity:
36"

Spider flower (Cleome hassleriana)

Spider flower (Cleome hassleriana)
Video:
Common Name:
Spider flower
Scientific Name:
Cleome hassleriana
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Plenty of Sun
Water:
Moderate moisture can tolerate slight drought
Soil PH:
6.0 to 7.0
Flower Color:
Pink and White (also bicolor)
Special Characteristics:
Attracts birds and butterflies / Fall color
Hardiness Zone(s):
2 through 11

California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)

California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)
Video:
Common Name:
California Poppy
Scientific Name:
Eschscholzia californica
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Plenty of sun
Water:
Drought tolerant
Soil PH:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
Flower Color:
Gold: yellow/orange
Hardiness Zone(s):
2 through 11

Cosmos

Cosmos
Video:
Common Name:
Cosmos
Scientific Name:
Cosmos
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Plenty of Sun
Water:
No need to water unless prolonged drought.
Soil PH:
6.0 to 6.8
Flower Color:
Pink, Orange, Red, Yellow and White
Special Characteristics:
Fragrant / Fast-growing / Fall Color
Hardiness Zone(s):
8 through 10

Morning Glory (Convolvulus tricolor)

Morning Glory (Convolvulus tricolor)
Video:
Common Name:
Morning Glory
Scientific Name:
Convolvulus tricolor
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Plenty of Sun
Soil PH:
6.0 to 6.8
Flower Color:
Red, White, Blue, Pink and Purple
Hardiness Zone(s):
3 through 10

Cape daisy (Dimorphotheca)

Cape daisy (Dimorphotheca)
Video:
Common Name:
Cape Daisy / African daisy
Scientific Name:
Dimorphotheca
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Plenty of Sun
Water:
Moderate: Every 2 to 3 days after transplant followed by 2x/week followed by once a week.
Soil PH:
5.0 to 5.5 (slightly acidic)
Flower Color:
Orange, Pink, Red and White
Hardiness Zone(s):
1 through 15
Height At Maturity:
120 mm

Fuchsia

Fuchsia
Video:
Common Name:
Fuchsia
Sub Type:
Also good as houseplants.
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Moderate Sun
Water:
Moderate
Soil PH:
6.0 to 7.0
Flower Color:
Pink, Red, White and Purple
Special Characteristics:
Attracts butterflies and birds / Good for containers
Hardiness Zone(s):
8 through 11
Height At Maturity:
360 mm

Lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum)

Lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum)
Video:
Common Name:
Lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum)
Scientific Name:
Eustoma grandiflorum
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Plenty of Sun
Water:
Moderate moisture
Soil PH:
6.5 to 7
Special Characteristics:
Attracts birds and butterflies
Hardiness Zone(s):
8 through 11
Height At Maturity:
200 mm

Blue Marguerite (Felicea amelloides)

Blue Marguerite (Felicea amelloides)
Common Name:
Blue Marguerite
Scientific Name:
Felicea amelloides
Type:
Annual
Sun:
Likes sun
Soil PH:
Neutral
Flower Color:
Blue
Special Characteristics:
Fragrant, Good for cut flowers,
Hardiness Zone(s):
9 through 11
Height At Maturity:
180 mm

Annuals at Our House

We have this amazing garden area next to our patio which is where we plant annuals every year. We’re not so ambitious to plant from seeds; instead my wife, 2 kids and I head to the nursery and load up on blooming annuals.

This makes for an instant explosion of color.  It’s a lot of fun because it’s like painting a large canvas as we envision our garden with the various flowers available.  Sometimes we pick some real winners but sometimes they’re duds.  It’s a bit of a crapshoot but I think it improves over time as you learn what works and doesn’t work in a particular garden over the years.

Annuals offer many benefits to any garden or yard.  Yes, you must plant a new batch each year and if you despise gardening, annuals aren’t for you.  But, if you like the idea of trying something new on for size each Spring/Summer, annuals are terrific.

Planting annuals requires some planning.  You can just dump whatever you like anywhere you like it.  Different annuals have different ideal growing conditions.

How much sun is “plenty” or “tolerates” sun?

A flower is rated to be fine with plenty of sun or tolerates sun if it does okay with 1/2 day or longer of sun.  At a minimum, that would be 5 to 6 hours and up.

Our Gallery

This annual photo gallery features many annuals that like and/or tolerate plenty of sun for those exposed areas in your yard.  You’ll notice for each flower listed, we provide quite a bit additional information such as water requirements, ideal soil pH, height at maturity, the main color options, hardiness zones and special features or characteristics.  When available, we include an instructional video as well.

Note that just because different flowers can tolerate plenty of sun does not mean their other characteristics are similar.  For example, some can handle drought while others still need plenty of water.

But the overarching theme with the gallery below is annuals that can handle a decent amount of sun.  Each flower included meets those two variables.

If you’d like to submit a flower, please do so here (and kindly include a document that at a minimum sets out the common name of the flower and any other info you’d like included).

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