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  • Writer's pictureThe Rural Legend

Top 3 Favorite Sun & Shade Annuals

I just shared my 3 simple tips for how to get those summer potted plants looking as healthy and gorgeous as possible, but what plants should you choose in the first place?!

white portulaca

Everyone has their own styles and favorites, but here are my top 3 sun and shade plants I make sure to grab every year. Note: I live in Zone 6b and these are only available as annuals for me, they might be perennials depending on where you live!

What Types of Annuals Do Best in Sun?

1. Portulaca

hot pink portulaca in hanging pot

My absolutely hands down very favorite potted plant for summer and here's why - they're drought resistant! I may love gardening and know a thing or two about planting, but I definitely get forgetful about watering every day! This plant loves me anyway and shows up every day with gorgeous neon blooms and the cutest little succulent leaves that spread and cascade in hanging baskets and planters. Plus, port-chew-lacka is pretty fun to say, lol!

hot pink portulaca in pot

2. Zinnias

woman in sunhat with pink zinnia

Zinnias will always have a special place in my heart because they were my grandmother's favorite flower. I grow them from seed every year and they are SO easy to grow! They bloom all summer long and into the fall so you'll have vibrant and varied colors for months! I make sure to buy the mammoth zinnias for the best blooms! Oh and they may AWESOME cut flowers too!

bouquet of zinnias in glass vase

3. Marigolds

yellow and orange marigolds

To some they may seem a bit boring, but not only to they continue to bloom for months, they help to keep pests away from your garden! I always make sure to plant some in between my vegetables to deter bugs and rabbits!

What Types of Annuals do Best In Shade?

1. New Guinea Impatiens

purple new guinea impatiens

I clearly have a thing for vibrancy! I absolutely adore the dark almost black leaves against the neon hot pink and coral of the blooms! They also have a long bloom time so enjoy those colors!

2. Coleus

bright red and marroon coleus

Who says you need flowers to get color? While these DO produce small flowers, I love filling pots with different varieties of coleus because the leaves are absolutely breathtaking! Pro tip: when they start to flower, pinch the flowers off to encourage the plant to spread outward rather than upward.

3. Begonia


If you're a rose and peony lover, this one's for you! I love the layered frilled petals and what's even better is their long bloom time compared to their larger look-a-likes.

paver patio with patio lounge furniture and potted plants in backyard

If you missed my potting tips, you definitely need to check them out here! Did your favorite make the list? If it didn't tell me what you love to plant the most! Make sure you're following along on Instagram for extra tips and insider peeks at my own landscaping!

xoxo, L

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1 Comment

Nov 19, 2022

I havent thought about Portulaca in years. That used to be my Aunts flower, back in the day. I didnt realize how hardy it was. SO going to plant these.

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