I’m lucky enough to have big, broad balconies with a variety of different light levels. I love hanging small plants from baskets, with different varieties suited for deep shade, part sun, and full sun areas.
It can be tricky to get the best plants for each region, as no single type of plant can do it all. Let’s look at some options for growing in baskets at home.
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What is Full Sun?
Full sun describes a bright, well-lit part of your garden or patio. While it’s easy to assume full sun plants require dusk-till-dawn illumination, most only need six or more hours of direct sunlight daily to thrive.
Plenty will enjoy a solid amount of early morning sun and an hour or two in the afternoon, for example.
Many full-sun plants will do fine in part shade, too. So long as your shady spot gets lots of sun for part of the day, your hanging basket plant will be fine.
In fact, many a tender perennial performs better in partial shade during the heat of summer than they would in a full sun location.
Why Grow Plants in Hanging Baskets?
Growing full sun plants in hanging baskets allows you to position them around your home or garden to get that solid six hours or more a day.
As the seasons change, so does the sun’s orientation, and you may find it necessary to move your baskets to more brightly lit aspects. A spot with great light in the late spring or early summer may fall into deep shade by late fall.
Hanging your plants also allows you to have them right at eye level. For many plants, like primroses and violas, their dainty flowers really shine when brought up from the ground, and for others, it’s more practical – a hanging cherry tomato needs no stooping come harvest!
Hanging baskets are also easy to tend. They drain well, stay warm, and are protected from ground-dwelling pests like snails and slugs. I also find spotting disease or other problems very easy when an ailing leaf is right in front of my face.
50 Best Full Sun Plants for Hanging Baskets
1. Sweet Alyssum
Sweet Alyssum is a trailing plant that is easily trained to cascade in frothy waves from a basket. It’s a favorite of butterflies and bees, as its pink, purple, or white flowers are deeply fragrant and appealing. It’ll bloom happily through the summer, providing a lush seasonal perfume.
2. Sweet Potato Vine
This is an ornamental relative of the edible tuber you may well have in your kitchen and is just as endearing. The vine produces good-sized leaves in purples, greens, and burgundy, so consider hanging a basket of sweet potato vine by exposed western windows as a living shade cloth.
Ivy is an easy-to-care-for climbing vine that has no hassles at all growing in a basket. They have gorgeous glossy green leaves and a forgiving nature, making them a good choice for container plantings like a hanging basket.
I’m partial to Algerian Ivy, but the more common English Ivy will grow as easily. They do just as well in full shade as in a sunny spot, one of this list’s most versatile and tolerant plants.
4. Black-Eyed Susan Vine
This American wildflower is a late summer bloomer, bringing punchy color to the dog days of the season. Once it gets going, it’s tough to kill and produces hardy vines that can rapidly fill out even the most generous basket. They divide readily, so it won’t be long until your entire porch is draped in cheery gold and black.
5. Moss Rose
Moss rose, also known as portulaca, is an annual native to South America. They are well adapted to hot and dry conditions and don’t need a lot of maintenance to thrive.
These plants are known for their colorful, saucer-shaped flowers that bloom in various colors, including white, red, orange, yellow, and pink.
6. String of Pearls
I love the weird-looking leaves of the string of pearls – each is a perfect glossy green bead with a tiny transparent slit to let in the light.
They’re ground-creepers, so when grown in baskets, their intrepid vines hang like the eponymous string of pearls. Don’t overwater, and be sure to provide them with well-drained soil and a basket with lots of drainage holes.
7. String of Dolphins
Like the string of pearls, the string of dolphins is a trailing succulent with fat, water-filled leaves. It has similar needs, especially concerning drainage.
The dolphins’ leaves are indeed dolphin-shaped, with neat tails and a clear patch across their bellies. They’re a low maintenance charmer, producing fluffy, strongly perfumed blooms through the cooler months.
8. Wave Petunias
Petunias of all kinds are a popular choice for baskets, with reliable flowers in a variety of colors. I’m partial to wave petunias – they produce pink, purple, or red blooms with charming ruffled edges on their flowers. They do best in moist soil with good drainage.
9. Munstead Dwarf Lavender
I love the fragrance of soft, velvety lavender leaves. Dwarf varieties thrive in baskets, bringing their gentle fragrance to balconies and porches.
Munstead Dwarf Lavender is a cultivar of English lavender and, like its parent plant, loves free draining soils and long, hot days.
10. Ivy Geranium
Geraniums are tough customers well suited to warm, exposed locations. This variety loves the heat and is a great choice for spots otherwise too exposed to support a flowering plant.
They bloom in shades of red, gold, pink, and white, with soft, velvety leaves that are fragrant and appealing year-round.
Marigolds are fast-growing plants available in a range of colors, with a variety to suit just about everyone. They’re quite hardy once established, perfect for bringing a pop of color to warm decks and porches, both as filler plants or in their own basket. Deadhead regularly for more blooms.
12. Cardinal Flower
The Cardinal flower is a variety of lobelia known for its small red flowers that grow in tall, elegant spires. They’re a wonderful choice for those who enjoy propagating their own seeds, as each small flower in their gorgeous groups can produce viable seeds.
13. Licorice Plant
The small licorice plant is among the best hanging basket plants for your front porch. It’s typically a tiny plant in its first few months but can top out at a foot and a half in the following year, with almost twice the sprawl. Prune old blooms to keep the licorice plant attractive.
Also known as trailing vinca, this delightful plant is a firm favorite for hanging baskets and containers. Periwinkles have been so long they’re available in a wide range of colors, from white and pink to classic shades of blue and purple.
Pansies are one of the most long-cultivated of the cottage garden flowers, a low growing annual that’s great for low hanging baskets.
They prefer cooler aspects and need to be deadheaded regularly but will reward tender care with abundant flowers of almost every color imaginable.
Lantana is another prime candidate for hot, exposed parts of your balcony or porch. It’s heat tolerant and produces tight clusters of tiny blossoms in a bewildering variety of colors.
Baskets are also the perfect way to showcase their bright blooms, as it’s known to become invasive in tropical areas when planted in the ground.
Nasturtiums are edible plants that are a good option for even the most black-thumbed growers. They’ll grow just about anywhere and in flower baskets will provide delicious orange and yellow flowers and large, crisp leaves. Their flavor is peppery and fresh, so they’re a fantastic choice to shade a well lit kitchen window.
If you’re up to a challenge, consider a big basket bristling with bougainvillea. Like lantana, it’s an aggressive spreader when planted in the ground.
In a hanging planter, on the other hand, it brings bright, variegated leaves and papery pink, white, and purple blooms. Its thick vines and stout thorns make it the perfect choice for windows you’d rather people didn’t climb into.
19. Donkey’s Tail
Succulents like donkey’s tail are ideal candidates for the hottest, most exposed parts of the garden or other outdoor space. They grow slowly, with long draping vines of tightly packed leaves.
They don’t ask for much beyond the occasional drop of water and are an excellent, easy-care plant for beginner gardeners of all ages. They’re also easy to propagate, with every single leaf capable of generating whole new plants.
20. Sun Coleus
Sun coleus is a colorful hanging plant with fantastically patterned, almost fuzzy leaves. Depending on the variety, you may be treated to red, yellow, pink, brown, or bronze leaves with dazzling patterns along their ribbing and veins. They love a well lit spot but need warm temperatures to endure outdoors.
Traditionally used as a healing herb, verbena will bring a soothing charm when grown in baskets. It’s a versatile grower, cultivated as both an annual and a perennial, and produces flowers in a wide range of colours, from crisp blues right up to scarlet and bright purple.
22. Madagascar Jasmine
There are few things as glorious as the sweet spreading fragrance of jasmine. Madagascar jasmine is the best call for growing this enduring favorite in tight locations – it’ll drape elegantly from a basket just as well as it can climb a trellis. It produces small, powerfully scented blooms all through the growing season.
Fuchsias produce a characteristic bright pink bloom that droops from baskets for a real eye-blazing pop of color. They’ll do well in brightly lit areas with some afternoon shade, especially in warmer climates. They like to be kept moist, so watch your water levels through the hotter parts of the year.
It’s hard to go past the cupflower for truly bushy growth and punchy blooms. It’s a long-blooming annual that starts small and slow before maturing into a brisk grower.
They feature fine, stiff leaves over multiple stems and their characteristic dainty flowers when mature. These love the morning sun the best, so hanging them with an eastern aspect for a bit of shade in the afternoon is a good idea.
I love a flashy, trumpet-shaped flower, and the mandevilla delivers in spades. They produce huge blooms in shades of white, pink, red, and apricot on long elegant vines. They don’t need much attention and will do well in hotter, humid regions.
Sunpatiens are a relatively new cultivar of the otherwise shade-loving impatiens flower. They’ve been developed to thrive in bright sun.
They bring all the charm of a tradition impatiens with none of the fuss. They work wonderfully in mixed baskets as a centerpiece with other vining plants.
27. Dragon Wing Begonia
Begonias are a classic cottage garden bloom enjoying a bit of a revival of late, largely thanks to the indoor plant craze. Dragon Wings are particularly good for baskets, as they’ll spread their paired wing-shaped leaves fetchingly downwards.
The flowers are also spectacular, ranging from pale white to purples and pinks. Watch your pH, and be sure to feed frequently.
28. Million Bells
Million Bells really does live up to its name – it’s a compact, petunia-like annual that is a prodigious bloomer. It’s often hard to even see the foliage beneath the dense canopy of blossoms.
They’re available in pink, yellow, orange, and blue varieties and can be planted in groups for a rainbow effect. It’s one of the best hanging basket plants and is a regular feature at your average local garden center.
29. Sweet Pea
Many vining plants make excellent basket features, and the sweet pea is no exception. Vines that would otherwise shoot up a trellis will instead trail in airy waves of white, purple, and pink flowers. Dwarf cultivars like the Bijou or Little Sweetheart produce short, non-climbing vines that are an excellent choice.
Delicate and dainty lobelias are an annual with a compact growth habit that blooms in shades of purple, blue, and white. Deadhead regularly, and they’ll reward you with dense flushes of radiant new flowers all the way through from early spring till the first frosts of winter.
31. Lotus Vine
Also called ‘fire vine’ or ‘parrot’s beak,’ this is a cheeky little ground cover with fine needle-like leaves and flared blooms that truly do look like tight clusters of flame.
They’re bright orange and red, short-lived but a vibrant treat nonetheless. They’re the ideal choice for gardeners after a more unusual ornamental plant.
While technically a type of pansy, violas warrant their own mention for their late blooming and cold tolerance. They provide eye-catching blooms throughout the winter, with a cultivar to suit anyone’s taste.
I’m partial to the tricolor varieties for their lush blooms and wonderful fragrance. They’ll keep flowering all the way to the first frost.
33. Annual Vinca
Also known as primrose, there are few flowers prettier. Hanging your spring vinca is a great way to bring these low-growing flowers up to eye level, where they can be easily appreciated.
It also protects them from ground-dwelling pests like snails and slugs, as they adore vinca almost as much as people do.
34. Cherry Tomato
An unusual choice, to be sure, but cherry tomatoes are an out-of-the-box winner for cultivating edible plants in baskets.
Folks in apartments or small homes don’t need to miss out on the joy of growing their own food, as tomatoes will happily trail their vines downwards and spoil their growers with fruit.
Look for compact cultivars suited to your region, and be sure to plant in a rich potting mix and feed well once flowers appear.
35. Dwarf Pepper
Like cherry tomatoes, dwarf peppers thrive in the warm, well-draining conditions your average hanging basket provides. It’ll keep them free of pests and provide good access to their burgeoning crop of peppers.
The Numex Twilight cultivar is a good starter, with moderately warm peppers and a forgiving attitude to their watering schedule.
While you might be familiar with this herb from your favorite pizza, oregano is an easygoing creeping herb that couldn’t care less if it’s grown in a basket instead of the ground.
It produces its fragrant green leaves on long creeping vines, with purple undersides and dark fuzzy upper surfaces that make them as easy on the eye as they are on the taste buds.
37. Spider Plant
Spider plants are primarily grown for their sprawling, bright green leaves and their remarkable ease of propagation.
They’re true tropicals and do best in warmer climates, but they are also a fantastic choice to hang in bright windows indoors. They’re scientifically proven to scrub the air around them of hazardous gases, so they improve air quality as well as delight the eye.
38. Purple Heart Tradescantia
For a truly unusual display, consider the Purple Heart Tradescantia. This robust ground cover produces stunning purple leaves and tiny, delicate flowers, and while typically grown as a bedding plant, it’ll burst from a basket with vigor. They love strong sun and warm days and aren’t overly fussed about soil quality.
The heliotrope’s dense, richly scented flowers make them a great choice for a full sun basket. They thrive in the brightest conditions and can become leggy if their daily requirement of 6 hours or more of sunlight is unmet.
They must also be fed regularly through the growing season and kept well watered. But with its needs met, you’ll be rewarded by a long blooming season of wonderful fragrant blossoms.
40. Fan Flower (Scaevola)
This Australian native is a creeping ground cover best known for its tight clusters of fan-shaped flowers. Most are shades of purple or lavender, and the fan flower pumps them out no matter how badly neglected. Keep these tender perennials warm, and you will see flowers no matter how often you forget to water them.
Dianthus is also known simply as pinks, and for a good reason – its fluffy flowers are so vibrantly pink they’re almost a dictionary definition of the color.
They’re a diverse bunch, so aim for a dwarf variety for filling out your basket without spilling out. Ensure good drainage and a slightly alkaline soil for best results.
42. Creeping Jenny
Vibrantly lime green leaves packed tight on creeping vines make the creeping jenny a great choice for baskets. It spreads easily to fill the top before spilling fetchingly down the sides. Its flowers are small but sweet, a cheery yellow. Keep them in sandy, free-draining soil for best results.
43. Fairy Rose
Many dwarf rose varieties are well suited to the swinging basket lifestyle, and the fairy rose is a perfect example. It rarely gets over a few inches tall, producing tight sprays of powdery pink blooms.
Like most roses, it’s a heavy feeder, so be sure to add a bit of water-soluble plant food to your watering regime during the spring and summer.
Most know salvias through the most popular member of the family, sage. But ornamental salivas produce elegant spires of flowers in a stunning array of beautiful colors and a variety of different sizes, with a species suited to most climates.
Woodland saliva is perfect for cooler climates, producing blue and purple flowers, and people in warmer regions can enjoy the fiery blooms of the scarlet salvia.
45. African Daisies
African Daisies are popular for hanging baskets due to their hardiness and almost psychedelic color range. They produce abundant blooms in a bewildering spread of different colors ranging from plain purple and white to eye-popping gold, violet, and black. They’re one of the best flowers for warm, arid regions.
46. Mexican Daises
Totally different from African daisies, the Mexican daisy produces tiny flowers in stunning quantities year-round. Also called fleabane or erigeron, it has narrow, hairy leaves and blooms in colors from bright white and yellow to pinks and reds. They respond well to pruning and can be almost completely revived with a haircut.
Sometimes called cocks comb or wool flower, these striking annuals produce fluffy fox-tail-like blooms in blazing shades of bring magenta, red, yellow, scarlet, and orange. They’re easy to care for, with low water needs and a fondness for warm aspects.
48. Asparagus Fern
The asparagus fern is a good choice if you aren’t fussed by flowers. It features long drapes of spiky foliage that just don’t quit. Keep them well-watered and fed for spectacular results. They’re a great addition to floral displays, with their dense foliage providing an excellent backdrop to colorful blooms.
While more commonly used as a spiller plant in container gardening, there’s nothing to stop folks from growing this perennial plant in baskets. It’s a succulent with fat, luscious leaves and small flowers in a range of bright colors. They have low water requirements and are one of the best trailing plants for warm regions.
Slow-growing zinnias make up for their gradual spread with generous spreads of flowers. This slow growth rate, even in the right conditions, makes them the right plants for small baskets you absolutely have to use. They are very hardy and drought-tolerant but will grow in most climates, depending on the variety you choose.
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