Are you looking for some of the best full sun succulents to grow in your garden? Succulents have increased in popularity over recent years thanks to their low-maintenance requirements and drought tolerance. Plus, they are very popular as indoor plants.
Many of the hardier succulent plants enjoy growing in direct sunlight and require very little water to keep them thriving. This means that you can create gorgeous succulent gardens in your yard.
This is because succulents have the capacity to store water in their stems, fleshy leaves and roots that they can use to sustain healthy growth. They make a great addition to your garden because you just plant and enjoy them without too much fuss.
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There is also a huge range of different succulents that are easy to grow in a variety of different shapes and sizes. The added benefit is that many of these full sun plants will also flower with a range of different floral colours.
I’ve just started appreciating the convenience of growing succulents in my garden and am delighted by the huge range available. I have a delightful Christmas cactus in hanging pots that put on a glorious show in winter with their bright pink flowers.
Plus, I have a fairy crassula that has dainty white flowers and is so easy to propagate. This means that I can easily produce numerous of these to plant in different spots in the garden to fill empty pockets with color.
If you’re just getting started with succulents or you want some more to add to your collection, here are 25 of the best full sun succulents that you can add to a bright spot in your garden.
1. Adenium obesum (Desert Rose)
This is quite a stunning succulent with a swollen woody stem. These stems are topped with large leaves and the most spectacular pink trumpet flowers.
Unlike many other succulents, the leaves are quite flat and not as fleshy. They are also deciduous which means that they’ll drop off the plant as the temperature drops.
2. Agave Americana
I simply love the symmetrical form of an Agave. The large blue-green leaves form a perfectly symmetrical rosette that can add a bit of structure to the garden.
These plants look great when they’re planted in a group or along a driveway. They love growing in full sun as long as the soil is allowed to drain freely.
Agave plants also produce the most stunning flowers on a very tall, arching flower stalk. However, after the flower has finished, the rosette it grew from will die. But, don’t worry because Agaves produce pups or new rosettes from their base and these will be ready to take over when the mother plant dies.
3. Agave ‘Snow Glow’
If you love the perfect symmetry of an agave plant, then you’ll adore this particular cultivar. It has the most stunning and colorful leaves. They are a gray-green in the center with stripes of cream or yellow around the edges and the entire outer edge of the leave is colored a deep red.
Just watch out for the tips of the leaves because they can be quite sharp with visible spines.
4. Aloe vera
Aloe vera is another of my favorite succulents that loves to grow in a sunny position in a well-drained garden bed. The thick, fleshy leaves can store plenty of water so you will rarely need to top it up when grown outdoors.
Depending on the species, the bright green leaves will take on a red tinge when exposed to lots of sunlight. However, if the temperature rises above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) it is best to provide your aloe vera with a little shade so that it doesn’t get sunburnt.
Another benefit of growing aloe vera is that the sap from the leaves is a soothing gel that can be applied to the skin to treat sunburn or insect bites.
5. Aeonium (Tree Houseleek)
There are around 35 different species in the Aeonium genus and many additional cultivars. I’ve long admired these plants that produce their symmetrical rosettes on the top of tall fleshy stems.
There are stunning color variations from cultivars with lime green leaves with deep red edges to ones that have fleshy leaves that are almost black in color.
Apart from being easy to grow, these plants are also very easy to propagate by simply beheading them. I’ll talk more about this in a future article.
6. Cheiridopsis denticulata (Lobster’s Claw)
Succulent enthusiasts who want to add something more unusual to their collection should have a look at this plant. It’s quite low-growing and has very thick fleshy leaves that resemble the claws of a lobster.
This plant produces daisy-like flowers that can be either white or yellow. It makes a perfect ground cover in your rock garden.
7. Crassula ovata (Jade Plant)
Almost everyone would be familiar with the jade plant but there are actually a few different species that have the common name of jade plant. Crassula ovata is just one of them.
This lovely plant looks like a miniature tree and is quite comfortable with the intense heat in summer. It has a fleshy trunk and multiple branches. The leaves are thick and fleshy and oval in shape.
Sometimes, these deep green leaves can have red outer edges.
As is the case with most hardy succulents, let the soil dry out completely before giving the plant a watering. It’s always a good idea not to give succulents too much water because overwatering is the main reason that some succulents don’t survive.
8. Delosperma cooperi (Iceplant)
This hardy, spreading plant is the ultimate sun-lover. It has stems that spread across the ground and these are adorned with small fleshy leaves.
But, this plant really comes alive when it blooms. The flowers are daisy-like and bright pink in color. And, they can be so profuse that the whole plant is just a sea of color.
9. Dracaena trifasciata (Snake Plant)
There’s nothing quite as tough as the snake plant. Even gardeners with little to no experience can grow this plant without too much trouble.
It has thick, fleshy upright leaves that can be quite tall. There are a number of different cultivars that display leaves in varying beautiful colors and markings. Most commonly the leaves are striped or they can be deep green and edged with yellow.
You might also see this plant labeled as Sansevieria with other common names like mother-in-law’s tongue.
10. Dudleya caespitosa (Coast Duleya)
This is another rosette-forming succulent with thick fleshy leave that are pale green in color and cone-shaped. Each rosette can have up to 30 leaves which means it can make quite a statement in your garden.
Tall inflorescences grow from the center of the rosette and these are adorned with lovely bright yellow flowers.
11. Echeveria agavoides (Lipstick Echeveria)
This is one of those delightful succulents that produces gorgeous rosettes of fleshy leaves. It has lime green leaves that are usually tinged with red on the edges when grown in full sun.
However, during long spells of hot dry weather, you might want to give the plant a little shade in the afternoon. A little extra water during these harsh conditions will also help but don’t overdo it.
Moist soil is fine but never let the soil become waterlogged for extended periods.
12. Echeveria macdougalii
This is another relatively low-growing succulent that will reach a height of around 8 inches (20 cm). It grows as a loose rosette around a short fleshy stem. The leaves are quite small and fleshy.
They are lime green in color with a red tip. The red color is often more pronounced in the cold weather.
13. Echinocactus grusonii (Golden Barrel Cactus)
Did you know that cacti are also succulents? That’s because they have the same ability to store water in their thick stems and are very drought-hardy.
The difference with cacti is that many also have sharp spines so they have to be handled with care during planting or propagating.
One of the most stunning cactus species is the golden barrel cactus. It has a perfectly rounded shape with deep distinctive ribs and sharp golden spines.
This is definitely not one you want to grow near high-traffic areas but rather save it for a spot in a more secluded bright sunny spot in the garden.
Many cacti flower from the top of their crown and will produce the most stunning large blooms en masse. The golden barrel cactus produces gorgeous yellow flowers in spring.
14. Euphorbia antisyphilitica (Candelilla)
This is quite an interesting succulent that is quite different to many of the others. It has thin upright blue-green stems that grow in clusters from the base. Small pink flowers normally grow in clusters on top of these stems.
The stems are covered with a waxy substance that is commonly used in the cosmetic industry to help reduce the signs of ageing.
15. Euphorbia tirucalli (Fire Sticks)
If you are a fan of the coral that grows under the sea, you’ll absolutely love this plant. It doesn’t have notable leaves but rather long, thin succulent stems that branch profusely.
When this plant is grown in full sun, it will start out with green stems but these turn a bright orange color in winter and back to a golden yellow in summer.
When planted en masse in a well-drained garden bed, this plant really makes a statement in your garden with its changing colors.
16. Graptopetalum paraguayense (Ghost Plant)
This is a fairly small-growing succulent that is great as a ground cover. It has pointed leaves arranged in a rosette. The leaves are a gray-green color but these can take a more pinkish shade when grown in full sun.
In spring, the plant will produce small yellow flowers if the plant is exposed to plenty of sunshine.
17. Kalanchoe thyrsiflora (Flapjack or Paddle Plant)
This is a stunning succulent with large paddle-shaped leaves that are pale green with dark red edges. The leaves grow in a loose whorl and point upward.
In mid-summer, the plant will produce very tall inflorescences with small greenish-yellow flowers that are sweetly scented.
Both the leaves and inflorescences are covered with a thin white powder that is designed to protect the plant from sunburn.
18. Kalanchoe tomentosa (Panda Plant)
This is a delightful small growing succulent that has pale green fuzzy leaves with distinctive dark brown spots around the edges. It loves to grow in a sunny spot in your garden but is equally at home in a pot on a bright windowsill indoors.
If you’re experiencing some extremely hot weather during summer, your plant might develop some light-colored spots on its leaves. This is caused by too much sun but won’t damage your plant.
19. Portulacaria afra (Elephant Bush)
This succulent will grow like a miniature tree with a fleshy trunk and reddish branches. The leaves are quite small and round to oval in shape. They’re a lovely emerald green in color.
20. Sedum acre (Gold Moss Stonecrop)
This is a mat-forming succulent that is perfect for filling in spaces around taller growing varieties. When in bloom, this plant is simply spectacular with it golden yellow flowers that will cover almost the entire plant.
21. Sedum morganianum (Donkey’s tail or Burro’s Tail)
This stunning succulent grows best in a nice warm and sunny spot in a hanging basket or by being allowed to trail over a balcony or garden wall. It grows long trailing stems that are densely covered with thick round to oval fleshy leaves.
22. Sedum nussbaumerianum (Coppertone Sedum)
This is another low-growing succulent that will only reach a height of around 8 inches (20 cm). However, it produces lots of offsets so can spread readily through your rock garden.
The leaves on the rosettes turn to a gorgeous copper color when the plant is grown in full sun.
23. Sempervivum tectorum (Hens and Chicks)
This succulent is commonly called hens and chicks because the mother plant produces lots of offsets from the base. This makes it ideal for growing as a groundcover in a succulent or rock garden.
Not only can this plant grow happily in full sun but it is also quite cold-tolerant. Each plant forms a nice tight rosette with pointy leaves. The leaves can be a few different shades of green and most will have red edges when grown in the sun.
Flowers are produced on thick flower stalks and are star-shaped and pink or red in color. After it flowers, the rosette will die but there will be plenty of new ones to take over.
24. Senecio mandraliscae (Blue Chalk Sticks)
Succulents not only add color to your garden with their bright blooms, but many can also delight you with the colors of their leaves or stems. Blue chalksticks is one of the latter.
Its upright stems that form a closed rosette shape much like a lotus flower, are a gorgeous blue-green color.
Another bonus of this sun-loving plant is that it will spread which means it makes a great groundcover.
25. Senecio radicans (String of Bananas)
If you’re looking for an interesting trailing plant that you can grow in a hanging pot or trailing over a wall, then string of bananas is perfect. This lovely plant produces long trailing stems with small fleshy green leaves that resemble miniature bananas.
If you experience cold winters though, it may be better to grow this beauty in a pot so that you can bring it indoors during the colder weather.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are many species of succulents that cannot only survive in full sun but will also thrive.
Succulents, even those grown in full sun, do much better if you let the soil dry out completely before watering. This is because they store water in their stems, roots and leaves.
Yes, most Echeverias should be grown in full sun. If they don’t receive enough sunlight, they are likely to become quite leggy as they reach up to search for the light.
No, mature succulents don’t like to be misted as this can lead to rot. You should only ever mist young succulents that you’re propagating.
There are some succulent species that can go for months without water. Most cacti are a good example of this. But, the more fleshy succulents can usually go for around 2 to 3 weeks without water before showing any signs of stress.
Whether you’re just a beginner or a succulent enthusiast, there are plenty of succulents that will grow quite happily in full sun. While my list is not comprehensive, the ones mentioned are some of the best full sun succulents that you can grow.