17 Best Cascading Plants For Full Sun

Cascading plants add beauty to gardens. The plants grow like vines that will trail down vertically, creating a waterfall effect. Some spread to retaining walls horizontally by creating a thick covering. It can also be a delight if you grow them on hanging baskets.

Growing these plants improve the appearance of dull walls or fences. If you want evergreen foliage and abundant blooms, you should know the suitable location where the plants flourish.

Sunlight is vital for the development of leaves and colorful flowers. So, check if the plants are in a sunny place.

We have gathered 17 of the best cascading plants you can grow under full sun. Read along to know which plant to choose.

17 Best Cascading Plants For Full Sun

Macro of beautiful, lush dark green leaves of Common Ivy or Hedera helix, English ivy or European ivy. Fresh green plant, nature wallpaper background. Gardening concept., 17 Best Cascading Plants For Full Sun

17 Best Cascading Plants For Full Sun

1. Common Ivy

Also known as English ivy, this plant is a good cover for walls and similar structures. The ivy likes shady to full sun exposure. It grows slowly but reaches up to 50 feet. As super climbers, they are low-maintenance as long as the soil is moist.

However, the common ivy is a notorious weed. The plant is a threat where there is vegetation. As they climb, tree trunks, branches, and twigs get enveloped by the vines.

As a result, the ivy prevents sunlight from reaching the tree's foliage. After many years, the tree will die. You should refer to your state regulations before you plant outdoors.

Macro of beautiful, lush dark green leaves of Common Ivy or Hedera helix, English ivy or European ivy. Fresh green plant, nature wallpaper background. Gardening concept.

2. Creeping Phlox

This plant is native to North American mountains. The phlox is an attractive groundcover growing well in full sun on moist, well-drained soil. Once it has matured, it becomes drought-tolerant.  

Although it naturally spreads horizontally, you can place it in hanging pots, so the colorful flowers overflow on the rims.

When growing on pots, here are the steps:

  1. Grow the phlox seeds indoors at least 6 weeks before the last frost. You can also buy them from a local plant nursery to start with the small plant.
  2. After the frost, transplant it to a pot with a good potting mix. Make sure that the pot has a draining hole.
  3. Do not overcrowd the plant to allow it to sprawl. Leave around 6 inches between each plant.
  4. Water the plant immediately after planting.

Avoid watering too much to prevent rot. Cutting the plant back also helps to encourage more blooms.

Perennial ground cover blooming plant. Creeping phlox - Phlox subulata or moss phlox on the alpine flowerbed. Selective focus.

3. Creeping Thyme

Even though creeping thyme is a groundcover, it will flourish in hanging baskets or window boxes. The ornamental herb is a full sun lover that can grow up to 3 inches. Be patient because the plant needs one year before spreading. 

When the foliage grows, it creates a soft look as they gently spill over.

Wild Thymus serpyllum plants in field. Many small pink flowers of creeping elfin thyme in herb garden. Breckland wild thyme purple flowers in summer meadow.

4. Candytufts

The beautiful blooms of candytufts can provide great retaining wall scenery. Choose a planting site where the candytufts can receive full sun. The plant will need at least 5 hours of direct sun exposure every day. 

The average candytufts height is around 6-8 inches, spreading from 12 -35 inches.

Macro of the low-growing, spreading sub-shrub candytuft Iberis sempervirens 'SnowFlake' flowering with small, pure white flowers in dense, flattened clusters in garden in spring

5. Arabis Alpina/Garden Rock Cress

This sprawling perennial loves the full sun. It naturally grows along streams and meadows as groundcovers. Its average height is 6 inches to 1 foot. The arabis has loose and spreading rosettes and 2-inch green leaves that cascade on the walls. 

If you want the plants to promote more blooms, you must cut back the foliage. Skipping the cut leads to bare branches, leaves only appearing at the ends, and a limited spread of rhizomes.

White flowers of Alpine Rockcress (Arabis alpina subsp. caucasica) of the 'Snowfix' variety and purple flowers of False Rockcress (Aubrieta deltoidea) in the garden, close-up, selective focus

6. Cascade Blue Rock Cress

This variant of rock cress has deep blue spring blooms. You can hang them over a rock wall or baskets to add color to the landscape. The plant will spread 1-1.5 feet across and 3-6 inches long if you plant under full sun.

Closeup on vibrant coloured flowers in purple, Aubrieta Cascade Blue, flowering plants called Rock Cress growing in the garden in spring, ground cover cascading plant.

7. Aubrieta/Purple Cascade

These purple flowering plant looks great when they cascade down a wall. If taken care of, the aubrietas create a waterfall appearance. You can also add them to your balcony or place them in hanging pots. 

Like other cascading plants, it loves the full sun and well-drained soil. It can grow from 6-8 inches and bloom from April to May. Cutting and dividing the plant will help in reblooming.  

Aubrieta deltoidea or aubrieta x cultorum Lilacbush or purple rock cress with lavender to pink inflorescence and green oblong and lobed leaves

8. Trailing Lobelia

Lobelias will spread well with at least 4-6 hours of full sun. You can plant the trailing lobelias in a hanging basket together with other trailing plants to create some accent in your garden.

They can be fillers or spillers if you combine them with other annuals. You can plant a mass of lobelias to spill over a rock wall or along a slope.

Lobelia erinus (edging lobelia, garden lobelia or trailing lobelia plant with blue flowers

9. Climbing Strawberry

You can plant some climbing strawberries with sweet and abundant fruits if you have limited gardening space. They love a sunny location but will need some overcast when temperatures are hot.

Climbing strawberries do not climb on their own. For this type of strawberries, you must tie the plant high on a 5-foot climbing frame or spirals. The plant's runners can grow as tall as 6 feet.

Some of the varieties to choose from are the Hummi and Mountain Star.

Close up view of climbing strawberries plants with red berries on white fence background. Sweden.

10. Weeping Loropetalum

The purple foliage of weeping loropetalum is a great cascade over retaining walls or a spiller when planted on hanging containers. The plant is drought-tolerant, and the required sun exposure is under full sun to partial shade.

Violet leaves of Dwarf Weeping Loropetalum or Purple Pixie

11. Tumbling Losetto Tomato

The losetto tomatoes require a warm sunny location on fertile and well-drained soil. The plant can grow up to 6 feet.

You can plant this cascading tomato variety on top of a retaining wall and let it spill over. These tomatoes might not cover the walls throughout the year, but you will have delicious fruits you can harvest in summer.

Losetto variety of Tomatoes ripening on the vine, UK

12. Morning Glory Vine

The morning glory vine produces annual blooms from pink to purple colors that can tolerate 6 or more hours of direct sunlight. They spread quickly and are difficult to control.

Most will plant this vine on hanging baskets to control growth. It is typical that the vines grow upward but can also droop down from hanging baskets. Make sure there's enough space for the plants to grow to create a pleasing display.

Ipomoea indica is a species of flowering plant in the family Convolvulaceae, known by several common names, including Blue morning glory, Oceanblue morning glory, Koali awa, and Blue dawn flower.

13. String Of Pearls

You would love to have these low-maintenance succulents cascading over your garden walls or on hanging baskets. Their maximum height is only around 1-2 feet.

Planting indoors is best for the plant. If growing outdoors, you should place it somewhere sunny in the morning and protect it from the harsh afternoon sun to avoid sunburns. Around 6-8 hours of filtered sunlight helps the plant to flourish. 

succulents String of Pearls

14. Trailing Rosemary

The trailing rosemary is one of the toughest plants under the full sun. You can minimize fungal infections you expose the plants in sunny conditions.

Although it is a common ground cover, it will grow well on retaining walls. It can only grow about 1 foot high but can spread more than 5 feet.

Weeping trailing rosemary plant cascading down a rock wall

15. Blue Rug Juniper

The blue rug or wiltoni juniper grows flat and has long trailing branches commonly used as groundcovers. Its foliage has scaly and silvery blue leaves that form dense mats.

The plant will spread as wide as 8 feet even if the matured height is around 4-6 inches. Growth is faster when planted under full sun. 

Juniperus horizontalis leaves or Creeping juniper leaves isolated on white background, with clipping path

16. Wave Petunia

The Wave petunia is suitable for filling retaining walls and cascading out of balcony planters or window boxes. It requires full sun exposure to produce vibrant flowers in spring and summer. It will keep blooming when it gets the right amount of sunlight.

Floral background. Supertunia Royal Magenta Petunia, hybrid plant with dark pink flowers. Tidal Wave Purple Petunias have numerous bright purple trumpet-shaped blossoms and green trailing foliage.

17. Silver Falls/Silver Nickel Line

The evergreen silver falls grow tender masses of small, fan-shaped, and shimmering leaves. The vines grow only about 3-4 inches high but spread 3-4 feet wide.

These trailing accent plants need full sun to grow rapidly. The plant cascades gracefully on hanging baskets or edges of the raised beds.  

‘Silver Falls’ Dichondra argentea. Dichondra Silver Falls used as a trailing plant.

In Summary

Lobelia erinus (edging lobelia, garden lobelia or trailing lobelia plant with blue flowers - 17 Best Cascading Plants For Full Sun

Cascading plants that love the full sun are great additions to your garden. You can plant them on retaining walls, in hanging containers, or along balconies. Sunlight is vital for the growth of dense foliage and blooms.

Some of the plants are short but will spread wide. The vines and branches trailing down will be suitable fillers or spillers. 

Aside from a sunny location, you should also prepare good soil where the plants can thrive. It is also essential that you know the proper maintenance for the plants. If you choose the right cascading plants, you can achieve beautiful scenery for your gardens.  

Discover other plants you can grow in your garden from these posts:

18 Best Cascading Plants For A Wall Garden

11 Ground Cover Evergreen Flowering Shrubs


  1. You don’t indicate if these plants are annuals or perennials, or if any of them require maintenance, such as dead heading. We have window boxes that would make ideal homes for some of the plants mentioned, but the boxes are difficult to access so once planted they would only be watered.

  2. I have excellent luck with Wave Petunias for over 10 years now. I put them in all my window boxes. Most I cannot reach except with a hose to water them. I plant them in moisture control soil, feed them every few weeks with Miracle Gro through my hose while watering. l live in Downeast Maine. Am able to get beautiful results all summer right into October. No dead-heading whatsoever.

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