Shrubs For Pots In Full Sun [17 Great Ideas For Your Landscaping]

Why would you want to grow shrubs in pots? Pot shrubs can easily dress up a doorway or decorate another space while freeing up precious garden space. They allow you to grow shrubs under various conditions that may not be well suited to your climate.

Growing shrubs in pots are not tricky; it doesn't vary much from growing them in the ground. You can choose to grow shrubs in pots both seasonally or permanently. They work nicely if you desire to grow a shrub that doesn't bode well with your particular climate.

Do you have an area that gets full sun? That's six hours of direct sun every day. We've researched which shrubs thrive in full sun and will share our list of sun-loving shrubs below.

A close-up of rosemary plant in evening light, Shrubs For Pots In Full Sun [17 Great Ideas For Your Landscaping]

1. Bougainvilla

A pink Bougainvilla in the garden

These shrubs have beautiful vibrant blooms and are drought tolerant, making them a top pick for gardeners in the American Southwest. They thrive in full sun. If you reside in an extremely hot climate, the plants can benefit from some shade, but in most climates, they love full sun all the way!

2. Boxwood


Boxwood is a dense shrub. They typically do not flower and are known as foliage plants. Boxwood shrubs are frequently found in formal landscaping designs.

These shrubs make a great container plant. They are very low maintenance and have a slow growth rate. If you're looking for a pop of green and low-maintenance, boxwood would most likely suit your needs.

3. Calamansi

Calamansi in big pot

Calamansi is a small citrus fruit. It has both a sweet and tart flavor profile. If you'd like a high fruit yield, then the full sun is imperative. This shrub thrives in warm tropical sunny climates.

Though Calamansi can be harder to grow for those in temperate climates, it is not impossible. A good rule of thumb is not to overwater the plant. Make sure you're keeping the soil moist but not damp.

4. Lemon

A row of lemon tree saplings planted in plant pots

If you're growing lemon trees in pots going with a dwarf variety is best. Lemon trees need lots of full sun and waterings often. They do best in a humid environment, so if you're in a dry climate, you will want to either mist often or put the pot on top of a pebble tray for local humidity.

Though not a high-maintenance tree, you will want to prune back any sucker limbs that grow on the stalk. Sucker limbs are limbs that grow from the root stalk. If the tree is under stress, these sucker branches can take over the root stalk and damage or even kill the tree.

5. Escallonia

Escallonia in the garden during summer

Escallonia is a hardy, low-maintenance shrub. They bloom almost all year, from June to October. Though hardy plants, they do not tolerate winds well, so be sure to place them in an area where they will receive shelter from the wind.

They can get quite large, so you will want to pick larger pots for Escallonia. They need well-draining soil and only need frequent waterings in dry spells during the first growing season. 

6. Wintergreen

Wintergreen in a decorative zinc washtub

Wintergreen adds a pop of color during the bleak winter. Though they prefer partial shade, many gardeners have good luck with a full sun placement.

They produce vibrant edible red berries. They are a very low-maintenance shrub with very little pruning required.

7. Gardenia

Gardenia bush flowers in a garden

This bushy shrub produces highly coveted fragrant white flowers. Gardenias prefer humidity to dry weather, so be sure to either mist regularly or pebble tray your plant. They like warm, sunny locations. However, if your temperature drops below 20 degrees, you will want to bring the plant indoors. 

8. Gaura

Pink flowers Gaura close-up

Gaura is desirable due to its long bloom time. It is very container-friendly, low maintenance, and drought tolerant.

It does well in both humidity and dry weather. If in an extremely hot climate, Gaura will tolerate partial shade.

9. Gooseberry

Gooseberry branch with ripe berries

This flowering shrub produces edible fruit. The fruit profile can be either sweet or mildly tart. It's often used for jams, jellies, and preserves.

They thrive in cool, humid climates, and their foliage turns red in the fall. If residing in an unusually hot climate, this may not be the shrub for you as the foliage can quickly sunburn and damage at frequent temps above 85.

10. Hibiscus

A sunset variety of a blooming hibiscus flower in a greenhouse

Hibiscus shrubs are a great option for containers. Especially in warmer climates, however, if in colder weather, you will want to put your pots out in the spring and bring them indoors to a sunny location in the fall.

They do require frequent waterings, at least every couple of days. Being native to tropical climates so you do not want the plant to dry out. The morning sun will suffice if you cannot provide full sun exposure throughout the day.

11. Hydrangea

Various shades of hydrangea flowers from purple and blue to pink and magenta

Hydrangea makes a beautiful potted plant. This is why you see them frequently in grocery stores for sale around holidays. A nice thing about potted Hydrangeas is they can tolerate being moved around into different areas well.

The ideal location for a Hydrangea is morning full sun and partial afternoon shade. You will want a larger pot for these beauties as the smaller pots they typically come in are prone to drying them out.

12. Lantana

Pink and yellow lantana flowers at sunset

If you are looking for a colorful, easy-to-care-for shrub, then lantana might just be the perfect fit! They thrive in all-day sun exposure, you will want to ensure the soil is kept moist during the first few weeks after planting, and that's really about it.

They are a very low-maintenance, drought tolerant plant. You will want to choose which variety you choose as some types can reach up to 6 ft tall. If you are in a colder climate, you will want to bring the plant indoors once outdoor temps reach below 55.

13. Lilac

Purple Lilac flower with blurred green leaves

Sweetly scented Lilacs are an excellent choice for containers. There are many dwarf varieties available for use in containers. They prefer a minimum of 6 hours of full sun per day.

Typical varieties of Lilac can get quite tall, so you will probably prefer a dwarf variety. They have a large root system, so you will want to pick a large container if you choose Lilacs.

14. Crepe Myrtle

Crepe Myrtle flower close up

A staple in the warmer southeastern United States, Crepe Myrtles have beautiful blooms and, in winter, display a stunning mottled bark. Those residing in cooler climates can still have success growing Crepe Myrtles in containers!

Dwarf Crepe Myrtle varieties make excellent container shrubs. When in a Northern climate, full sun and moderate watering are a must. When a frost is approaching, you will want to quickly move your Crepe Myrtle to a sunny spot indoors for winter.

15. Pittosporum

Pittosporum tenuifolium in the garden

Pittosporum is a tough evergreen shrub with over 200 different varieties available. They are not picky about lighting and can do well in partial shade, though they prefer at least 4-8 hours of direct sunlight.

They will need frequent pruning to keep their shape. Dwarf varieties work best as container plants. They also have good salt tolerance, making them a wonderful choice if you reside near a beach.

16. Rose

Pink roses in the garden

Roses are a classic gardening staple. Most people love the beautiful, fragrant, delicate flowers rose bushes provide. They thrive in full sun, though wind can dry them out, so it's best to find a spot where they are protected from harsh wind.

Patio and miniature roses work great in containers. They like full sun and moist soil. If in a colder climate, they will need repotting every couple of years to maintain root health.

17. Rosemary

Fresh herbs, rosemary and others, growing in a pot on a window or balcony.

Rosemary is an easy container pot plant and relatively low-maintenance, though it does require frequent pruning to maintain its shape. You will want a larger pot for Rosemary as it does have a fast growth rate and will need room for the roots to grow.

You will want to make sure you have a well-draining pot as well. If Rosemary is left in soggy soil, it will rot the roots. They will also require moving indoors if in a colder climate during winter.

In Summary

There are many different varieties of shrubs that are suited to container growing. This list highlights just a few of the more well-known common shrubs gardeners have had success growing in containers. Whether you want to dress up a doorway, balcony, or just don't have the ground space there are many shrubs that are well suited for container gardening.

If you've enjoyed this article, consider these for further reading:

What Plants Are Good For A Balcony?

11 Low Maintenance Indoor Trees To Consider

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