15 Full Sun Perennials For Hardiness Zone 7

If you live in USDA hardiness zone 7, you likely have plenty of areas in your garden that get drenched in full sun conditions. If you've decided to add some perennials this season, finding the perfect pairing for sunny climates can be a bit of a challenge! In this article, we take a look at our favorite sun friendly perennial plants for zone 7 gardens!

zone 7 perennials full sun

There is just something peaceful about a thriving flower garden in the middle of a hot, southern summer that triggers happy thoughts! The pleasant and spicy fragrances these plants give off on a gorgeous bright day is one of the simple joys of living in this subtropical region. Sure, planting in the sun can be a bit overwhelming, but with a little knowledge and know-how, your full sun perennial garden can be your favorite.

Zone 7 is known to have hot summers and mild winters. It’s the average minimum winter temperature that gives each zone its classification. Although it does happen, rarely does the winter temperature fall below 0° F for long.

Beyond overwinter temperatures, there are microclimates within each hardiness zone. Similar to certain areas in zone 8, zone 7 typically will have wet springs and long dry spells during the summer. Those long dry spells can range from sticky with humidity or totally bone dry.

So, which perennials can keep up with these types of wide-ranging weather conditions? Keep reading to find 15 charming choices of full sun perennials for Zone 7 to give you an idea of the wide assortment of colors, fragrances, and textures to plant in your sunny garden space!

Black-Eyed Susan

Rudbeckia fulgida
Black-Eyed Susans are one of the most popular perennials for zone 7.
Scientific Name: Rudbeckia fulgida
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographical Origin: Eastern North America
  • Plant Size: 2-4  feet
  • Sun Exposure: Part to full sun
  • Hardiness Zones: 3-8

A North America native wildflower with its trademarked sunny yellow perennial blooms and black center is moderately drought tolerant and will bloom summer to fall if deadheaded. Not to be confused with Rudbeckia hirta, which is an annual, this variety will return yearly in most southern gardens.

A favorite of bees and other pollinators, black-eyed Susans will be a popular species in your garden. Lovely planted as a bunch or added to a fresh-cut cottage-style bouquet, black-eyed Susans should be a Zone 7 staple.

Catmint

Nepeta spp
The drier and warmer the weather, the more the colors of the Catmint flowers intensify.
Scientific Name: Nepeta spp
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographical Origin: Temperate Eurasia to Eastern tropical Africa
  • Plant Size: 10-24  inches
  • Sun Exposure: Part shade to full sun
  • Hardiness Zones: 3-9

The spiky flowers and silver-blue leaves of catmint are stunning on their own or as a perennial border plant. Flower colors range from true blues and deep purples to soft pale blues and lavender shades. As the sun warms the leaves, it releases a pleasantly refreshing mint fragrance that attracts pollinators and cats.

Coneflower

Echinacea purpurea
The planting area for Coneflower should be sunny and have a nutritious, deeply cultivated, slightly alkaline or neutral soil.
Scientific Name: Echinacea purpurea
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographical Origin: Central and Eastern North America
  • Plant Size: 5  feet
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Hardiness Zones: 3-9

Long used to boost the immune system and alleviate common cold symptoms, the large beautiful purple petals of the tall, slender coneflower blooms from summer to fall. Sometimes commonly called Echinacea, it is commonly used in cut flower bouquets.

Coneflower is a popular wildflower that’s native to North America. This makes is a perfect option for gardeners that are passionate about only planting native species. This full sun perennial flower checks all the boxes for zone 7 gardens, and will come back looking beautiful every season with proper care.

Creeping Phlox

Phlox stolonifera
Creeping Phlox care consists in removing weeds and abundant watering in dry summers.
Scientific Name: Phlox stolonifera
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographical Origin: Eastern North America
  • Plant Size: 6-12  inches
  • Sun Exposure: Part shade to full sun
  • Hardiness Zones: 3-9

A favorite to soften the edges of a border or allowed to spill over walls and walkways, creeping phlox makes a pretty white, pink, or lavender show in the spring.

A second bloom can be encouraged if you cut it back after the first blooms fade, otherwise, the bright, true green leaves are beautiful accents to a garden on their own. They will spread if you let them, so make sure you plant them where you don’t mind them creeping.

Daylily

Hemerocallis sp
Daylily flowers are aggressive growers and come in a variety of colors.
Scientific Name: Hemerocallis sp.
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographical Origin: Asia
  • Plant Size: 18-24  inches
  • Sun Exposure: Part shade to full sun
  • Hardiness Zones: 3-9

Another sun friendly perennial for Zone 7 is the daylily. Blooming up until fall, daylilies come in a wide range of colors. Daylilies are generally adaptable to most growing conditions, and they will propagate fairly rapidly. Their trumpet-like flowers amidst long, thin leaves add a touch of interest to any flower garden.

Daylilies are an excellent option for gardeners that want a plant that’s practically guaranteed to keep coming back each season. But a primary issue is that they are difficult to get rid of if you decide you want a change. So, plant daylilies with caution unless you know you want them hanging around for several years.

Lavender

Lavandula spp
Lavender appreciates moist soil and requires regular watering for healthy growth.
Scientific Name: Lavandula spp
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographical Origin: Western Europe
  • Plant Size: 2-3  feet
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Hardiness Zones: 5-8

Many varieties of lavender are perennials in a southern garden. Their purple, pink, or white sprays and leathery leaves add texture to your garden or vase. The relaxing fragrance intensifies in the heat and repels mosquitoes, flies, and fleas. Lavender can be dried for sachets or used in teas or as a culinary herb.

Lavender is also a great plant for zone 7 gardens with imperfect soil. This perennial can tolerate some neglect, and there are many different types of lavender you can choose from to add to your garden.

Lupine

Lupinus
Lupines do not need special care. During hot and dry periods, they need additional watering.
Scientific Name: Lupinus
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographical Origin: Western North America
  • Plant Size: 3-4  feet
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun
  • Hardiness Zones: 3-10

These beautiful wildflowers with cone-shaped spired bloom in an array of colors. Lupines are tall plants that don’t seem to spread much on their own. Their roots will break up the soil and add nitrogen, which can be a great benefit to other plants around them.

Lupines are a taller perennial flower, so make sure you don’t mind the height. They can shade out any plants around them, so make sure you have your space for lupines planned out well in advance if you plan to grow them this season.

Polyantha Roses

Rosa polyantha
Polyantha Roses produce fragrant flowers in clusters about 2 inches in diameter in a variety of shades.
Scientific Name: Rosa polyantha
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographical Origin: France
  • Plant Size: 1-3  feet for bush varieties; 10+  feet for climbers
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Hardiness Zones: 4-9

A French hybrid of wild roses, polyantha roses are smaller than tea varieties but larger than miniature. The bush varieties are compact on short canes. Both the climbers and bush varieties bloom in clusters of blooms around 2  inches in diameter.

They have that signature rose fragrance that comes in a wide variety of colors. These roses do well in both beds and containers. Polyantha roses will continue to bloom if you carefully remove the deadheads.

Rose of Sharon

Hibiscus syriacus
Rose of Sharon tolerates drought well and produces beautiful large flowers that attract bees and butterflies.
Scientific Name: Hibiscus syriacus
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographical Origin: China
  • Plant Size: 8-12  feet
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Hardiness Zones: 5-9

Although not a tropical flower, the Rose of Sharon does add a touch of the exotic to any sunny garden. Blooming in early summer to early fall, the beautiful, large blossoms will attract hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies all season long. They love humidity and will tolerate short dry spells. They are fairly low-maintenance so great for newbie gardeners.

A word of caution on Rose of Sharon. While they have many things in common with the Chinese hibiscus, they grow quite rapidly. They can take over your entire garden if you don’t provide them with regular maintenance.

Russian Sage

Perovskia atriplicifolia
Russian Sage does not require almost any care and is not afraid of heat, drought, or frost.
Scientific Name: Perovskia atriplicifolia
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographical Origin: Southwestern and Central Asia
  • Plant Size: 4  feet
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Hardiness Zones: 4-9

If you are looking for plants that are useful as well as beautiful, Russian sage is one of those plants. Their square woody stems will bow with an abundance of blue to purple flower spikes. Many gardeners will plant them in clusters to support each other.

Like lavender, it gives off a pleasant fragrance when heated by the sun or dried and crushed. Russian sage, a sun friendly perennial for Zone 7,  can also tolerate less than ideal soil conditions, which is important due to the wide array of soil quality in this hardiness zone.

Salvia

Salvia spp
Salvia prefers a sunny place in the garden without stagnant moisture.
Scientific Name: Salvia spp
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographical Origin: Central and South America, Australia
  • Plant Size: 18-24 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Hardiness Zones: 3-11

The dark green leaves of salvia provide the perfect backdrop to the many color varieties of the plant. From white to neon to deep, the palette runs almost the entire spectrum of the rainbow with just about every shade in between.

Looking for a true blue? The neon blue of the Australian Marine Blue Salvia is a showstopper. What about a gorgeous red? Vista Red Salvia will light that fire. Similar to sage and lavender, they can endure the heat or are drought tolerant. At about 2 feet tall, they are excellent choices for flower beds.

Sedum

Sedum spp
Sedum requires plenty of sunlight and moderate watering during active growth.
Scientific Name: Sedum spp
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographical Origin: South America
  • Plant Size: 4-12 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Hardiness Zones: 3-8

Perfect for rock gardens and drier climes, sedums are very popular succulents that like to spill over stones or trail down ledges. Although they can be a little tricky, the main thing to remember is that like to keep their roots dry most of the time.

Their thick leaves come in an array of colors ranging from bright green to pinks and purples. The flowers will attract bees and other pollinators. Sedum is a popular durable plant that’s hardy in a variety of climates.

Trumpet Vine

Campsis radicans
Trumpet Vine plant does not like both drought and stagnant moisture in the roots.
Scientific Name: Campsis radicans
  • Plant Type: Perennial vine
  • Geographical Origin: Eastern North America
  • Plant Size: 25-40 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Part shade to full sun
  • Hardiness Zones: 4-9

This fast-growing climber has a massive amount of bright reddish-orange trumpet-like blossoms. With four to as many as twelve per stem, the trumpet vine adds a riot of color to walls, trellises, and anything else it can climb. This drought tolerant vine loves to bloom in the warmest part of the summer and will quickly take over anything near it.

Make sure you have it in a location where you can regularly prune it since it is so invasive. It is also self-seeding which means a new vine can pop up practically anywhere. It is a favorite of hummingbirds so plant it where you can enjoy tiny bird watching.

Verbena

Verbena spp
In order for the Verbena to bloom again, wilted blooms must be regularly removed.
Scientific Name: Verbena spp
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographical Origin: North and South America, Asia, Europe, Africa, and Australia
  • Plant Size: 1-4  feet
  • Sun Exposure: Part shade to full sun
  • Hardiness Zones: 7-11

Verbena can be found on every inhabitable continent, and with good reason. These breezy, easygoing plants will adapt to almost any environment. They can survive will be hot, drought-like conditions.

Smaller varieties like the moss verbena are lovely border plants for most gardens with their showy star-shaped flowers against deep green leaves. Larger varieties like the Vervain grow to about four feet tall with clusters of stems shooting off a central stem. The thick cushions and tiny blossoms of these plants have been likened to a tiered water fountain.

Yarrow

Achillea millefolium
Yarrow is easy to care for, prefers the sun, and is undemanding to the soil.
Scientific Name: Achillea millefolium
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographical Origin: Asia, Europe, and North America
  • Plant Size: 30-36  inches
  • Sun Exposure: Part shade to full sun
  • Hardiness Zones: 3-9

Another wonderful, useful low-maintenance plant, yarrow will bring predatory bugs such as ladybugs and green lacewings to your garden to eat up all the little annoying aphids and worms before they eat up all your lovely greens.

An excellent choice for vegetable gardens as well as flower beds, yarrow makes a lovely addition to fresh-cut bouquets. Its massive clusters of tiny white flowers on impossibly thin stems are surrounded by wispy feathery leaves is a worthy component of any southern garden.

Final Thoughts

There are so many more perennials that will do fantastically in a zone 7 garden. Any of the full sun perennials we’ve outlined here should give you an idea of just how adaptive this climate can be. From simple wildflowers to tropical-looking perennial blooms, zone 7 pretty much has it all.

Keeping in mind the three-layer concept, you could have a Rose of Sharon as a background plant, then add lavender, Russian sage, or coneflowers in the middle with a border of creeping phlox softening the edges of the garden. This is just one example of the many possible combinations you will be able to design. Keep in mind that plants with similar soil and water need help to make sure they all get what to need more effectively.

Most areas of Zone 7 get a lot of sunlight. And with the sunlight, the potential to have a perennial garden that will get better and better year after year. With a little hard work during the first season, and choosing the right plants for your space, the little bit of maintenance most of these beauties will require is well worth the effort. Happy planting!

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