10 Best Full Sun Perennials for Iowa

perennials for full sun in iowa feature

While we try not to pick favorites in our garden and every plant in our landscape has its benefits and chance to shine, there’s something about the sunny disposition of some full sun perennials that gives them a special place in our hearts. Filling that sunny spot with a reliable perennial that will thrill you every summer for years to come is a great choice, and there are so great perennials to choose from. We’ve helped to narrow it down with a list of our favorite full sun perennials to plant in our own landscapes:

fiddle-leaf figs placed indoors


These balls of purple blooms are a great addition to the landscape where they add something geometric and different in classic shades of purple and indigo. Looking at them, you’d hardly guess that these gorgeous flowers are actually close relatives to the onion. While these flowers aren’t edible, taking care of them also won’t make you cry as they’re incredibly hardy and easy to manage, even in a hot spot in the yard. 

While it’s impossible to make a bad choice with Alliums, we’re particularly fond of the Millennium variety, which bloom in such dense clumps you’ll be welcomed with a patch of vibrant purple in the garden in the middle of the summer. 

Beardtongue (or Penstemon)

Penstemon, also known colloquially as Beard Tongue, is a gorgeous flower that blooms in spikes of color. With little bells of plants blooming on a long stalk, there’s no shortage of showmanship when you include this plant in your landscape. Not only pretty to look at, but these flowers will enhance your landscape experience even more when they attract a host of pollinators and birds to your property, too.

While Penstemon comes in a rainbow of colors, we’re particularly fond of the vibrant Husker Red that has an interesting contrast between burgundy foliage and white blooms. The unique foliage color is a statement maker for your landscape that is ready to perform during the best days of the summer. 

Black Eyed Susan 

There’s nothing quite like a classic and in many instances, there’s a good reason that some plants have been a favorite for years. The Black Eyed Susan has that summer feeling that we just can’t get enough of this time of year, and performs well under the hot sun of mid-summer. For a classic look, we love the Viette’s Little Suzy for a compact patch of more blooms than other varieties. 


Another garden classic, Coneflowers are a perfect choice for elegant and simple color and attracting all of the local pollinators to your landscape. Coneflowers, with their uniquely shaped bloom splayed around a large center come in an entire rainbow of shades, thrive with very little help from you all summer. Coneflowers are a perfect example of how when something works for a long time, you just don’t need to do anything to fix it.

fiddle-leaf fig plant


Perfect for a sunny spot in your landscape, this flower is like sunshine encapsulated, blooming in gorgeous shades of gold and yellow for the ultimate summer look. For gardeners that want more bang for their buck this flower is ideal, offering long lasting blooms that are drought-resistant and easy to care for. 

We particularly love the Zagreb variety for its hardiness and versatility, growing in vast patches of gold, or Creme Brulee, which has larger flowers in greater quantity, growing in shades of buttery yellow. 


These short-lived flowers live up to their name with each bloom lasting a fleeting day. Don’t worry, while their blooms are short-lived, they offer lots of subsequent flowers all summer long, so that you have something pretty to enjoy all the time. There’s something exquisite and classic about the aesthetic of a lily that adds an air of sophistication and romance to a landscape, and Daylilies are a perfect way to bring that style home to your yard. 

Garden Phlox

Blooming from July through September, planting Phlox in your garden is a great way to ensure that your whole summer is filled with gorgeous color. With heads full of billowy blooms these flowers are a statement piece to decorate your landscape. 

There’s a type of Garden Phlox for practically every color in the rainbow and more, so gardeners are sure to have something that is the perfect fit for their taste and style. For those undecided on a favorite shade, we particularly love Grape Lollipop (in shades of purple and magenta with light highlights) and Coral Cream Drop (offering bright blooms in shades of pink).

Love what you’re reading? Sign up to our email newsletter, and get inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.

fiddle-leaf fig plant

Russian Sage

Planting Russian Sage is a great way to ensure that your landscape is an experience for more than one sense — not only is the plant a gorgeous shade of silver and lavender-purple, but it has an intoxicating scent that is calming and relaxing, the perfect addition to a landscape you intend to be outside to enjoy a lot. The more sun, the better with this plant that thrives without very much intervention from the gardener. 


This fragrant bloom is a great choice to add to a part of the garden that you spend a lot of time relaxing in. Not only attractive to us, these blooms are incredibly popular with local hummingbirds, which you can attract to your home. 

Known for their rich display of flower spikes, our favorite of the Salvia varieties is Caradonna. With deep indigo blooms on uniquely dark stems, they make for the best visual impact of their family of flowers, ready to impress all summer long. 


For the gardener that loves pollinators coming to visit their home, there isn’t much of a better choice of perennial than Yarrow. Not only is it practically a care-free addition to your home, but the heads of dense blooms are irresistible to your local pollinators that will love a native bloom that they recognize.

There’s a lot of choice when it comes to color palette for yarrow, but we simply can’t resist the berry-red tones of the Strawberry Seduction variety. 


The Ted Lare Look

Our garden style and trend blog, dedicated to helping you design and shape your dream home, garden, and outdoor retreat.

Inspiration comes in many forms. Have inspiration delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our email newsletter, where you’ll receive our best gardening articles, project ideas, and more!


Ted Lare Garden Center

Closed for Winter break begining 12/10/23 & reopening for weekends begining 1/13/24!


Closed for Winter break


Closed for Winter break


Closed for Winter break