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11 Plants That Like Afternoon Sun for Australian Gardens

If you have spots in your garden that are exposed to the afternoon sun, you want to look for hardy plants that will cope well with these conditions.

In Australia, the afternoon sun can be quite intense, especially in summer.

If you have spots in your garden that are exposed to the afternoon sun, you want to look for hardy plants that will cope well with these conditions.

Here are some common plants that don’t mind being exposed to the afternoon sun in an Australian garden.

African Daisies (Osteospermum spp.)

African Daisy Osteospermum | Plant varieties

African daisies have thick leathery leaves and come in a massive range of floral colours. You can create an entire rainbow garden with these plants even if the spot is exposed to the afternoon sun. 

Some stunning cultivars include:

  • Purple Sun
  • Blue Eyed Beauty
  • Serenity Sunset
  • Serenity Coral Magic
  • 3D Blueberry

Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea | Plant varieties

There’s nothing quite like a bougainvillea in full bloom. And, these plants adore living in the sunshine.

Their colourful bracts last for many months of the year and the plant looks fantastic grown against a western wall.

Blue Chalk Sticks (Senecio mandraliscae)

Blue Chalk Sticks Senecio mandraliscae | Plant varieties

This stunning succulent has fleshy foliage that is silvery-blue in colour and cylindrical. It’s a groundcover plant and will form a dense mat if allowed to spread on its own.

The plant can reach a height of 45 cm and a spread of up to 60 cm. It grows really well in sandy soils and is perfect for coastal gardens.

Coastal Cushion Bush (Leucophyta brownii)

Cushion Bush Leucophyta brownii | Plant varieties

This native Australian plant is tough and will withstand that hot afternoon sun. It grows as a small rounded shrub with silvery grey stems and small silvery leaves.

Even the small round flowers are almost silvery in colour. This plant is particularly suited to coastal areas and will withstand salt spray.

The coastal cushion bush will reach a height and spread of around 1.2 metres.

Curry Leaf Plant (Helichrysum italicum)

Curry Plant Helichrysum italicum | Plant varieties

This plant features soft silvery foliage and pretty yellow button flowers. When crushed the foliage has a curry fragrance. 

The curry leaf plant is great for growing along borders and can be trimmed into a low-growing hedge. It grows to a height of up to 90 cm and a spread of 50 cm.

Dichondra ‘Silver Falls’

Dichondra ‘Silver Falls | Plant varieties

This attractive groundcover plant is native to Mexico and Texas. It’s a trailing plant that is perfect both as a groundcover and also for planting on top of a wall where it can trail over like a waterfall.

It has silvery kidney-shaped leaves that are quite attractive in their own right. This species can also be grown as a low-maintenance lawn alternative in difficult areas that don’t receive a lot of traffic.

Lavender

French Lavender Lavandula dentata 1 | Plant varieties

As lavender is a Mediterranean plant, it copes quite well with the afternoon sun.

You’ll also notice that most lavender varieties have silvery leaves. This alone indicates that these plants will cope well with the afternoon sun.

Licorice Plant (Helichrysim petiolare)

Licorice Plant Helichrysim petiolare | Plant varieties

The licorice plant is native to South Africa which is a good indication that it will handle our hot afternoon sun. It has soft grey-green foliage that feels velvety to the touch.

This is another good groundcover plant and can be clipped into a low-growing hedge. The flowers are quite small and white in colour.

The leaves have a faint licorice scent when crushed and the plant will only reach a height of around 50 cm.

Native Frangipani (Hymenosporum flavum)

Native Frangipani Hymenosporum flavum | Plant varieties

The native frangipani is a rainforest tree that is native to New South Wales, Queensland and New Guinea. When grown in a garden, this tree generally only reaches a height of up to 10 metres.

The leaves are deep green and a little glossy. They look very similar to the leaves of a pittosporum. In early spring, native frangipani really springs to life with masses of open tubular flowers that are cream-coloured and fragrant.

These lovely blooms darken to yellow as they age and will eventually drop off the tree. There’s also a compact cultivar available known as ‘Gold Nugget’.

Pigface (Mesembryanthemum spp.)

Pigface Carpobrotus glaucescens | Plant varieties

There’s nothing quite as hardy and sun-tolerant as the many different varieties of pigface.

So, if you want to add some bright colour to that hot and sunny spot in your garden, consider growing this native groundcover plant.

You’ll find lots of different varieties with flowers in almost every colour of the rainbow including orange, yellow, red, pink and purple. 

There are even a handful of native pig face species that you can grow equally as well in that hot spot in your garden.

Silverbush (Convulvulus cneorum)

silverbush Convolvulus cneorum | Plant varieties

The silverbush has silvery leaves and masses of pretty white flowers in summer. It’s another popular groundcover that handles exposure to the afternoon sun.

This plant will reach a height of around 60 cm with a spread of up to 1 metre.

Photo of author

Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.

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