10 Best Outdoor Hanging Plants for Summer (in Sun or Shade)

Published June 7, 2022
colorful hanging basket

Hanging baskets provide a great way to add blooms to your landscape during the summer. Whether you are looking for ideas to fill hanging baskets in full sun or shadier areas, there are a number of spectacular options to consider. Discover 10 of the best outdoor hanging plants for summer, including five that require full sun and five that thrive in shadier areas.

Best Sun-Loving Plants for Summer Hanging Baskets

Do you have a sunny spot that could benefit from some hanging baskets? If so, consider these beautiful plants listed below. They love sun and grow well in hanging baskets.

Dragon Wing Begonia

dragon wing begonia in a hanging basket

Dragon wing begonia (Begonia x hybrida), also called winged begonia, is a great choice for hanging baskets in full sun areas. This beautiful hybrid begonia provides an impressive display of red, white, or pink flowers on cascading stems throughout the warmest months of the year. Dragon wing begonias typically start blooming as soon as temperatures start to warm and keep producing until first frost. They are very heat tolerant, so they keep on producing lovely blooms in even the hottest areas.

Million Bells

million bells petunia in hanging basket

Million bells (Calibrachoa), also referred to as trailing petunia, is a wonderful cascading plant to grow in hanging baskets during the summer. Its blooms resemble miniature petunias and come in an array of colors, including blue, magenta, pink, red, violet, white, and yellow. This plant blooms all summer long without even requiring deadheading. It thrives in full sun. You can also grow it in partial shade, though it won't bloom as profusely.

Moss Rose

Portulaca Grandiflora Moss Rose in hanging basket

Moss rose (Portaluca grandiflora) is a wonderful choice for summer hanging baskets. It can grow up to eight inches tall but can spread over two feet, a characteristic that makes it a perfect selection to cascade over the sides of a hanging basket. This plant does require at least six hours of full sun daily. It will tolerate brief periods of dryness, but it does need regular watering throughout the season.


sunpatiens new guinea impatiens in hanging basket

Sunpatiens (Impatiens hawkeri), also referred to as New Guinea impatiens, are a great option for full sun hanging baskets, which makes them quite different from other types of impatiens (they prefer shade). These plants are available in different sizes; the compact series of sunpatiens is particularly suitable for hanging baskets, as they do not exceed two feet in height. Sunpatiens come in a wide variety of colors, including lilac, orange, pink, red, and white.

Wave Petunias

Wave petunia in hanging basket

You can plant any kind of petunias in a hanging basket, but wave petunias (Petunia x hybrida) are particularly well suited for this type of container. They grow only to a height of six inches but can spread to up to four feet, so they make an amazing cascading display. They do need full sun, but may suffer if exposed to prolonged periods of extreme heat. It's best to make sure they are well established in their container before the hottest summer temperatures set in.

Great Shade-Loving Plants for Summer Hanging Baskets

Not all blooming plants that are suitable for hanging baskets require full sun. Some prefer partial or even full shade. Use some of the options below to make the most of shady areas in your yard where you can hang a basket.

Double Impatiens

double impatiens walleriana hanging basket

Double impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) makes a terrific shade-loving plant selection for hanging baskets. They grow up to 16 inches tall in a mound and produce an abundance of blooms that look very much like roses. They come in a wide variety of colors, including orange, orchid, pink, purple, red, and white. They are so low maintenance that they don't require any deadheading or pruning. Butterflies and hummingbirds are drawn to these plants.

Giant Snowflake

sutra cordite giant snowflake flower hanging basket

Giant snowflake (Sutera cordata) has gorgeous white blooms that start in the beginning of summer and go all season long. These plants are incredibly well suited for hanging baskets, because they grow only eight inches tall but will trail up to three feet. As long as they are kept in partial shade, they will put on an amazing show even in drought conditions. They don't even require deadheading.

Lady's Eardrops

Lady's Eardrops fuchsia flower hanging basket

If you're looking to fill a shady or partially shady area with a flowering hanging basket, the plant commonly called lady's eardrops (Fuchsia) is a great choice. This perennial has lush, cascading foliage that trails to colorful blooms of white, purple, or pink. This is a great plant to hang under tall shade trees or to suspend from a shady porch, though it's a good idea to bring it inside when the temperature gets extremely hot. You can overwinter lady's eardrops as a houseplant.

Nodding Violet

Streptocarpella nodding violet flower hanging plant

Nodding violet (Streptocarpella) plants provide a great way to add a pop of purple to shady areas in your landscape. These compact plants work very well in hanging baskets and can be displayed indoors or outdoors. They do not like direct sunlight, but will bloom most prolifically when exposed to indirect light on a regular basis. They will start to bloom just before summer begins and bloom all the way through the season. Hummingbirds are attracted to this plant.

Wishbone Flower

torenia Fournier wishbone flower hanging basket

Wishbone flower (Torenia fournieri) is another shade-loving flower. It is a bushy annual that stays under a foot tall, making it a right-sized option for hanging baskets. It has beautiful two-tone trumpet-shaped flowers. They come in a variety of colors, including blue, pink, purple, white, or yellow. As long as wishbone flower is established in its container before blazing heat sets in, this plant is heat tolerant.

Display the Best Outdoor Hanging Plants for Summer

No matter what your overall garden layout looks like, your landscape can always benefit from the addition of a hanging basket (or several!). If you have a sunny spot or a shady area that needs a little pop of something special this summer, consider putting some hanging baskets filled with one or more of these botanical lovelies on display. Follow these tips to install and care for your hanging baskets.

10 Best Outdoor Hanging Plants for Summer (in Sun or Shade)