Suggested Plantings for Sun and Shade

Typically, when most of us think about gardening, we’re thinking about plants and flowers planted, cultivated and grown in full sunlight. But there are abundant opportunities that can produce pleasant results when we expand our planting to partial sun and shade.

Some definitions: Full Sun means at least 6 full hours of direct sunlight. Partial Sun / Partial Shade are used interchangeably to mean 3 – 6 hours of sun each day, usually better in the  morning and early afternoon.  Partial Shade means the plant need some relief from intense late afternoon sun. Dappled Sun is similar to partial shade but sunlight is filtered through the branches of a deciduous tree.  Examples are some wildflowers, woodland plants and ground covers. Full Shade does not mean no sun at all, but rather is considered to be 3 hours or less of direct sunlight each day, with filtered sunlight the rest of the day.

For the most part, knowledge of the sun loving flowers and plants is all but readily apparent to gardeners from beginner to advanced. But with a little help you should also be able to find shade-loving annuals and perennials, several species of ivy, bulbs and herbs. Your nursery or garden center nursery likely can offer a good selection of shade loving and shade tolerant flowers. Here are some examples:

A few perennial flowers that do well in partial shade to shade include: Begonia, Coleus, Hellebore, Hosta, Crested Iris, Woodland Phlox, Primrose, Verbena and Violet.

Annual flowers that do well in part shade to shade and bloom all summer include: Impatiens, Begonia, Day Lilies, Fuschia, Alyssum, Aster, Dahlia, Dusty Miller, Ivy Geranium, Pansy, Petunia, Phlox, Snapdragon and Viola.

Ivy species include English Ivy, German Ivy,  Grape Ivy, Swedish Ivy, and Yellow English Ivy.

Among the Spring bulbs that may do well in a lightly shaded area are crocus, snowdrops and daffodils.

For herbs there’s basil, chives, coriander, mints, parsley, sage, sorrel and tarragon.

And, of course there are ground covers such as Lily of the Valley, Pachysandra, Periwinkle and Wild Violets.

Depending on your interests and the sunlight conditions on your property, you’ll find you can grow a wide variety of plants in shaded conditions. You might even consider creating your own shaded garden retreat… a place where you can relax in the shade on a hot summer day shielded away from the sun’s rays.

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