Do you have a spot in your yard that gets almost no sun at all? Maybe you live in an apartment or condominium and only have a balcony that doesn’t get much sunshine, or you want to modernize your deck without sacrificing your patio cover. You might think you’re out of luck in the plant department, but you’re not! There are plenty of plants that like shade, from flowers that want just filtered sun to shrubs that don’t want any direct sunlight at all.
Let’s take a peek at some things you can do for those dark spots in your landscape.
What type of sun do you have?
Let’s assume that if you’re reading this article, you’re not that concerned with an area of your property that gets plenty of sun. The first thing to do is decide what sun you do have. You’ll want to look at the area you’re considering and, over the course of a week or so, see when that area gets sun and at what time. Plants that require some sun generally need it in the morning – this helps the plants get the light they need without baking them in the dead heat of the afternoon. Once you have that down, you can take a look at a few plants that can thrive in the shade.
Partial-Sun and Partial Shade Plants
The parlance is often used interchangeably, but partial-sun and partial-shade plants are essentially the same. Partial Sun is defined as anything between 4-6 hours of sunlight per day, at any time of day. Partial-shade is the same, but these plants require that shade at the hottest part of the day in the afternoon. Now again, morning sun is better but any light will do for these guys.
- Hostas: Hostas are great green palm looking fellows, and they’re almost impossible to kill. Plant it one year and watch it balloon in size season after season. It will die back in the fall, only to make a resurgence in the spring, making it one of the heartier shade-loving plants.
- Peonies: Peonies are long stalked plants that have lovely ball-shaped flowers once a year. They last for about a week and a half and then fall off. Sometimes, you can force them to flower a second time. They’re also extremely hearty and nearly impossible to kill.
- Azaleas: Another “beginner” plant, azaleas come in a variety of colors and need very little care from year to year.
Dappled Sun Plants
This term isn’t always used, but it refers to those plants that thrive in areas where sun is peeking through tree branches and bushes. Forest undergrowth requires dappled sun to thrive.
- Western Wood Lily: These grown naturally in the Rocky Mountains and are five-pedaled beautiful orange flowers. Easy to grow and bloom constantly, even in the shade.
- Bluebell: Don’t get worried! These flowers naturally “nod” or fall down a bit when they bloom. A beautiful blue-purple hue and constant blooming make these an excellent choice.
- Red Flowered Lamb’s Ear: A gorgeous bell-shaped flower that comes in a deep ruby red and does look quite like a lamb’s ear.
Full-shade Flowers and Plants
These full shade plants need less than 4 hours of sun per day.
- Variegated Yellow Archangel: Very spindly and green, these yellow flowers bloom one on top of another.
- Rocky Mountain Columbine: Gorgeous pale blue and white flowers atop long green stems. Best in larger spaces where many can make a field.
- Monardella: These tubular flowers almost resemble coral more than plants. They grow low to the ground and attract a helpful variety of insects and hummingbirds.