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Choosing Shade Loving Plants

Some people say there is no such thing as shade loving plants, only shade tolerant. I beg to differ. If you’ve ever tried to grow hostas or rhododendrons in full sun, you know what I mean. But if you haven’t tried… they don’t grow in full sun. Planting them in full sun is a great example of wrong plant, wrong place.

Many landscapes would be very uninteresting without shade loving plants. There would be no understory plants (those that grow under the canopy of large trees), plants for areas around houses and other buildings that are always in shadow, and even containerized plants that live on a deck or patio under an awning or roof.

It would be best if you do your homework to decide what plants you like and sketch the design before going to your garden center. Most people aren’t as familiar with shade loving plants as they are with sun loving plants. So you may need some help when you get to the store.

At the garden center, Be sure to:
• Check out all the plant material that’s available.
• Read the tags for each plant you’re considering. Plant tags always list
sunlight requirements on them.
• Talk to one of the knowledgeable horticulturists. Share your plans, discuss
the plants that you’ve seen in the store that you like, and ask their advice on what plants they would recommend for the location(s) you have in mind. It wouldn’t hurt to take some photos of the locations to give the horticulturist an idea of the conditions. That could influence their recommendations.

The photos may also save you another trip to the garden center. If you feel comfortable with your own research and the horticulturist’s recommendations, you can buy the plants, take them home and plant them. If you need more time to think and consider before making a decision, take photos of the plants you’re considering in the store. They’ll help you make your decisions after you get home. If you still can’t decide on the course of action in this unfamiliar territory, turn it over to the pros. Our landscape designers and installation professionals are as experienced at creating shade gardens as they are at full sunlight gardens and anything in between.

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One comment on “Choosing Shade Loving Plants

  1. Redwood forests are inhabited by several species that want to be in at least partial shade. Not much sunlight gets through the redwoods.

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