Guide to Plants: Sun vs. Shade

Jun 18, 2020 | Landscape Supply, Uncategorized

It’s finally that time of year to start tackling your landscaping and yard projects. The sun is shining bright; the weather is warm, and you’re ready to jump into planting some new plants in your yard and landscaping beds. However, before you head out to your local landscaping supply store or nursery, you need to take a few minutes to consider what type of plants are best for certain areas of your yard. Plants vary on their need for water and sun and it’s important to make sure you give your plants the sun and shade they need to promote healthy growth. Thankfully, Kurtz Bros., is here to provide you a guide for plants by their sun and shade requirements.

Directions for Sun & Shade During the Growing Season

The first step for determining what plants to put in your yard is understanding what the sun and shade requirements are for the growing season. Full sun plants require 8 or more hours of sun whereas Part shade plants only need up to 4 hours of sun. Alternatively, Full shade plants require little or no direct sun. In order to understand what plants might be a good fit for your yard, you should study the light in your yard and become familiar with when and where the sunlight hits the ground. Then you can choose your plants and plant them accordingly.

Other Factors that affect Plants & Sun Intensity

There are a few other factors that you should consider when it comes to plants and sun intensity. For plants with variegated foliage, they require less sun than that same species with green leaves. To keep it simple, variegated plants will grow best in part sun, dappled, or full shade.

You should also consider hot summer weather when choosing your plants. When day temperatures start to exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit regularly, some plants will require a bit more shade than normal.

Finally, you should pay extra close attention to your plant selection if you just moved into a new home. In newer housing developments, sunlight will vary over time as newly planted trees mature. What is a sunny spot now might eventually change to part or full shade as trees mature. You can plant for current sunlight conditions, but it is important to understand that in several years, you might need to change out your plants as sunlight conditions shift.

Great Plants for Full Shade

Now that we’ve covered the basics of sun versus shade, it’s time to start assessing what plants are good for specific types of sun conditions. First, we will start with full shade plants.  

If you are looking for flowers that are great in full shade, Miniature Mat Daisies are a great option. These mini white and yellow daisies will add a subtle pop of color to your yard.

If you’d like even more color, Turk’s Cap Siberian Lily is another great option for a full shade plant. This orange and scarlet red flower blooms in early summer and provides a nice fragrance to enjoy. The Aquilegia is another great pop of color, and the flowers do great in full shade. These wildflowers are great to attract hummingbirds, and the tough perennials are perfect for cooler climates.

For yellow lovers, Herman’s Pride Archangel is a great option for a full shade flowering plant. This is a great groundcover that will quickly spread to provide some great foliage in your landscaping beds.

Plant Choices for Partial Shade

For plants that need partial shade, there are still plenty of options. A stunning yellow Little Treasure Dwarf Spur Columbine is a vibrant pop of color that is also good for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. They are also deer and rabbit resistant!

Coral Bells are another pretty option for partial shade areas. These dainty bell-shaped pink and red blooms are native to North American and thrive in cooler climates. They bloom in late spring and early summer and are great for attracting hummingbirds.

The Blue Bellflower is another choice for partial shade. These blue flowers bloom for many months and thrive in partial shade. It is best to plant in spring, summer, and fall and can be planted anywhere in the United States.

The Red Flowered Lamb’s Ear is another flower that you can plant in a partial shade area. As the name suggests, the red flowering plant is known to bloom for months. It’s also a cold-hardy plant that is both deer and rabbit resistant.

The Saponaria Ocymoides is a beautifully delicate purple flower that provides great ground cover. Blooming in the late spring in clusters, this flower is sure to put a smile on your face.

Best Perennials for Sunny Areas

We’ve addressed full shade and partial shade plants, but what about sun-loving plants? When it comes to plants and flowers that love the sun, Salvia, Coreopsis, Purple Coneflower, and Delphinium are great options. These flowers all bloom nicely in the spring and summer and will add a splash of color in your landscaping beds.

For classic flower options, the Black-Eyed Susan is a great choice. These yellow daisy-like flowers bloom from summer to fall and can grow to around 2 feet tall. They are also heat and drought-resistant, which makes them very low maintenance.

Another common flower, the Daylily, loves summer. They will push through the soil in early spring, giving you color in your beds before much of anything else blooms. Peonies and Lilies also love the sunlight, so feel free to load up your sunny spots with those flowers as well.

Contact Kurtz Bros., for help picking the perfect plants for your backyard!

If you need help picking the perfect plants for your backyard, Kurtz Bros., can help! Our experienced team knows the trees, plants, and shrubs that we carry inside and out and can work with you to help ensure that you choose the perfect options for your yard. Give us a call today to learn more or stop into one of our stores to pick up the plants and landscaping supplies you need!

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Expertly Reviewed By:
Matt Malone, Vice President Operations
Matt Malone
Matt is an accomplished business professional with over three decades of experience in the green industry. As a graduate of the University of Toledo with a Bachelors of Business Administration, he has put his extensive education and training to work in his nearly 15 years with Kurtz Bros., where he currently serves as Vice President of Operations.

Learn More About Matt

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