“Don’t be afraid of the Shade”

Colorful hydrangea flowers on a summer day

Colorful hydrangea flowers on a summer day

Shade Gardening in North Texas doesn’t have to be hard! There are many varieties of plants to choose from that thrive in the shadier spots in and around our landscapes! You can choose from blooming annuals like Impatiens, Green Leaf Begonias and Torenia, flowering shrubs like hydrangeas and gardenias, or for brightly colored foliage choose plants like Coleus, Caladiums and Hostas.

Before we can really talk about shade gardening we first have to address the term “shade” as it has several different representations when it comes to describing true sun exposure. 

 Light Shade

This is when shade is produced by a permanent structure such as a building, wall, Shade Trees or other objects that are large enough to cast a significant size shadow. This type is best for plants that would prefer a little less sun exposure during the hottest part of the summer.

Part Shade:

This type of Shade is best for plants that bloom. A partial Shaded area receives up to 6 hours of direct sun, with at least 4 hours being morning sun, with the remainder being shaded from direct sunlight.

Filtered Shade:

This type of Shade is created when sunlight filters through the canopy of large Shade Trees or through other structures such as latticework or trellises. This is probably the most common type of Shade found in most front and backyards. This type is well suited for plants that bloom as well as plants with brightly colorful foliage.

Full Shade:

This is when the shade is so dense that no actual sunlight is present at all. This is probably the coolest as far as temperatures, but is the most difficult area to plant in.

Now that you have a better idea of what we mean when we say shade here are few examples of the many Shade tolerant plants you have to choose from. We’ve got it made in the “Shade”.

Shade Loving Perennials:

Gaura– (Gaura lindheimeri) Pink or white blooms in mid to late summer, does well in part sun exposure, height 18-24” tall

Ruellia– (Ruellia brittoniana) blooming groundcover with pink, blue or white blooms mid spring through summer, does well in part sun exposure, height 6-12” Tall

foxtail fern

Asparagus Foxtail Fern

Holly Fern– (Cyrotmium falcatum) Perennial Fern does well in part to full shade exposure, height 185-24” tall

Wood Fern– (Thelypteris normalis) Perennial fern does well in light to part shade, height 24-36” tall

Asparagus Fern– (Asparagus densiflorus ‘Springeri’) Perennial fern does well in part sun exposure, height 18-24” tall

Autumn Fern– (Dryopteris erythrosora) Perennial fern does well in part to full shade exposure, height 18-24”

hosta var

Hosta with variegated leaves

Hosta– (Hosta varieties) Excellent for full to part shade exposure, height varies by varieties

Heuchera– (Heuchera varieties) does well in part sun exposure, height 12-18” tall

Lamium– (Lamium maculatum) does well in part to full shade exposure, height 6-12” tall


Shade Lovi
ng Shrubs:

encoreazalea

Encore Azaleas– (Azalea varieties) blooming shrub does well in light to part shade, height by variety

Hydrangeas– (Hygrangea macrphylla) blooming shrub does well in part shade exposure, height 36-48” tall

Japanese Aralias– (Fatsia japonica) does well in a part shade exposure, height10-12’ tall

Aucuba– (Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’) does well in part to full shade exposure, height 8-10’

Camellias– (Camellia japonica) blooming shrub does well in part shade exposure, height 4-6’ tall

gardenia

Gardenia bloom- known for their fragrance

Japanese Yew– (Podocarpus macrphyllus) does well in light to part to full shade exposure, height 15-20’ tall

Plum Yew– (Cephalotaxus harringtonia) does well in part to full shade exposure, height 15-20’ tall

Gardenias– (Gardenia jasminoides) does well in light to part to full shade, height 4-6’ tall


Shade Loving Groundcover:

asainjasmineAsian Jasmine– (Trechelospermum asiaticum) Excellent groundcover does well in light to part to full shade, height 6-12” tall

Ajuga– (Ajuga reptans) Groundcover does well in part shade exposure, height 12-18” tall

Vinca Major– (Vinca major) blooming groundcover does well in part shade exposure, height 12-18” tall

Green Liriope– (Liriope muscari) blooming groundcover does well in part shade exposure, height 6-12” tall

Variegated Liriope– (Liriope muscari var.) blooming groundcover does well in part shade exposure, height 6-12” tall

Mondo Grass– (Ophiopogon japonicus) groundcover does well in part to full shade, height 6-12” tall

Dwarf Mondo Grass– (Ophiopogon japonicus ‘Nana’) Dwarf groundcover does well in light to part to full shade, height 6” tall


Shade Loving Trees:


Japanese Maples
– (Acer palmatum) Excellent small shade tree with bright green and or red to burgundy foliage does well in part to light shade, height varies by variety