Index > Garden Blog

Date: 24 Jun 2018, Entry id: 1529837339

Full Sun Garden vs Shade Garden

"Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." (Warren Buffett)

Q: I live in California and I have a large area of my garden in full shade. Are there any plants that will be happy there? I am looking for something colorful. I also have a smaller area in front of the house that has full sun almost all day long, but I am afraid this can be too hot for flowering plants? Can you recommend something?

A: Full sun gardens have a strong, bright look while shade gardens have cooler, subdued appearance. Both types of gardens are fun to design and maintain as long as you pick the right plants.
Full Sun Garden is the easiest to grow. Depending on exposure, it may require some plants that can tolerate the hottest summer days and the dry conditions in your area. The good news is, the majority of tropical and subtropical plants prefer full sun, so you have a large selection to pick from - fruit trees, flowering trees, shrubs, vines, and small perennials. The more sun, the more flowers and fruit you will get! However, keep in mind that sun gardens require more water, but generous mulching will help to minimize watering.
Shade Garden is much more restful in appearance, but sometimes may be a little more difficult to work with. As shade trees grow bigger and thicker, it may become too dark; nothing will grow in total darkness. In this case you need to prune back some branches to let more light in. Filtered sunlight or dappled light coming through the leaves of the trees is beneficial and considered light shade, which would be the best light conditions for shade loving plants to thrive. Although shady cooler spaces attract more insects and will require more attention to control them, they also have some advantages over sun gardens. You can enjoy working in cooler conditions, and your garden will require less water. Many foliage plants look more deeply colored and healthier than in full sun; white flowers shine instead of looking washed out!
Our favorite shade plants are fragrant brunfelsias , clerodendrums, and of course colorful gingers and heliconias. You may also consider ornamental foliage of Calatheas, lush Alocasias, Colocasias, and colorful Cordylines. Check out our shade loving plant list for more colorful suggestions. These are also great for indoor gardens!

On the photo: Calathea lancifolia Rattlesnake