Morning Shade/Afternoon Sun - what should I plant?

dtownjbrown(6a-CintiOH)August 12, 2007

I'm a "fairly" new homeowner and want to finally get started on my garden. I planted some spring bulbs in a small portion of my front yard last fall and I really loved the results (although I was too enthusiastic and everything was overcrowded, but still very pretty). Now, I want to expand my horizons and start planting summer & fall blooms too.

The area on the west wall of my house is just screaming for some plants (its 4ft x 50ft). My Problem: the area is shaded by the house next door for most of the day except for the three hours of direct, unobstructed sun it gets during late afternoon (usually from 2pm-5pm). But then, right back into the shade as the sun keeps moving.

Since I'm looking for summer & fall color I'm hoping that the intensity of the sun during these months will make up for the short duration of direct sunlight. I live in the Midwest where it gets really hot & humid during the summers with very few cloudy days.

I want to approach my garden design a little better this time since I over-planted my spring bulbs (oops). I've been searching the web, visiting the library and keeping magazine clippings but I dont know what to plant in my "problem" spot. Could I get away with full sun? If not, should I look for Part Shade or Part Sun plants? Is 3 hours of direct sun too much for Full Shade plants?

Please help :-(

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This is the worst possible exposure and I have to deal with it too in part of my garden. Here are a few plants that have withstood this exposure for a number of years:

Hosta sieboldiana elegans
Hosta ventricosa--shiny foliage and great purple flowers
Amsonia tabernaemontana
Filipendula spp.
Mertensia virginiana-foliage dies back after spring flowers

I do have good soil with lots of moisture for these plants. I've tried a lot of things but shade-lovers just hate that burning afternoon sun. And it's too shady for sun-lovers. The above plants have survived--and thrived.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2007 at 7:27PM
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Ooh, I had that issue at my last house. I had good luck with clematis (jackmanii and Nelly Moser), oenothera, asiatic lilies and garden phlox. I was really surprised at how well the phlox did; they must've appreciated the heat coming off the wall.

Coleus did well there also, as did wax begonias... but then, you can drop wax begonias just about anywhere and they'll be fine.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2007 at 8:24PM
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waplummer(Z5 NY)

I'm having a hard time visualizing it. the house must be pretty tall and pretty close to give you shade from 6am to 2 pm. And I presume you get skyshine since it is open to the sky. I would think most of the flowers for part sun/part shade are worth a try.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2007 at 10:25PM
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I have a similar situation on one side of my house. The following worked well: rudbeckia (Goldsturm), coreopsis Moonbeam. I use two unkown sedum (succulent, less than five inches high) for ground cover. Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2007 at 2:59AM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

This is indeed a difficult exposure since not only do you get sun during the hottest part of the day, but it bounces off the house as well. But you really don't get it long enough for sun lovers. Daylilies should do fine, and yellow hostas may as well, since they can take a considerable amount of sun--much more than blue ones can take. You may just have to experiment.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2007 at 6:31AM
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All those plants labeled as "Full sun/part shade" should work there. I have a similar situation in my front garden. Western exposure, with morning shade, some afternoon sun, then shade from trees later. I have had success with coneflowers, Phlox paniculata, Phlox pilosa, asters & prairie grasses little bluestem & prairie dropseed. A lot of clematis will also do well in this situation as will daylilies & campanulas.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2007 at 9:31AM
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Another problem with this exposure occurs during winter. The pm sun really heats up the soil, even on a very cold day. The top few inches of soil defrost and roots are burned or are heaved out of the ground. I have had a lot of problems with winter-kill with shrubs in this exposure as well. It's a tricky one but there are plants that succeed.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2007 at 9:38AM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

I have a garden in almost those exact conditions (though our zones are quite different). Here are some ideas I have tried and really enjoyed.

I started with evergreens along the wall to give my garden structure. I put some tall, narrow, columnar arborvitaes (Emerald) at the corners and scattered a few more in between because my bed is just so long. In between the arborvitaes, I planted Indian Hawthorne bushes (at least two between each set of arborvitaes). I doubt those would work for you, but just picture something relatively low and mounding (boxwood, maybe?). If you don't care about evergreens, you could use flowering shrubs or perennials too. For example, if hellebores do well for your area, they could be your mounding plants and they're evergreen too, or hostas, or kirengeshoma would give you this form. Just look for overall plant shape. So, all of that gives the bed a nice structure, even in winter when everything else in the bed is asleep.

Next, I put in a row of flowering deciduous shrubs in front of the evergreens: Blushing Bride Hydrangeas, white variegated hydrangeas (Mariesii), and white roses. (I am trying to keep my bed green and white.) If you want color, you could go with Endless Summer Hydrangeas. These hydrangeas will take more sun than most, and I feel sure they would do fine for you since you're so much further north. Since they bloom on new wood, your winter cold shouldn't be such an issue either.
One end of my bed gets alot more sun, so that's where the white roses are: Little White Pet and Cassie.

Then on the front edge of the bed, I started putting in plants for seasonal color, using 5 to 9 plants of a kind before switching to something different. Again, for some evergreen structure, I used groups of white variegated liriope throughout this row. I have no idea if it would be hardy for you, but its green and white striped, upright foliage is a very nice effect. If the liriope won't do, you could use candytuft (iberis), which is an evergreen perennial. In between each row of liriope, I put in all kinds of low growing annuals and perennials that give me white blooms: white vinca, white profusion zinnias, white begonias, miniature white daylilies, candytuft, etc. You would need to make your selections based on the amount of sun you get through-out your bed areas. Small, White variegated hostas would probably work well for you, and ferns would be gorgeous too. And, of course, if you want more color, choose accordingly.

This fall, I plant to underplant the hydrangeas with bulbs: white daffodils and arum italicum pictum, which will fill in some of the empty space the hydrangeas leave in the winter after their leaves fall. (The arum makes white variegated leaves that persist all winter. Truly lovely!) You could also use snowdrops or leucojum. The nice thing about putting bulbs under deciduous shrubs is they don't get disturbed as easily as if you put them in areas where you are planting seasonal color, plus they bloom when the shrub is dormant. And when the shrub wakes up in the spring, it's new leaves help disguise the rotting bulb foliage.

I hope these ideas help get your creative juices flowing. It's a very simple plan, but it's awfully pretty, I think.
This bed is still in the process of maturing, but it is already giving me alot of pleasure.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2007 at 1:03PM
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I have an oakleaf hydrangea in this position. It came with our house and is huge. It does not seem to resent the afternoon sun.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2007 at 1:04PM
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leslie197(z5 MI)

I have found that on the West side of my house towards the NORTH end that it is too shady for me to grow hybrid daylilies. They live but do not bloom well in that much shade & I plan on moving them this fall. Ditch daylilies do fine in these conditions, as Four-oclocks (yellow blooms) surprisingly do, the tubers wintering over in place the past 5 years. I also have a small raised area as the front bed wraps the corner that I use for a collection of miniature hostas. This area has a large trumpet vine on a trellis as a backdrop. It blooms lightly, but is mostly used to break up the expanse of wall with its nice foliage.

As you move down this West bed towards the center and on to the Southwest corner of the house I can grow plants that require more sun. Trellises here have two Ernest Markham clematis (magenta red) & Clematis viticella Purpurea Plena Elegans (double, also magenta). Etoile Violette, another viticella, grows on a large New Dawn rambler rose at the far southwest edge on an Umbrella trellis. New Dawn can tolerate some shade, but be warned it is a very large rose.

Zwanenberg Blue spiderwort is planted under the shade thrown by the rose, with helenium and mums just on the outside edge for late summer & fall color.

I also grow about a dozen hybrid daylilies along this bed in two staggered rows. These are interplanted with hardy Asiatic & Orienpet lilies (creams, yellows & deep reds) & interrupted by two large hostas, Sum & Substance & Guacamole in the middle section. Their large leaves help offset both the strappy daylily leaves & the fine textured leaves of the vines. Both of these hostas grow best when NOT in full shade & do not burn in the hot west sun (remember though that this is a zone 5 garden, not the south, and that my gardens are on wettish clay). The center of this long bed has a large mass of Sunrise Echinacea. The soft yellow blends well with the other colors in the bed.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2007 at 2:29PM
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Overplanting is a very common mistake for new gardeners, very hard to avoid, so don't feel bad about it. Making garden beds that are WAY too narrow is another, and you can avoid that one because now you've got garden web to help.

Why do you need to keep it to 4'? If this is actually 4' from foundation to the outside of the bed, you have a very narrow, long garden planned, and one in which the back half will get almost no natural rain, because of the "rain shadow" of your house wall. If at all possible, you should keep about 2' along the foundation clear, just mulch it, and put plants in front of that. Any chance you can widen this, or is there a path or another obstruction there?

Sedum is a great suggestion - it's so adaptable it will grow just about anywhere. My ditch lilies bloom in fairly deep shade, much better than any of the other day lilies I've got in shade, so I second that one too. Peach leaf bellflower and several other campanulas can bloom in this exposure, too, just don't get one of the invasive types.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2007 at 9:41PM
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Wow, what a response! There are so many of them I hardly know where to begin. Thanks to all of you........

Ginny12 thanks for the suggestions however, IÂm a novice and the genus/species/variety names you list are like greek to meÂ.do you know the common names?

Deeje  the phlox did well for you? There is one particular kind that I like the look of, I think its called Dirigo Ice. It has sky blue flowers and very green leaves. Would this happen to be the kind you have?

Waplummer  yes, the house next to me is very tall (and long to boot). What do you mean by skyshine? The area is open to the sky with no other obstructions above, just the house next door.

Paulallen  is "Goldstrum" the one that looks kinda like a sunflower-daisy mix? I love that one. Thanks for input

Laceyvail  yellow hostas? Is that the common name?

Entling  if I look for the "Full Sun/Part Shade" plants, what should I look for in order to tell if IÂm giving them too much sun or too much shade (i.e. browning leaves, falling petals, etc.)?

Ginny12 Â thanks for answering my question twice (smile). What type of exposure restrictions should I look for when considering winter conditions? Should I lean towards the "more shade" plants?

Donnabaskets  whew! IÂll get back to you on this one, after IÂve done an internet search on all the plants youÂve suggested. Many, many thanks for your help.

Redsox  when you say huge do you mean upright-huge or spreading-huge?

Leslie197  wow, thanks for the pics. Considering the time of your post and the position of the sun in the photosÂ.did you take pictures on account of my question? What a wonderful forum this is. Your lilies are beautiful!!! And what type of flower are the purples ones over your fence  I really like those.

Diggingthedirt  my measurement of 4 is an estimate (it may even be more narrow than that). There is 4 of soil from the edge of my driveway to the side of my houseÂ.is that bad? WhatÂs worse is the entire bed is covered by my roof line, so I will have to water them myself (IÂve been researching drip methods). IÂll try to post some pics, so you can get a better feel of my "dilemma".

Again, thanks to everyone for all the suggestions. IÂm gonna love here at GardenWeb.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2007 at 11:10PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

"Yellow Hostas" is just a generic term for the many hostas that are yellow/chartreuse. And BTW, if you start by learning the Latin names, you'll save yourself a lot of misunderstandings. If you know Iris and Rhododendron, you already know two Latin names.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2007 at 6:12AM
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nancyd(5/Rochester, NY)

Great idea to plant spring bulbs. This is a very tough area. I'm afraid you'll have to do a lot of experimenting, but don't give up. Eventually you will find things that work. (For example, "Goldstrum" - Black Eyed Susans do not do well for me in this area.) The trick is to find part-shade plants that can tolerate a few hours of hot sun and no label will tell you that! I get slightly more afternoon sun than you do in a certain part of my yard and I'll list what does well there. You may not get the prolific or lush growth that you would in a sunnier area, but I find they do still bloom decently:

Monarda (Bee Balm)
Coreopsis "Zagreb" (much hardier variety of coreopsis - Moonbeam didn't cut it)
Oenothera "Sundrops"
Some ferns do well - pick ones for part-sun
Some hostas will do well (I'm sorry I don't know the names, but stay away from the blue varieties)
Japanese Anemones, particularly "Honorine Jorbert" - really excellent for fall blooms! It does well in most places
Geraniums (not the annual type, but the perennial groundcovers)
Hydrangeas (the ball varieties will need extra water in the heat of summer) - "Oakleaf" is a good one for fall color
Azaleas and Rhodies for late spring color
Colchicum autumnale "Autumn Crocous" - yes, a fall crocus! Really neat bulb to plant.
As said, sedums will probably do well
Bleeding Heart and Columbine - will do surprisingly well. By the time summer rolls around, they will have finished blooming and die back so the hot sun isn't really an issue.
Some daylilies - what people call "ditch lilies" are the common lilies you find growing alongside highways - they are the tall orange dayliles that grow practically anywhere.
Spiderwort did OK for me here.
Don't overlook annuals. Try planting some for consistent color. Impatiens can sometimes tolerate more sun than you think.
Nasturtiums can tolerate shade and sometimes prefer it over full sun.

Each garden is different, so you'll have to play around. I will recommend since you're new at this, that if you haven't already, add a few inches of compost to the top of your bed this fall and do so every year. Since you've planted lots of bulbs, don't dig it in, just layer it on top. Don't worry about the bulbs. They'll come up just fine. Organic matter will help retain moisture and your plants will respond much better.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2007 at 10:33AM
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The full sun/part shade plants do fine in full sun & will not burn. The question with these plants is how much shade is too much. The answer is when the bloom is sparce or the plant gets too leggy, floppy or leans too much.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2007 at 11:42AM
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leslie197(z5 MI)

The purple flowers at the top of the fence are from Clematis Etoile Violette, a viticella clem that is very easy to grow. It is a very dark purple which is set off well by the very pale pink of the New Dawn rose. The picture was taken June 14, 2007.

The bluer purple flowers at the bottom in the shade created by the rose are Zwanenberg Blue Spiderwort (Tradescantia).

I just realized that I didn't show you any of the hybrid daylilies that are in the niddle portions of the long narrow bed. Didn't want you to think that there are only the orange ditch daylilies (Hemerocallis fulva) that are shown in the 1st picture! The fulvas (spreading not clumping dls) are in the northwest corner in almost total shade due to the northern exposure and an overhead tree. These started blooming this year on June 10th.

The dozen hybrid daylilies in this narrow bed are all new plants and eventually I'll have to move about half of them somewhere else when they grow too crowded. So don't be too concerned about overcrowding your bulbs - most all of us overcrowd something sometimes and then have to move things around. LOL

I also wanted to mention that I tried to stagger the daylily bloom (mostly July bloom) in between the early June blooming Asiatic lilies & the late July blooming Orienpets, but tried to keep most things in the same red/yellow/cream color scheme because there is bound to be some overlap.

The only exception was the New Dawn rose which is at the far south end near the fence - because that's the only space I have that is big enough. She can put out 20 foot long canes which I wrap around the corner walls on both sides. She has one main flush in early June and some scattered later bloom as does the clematis. The rebloom clashes a bit with the daylilies strong colors, but not enough to matter much.

I am just mentioning all this to give you an idea of the progression that goes on in the bed through the season, even though it is a very narrow bed. I still have one cream-colored daylily , copper colored helenium, Orange Perfection phlox (not really orange in color) in bloom, along with some bronze-colored mums that are just starting & some rebloom on the spiderworts and clemmies. Oh, and I forgot to mention some blue berries on the Variegated Porcelain vine which is on the wall between two of the clems.

Here are some of the daylilies. With various dls blooming at slightly different times, I get some nice punches of color over a period of about 6 weeks. Not boring waiting and watching for each to show its stuff.

Francois Verhaert

Larry Grace

Royal Frosting

Ruby Spider

    Bookmark   August 14, 2007 at 8:21PM
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Hello all, it's me again. I've been reading Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Perennials and have decided that I really like Asters....especially the compact ones (because my flower bed is so narrow). Any suggestions on what would go nicely with these daisy-like flowers?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2007 at 4:07PM
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Purple coneflowers are a wonderful, drought tolerant plant and would do fine in afternoon sun.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2007 at 5:47PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I also have a west facing border along the foundation of my house. It doesn't get sun until 11:30am and by 3:30pm one end is starting to shade up and by 4:30pm the other end is too. I also have a problem with too narrow a bed because there is a pathway all along the outside edge of the border.

I have tried at least 3 different planting arrangements and not much has been successful yet. Sorry but I don't remember what didn't work previously to what is there Sedums have not worked, because they grow huge and open up in the middle and flop. Even when I pinched them back. I put in two baptisias, one on each end. One does really well in the sunnier side but the end with less sun, that baptisia had a few small blooms and that was all. Last year, it was really unhealthy and I am going to have to get it out of there. The other blooming plant is very pretty, but it is getting really big. I had to prune it back after it bloomed and have had to put a cage over it for support. I also put hardy geraniums under it and geraniums grow well there.

Boxwood grows well there. Heuchera is doing okay, but not great. Some of the leaves have gotten a little crispy this year and not sure if it is the sun or the dryness. Delphiniums bloomed fine on the sunnier end but no rebloom. I did try grasses and they didn't do well at all. I tried anthemis and not much bloom and it was scraggly. I also tried foxglove and lupine there last year. I did get bloom on the lupine this year, and plan to try more there so the jury is still out. The foxglove died over the winter. So sad. :-( lol

Still not happy at all with that whole area and I wish I could just rip it all out and reshape the beds to make them larger and put in a few small evergreen shrubs and try another round of perennials. Still, I am a sucker for symmetry and I just can't get two of the same thing to grow at both ends. Someone suggested lobelia cardinalis as something that might do well in those conditions.

Not sure what I am going to do with that area next, but I do appreciate all those who shared what has worked for them. I will certainly have some new ideas to think about.


    Bookmark   August 23, 2007 at 10:15PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Well, the west side of my house is in the sun from about 2pm until sunset, plus I am at a high altitude, so I'm not sure if what works for me will be relevant or not... but the only things that have survived so far in that location have been a couple of columbine (aquilegia) and a yellow iceplant (delosperma). I had one daylilly there, that didn't die, but didn't really grow either, so I moved it elsewhere. It is probably easier for me to list what hasn't been successful there: Oakleaf hydrangea, Kerria (Japanese rose), viburnum, heucheras (coral bells) - fried to a crisp there. I haven't tried any coneflowers there, but since others said they had success with them in a similar setting, I may give them a try. The biggest problem I have in this area, other than the sun exposure issue, is wind. I can't even keep mulch there, it just blows all over the yard. The fact that the bed slopes away from the house, doesn't help either.

This is definitely the area of the garden that I am least pleased with. I wanted a shrub or two there for height, but haven't found anything tough enough yet for this location. I wish you more success than I have had!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2007 at 11:14PM
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