How Does Shady Planting Trees Care For Shady Landscapes?

shade plants

Shade plants are used to shade or enclose areas that would otherwise be too bright for plants of other types. Shade plants can help protect or add interest to any area, inside or out. They are most commonly found in tropical and subtropical climates, but can be found anywhere there is enough shade. Shade plants do not have to be cacti or palms to qualify as a shade garden. A plant that needs little direct sunlight is considered a shade garden.

All plants, shade-loving varieties as well as sun-shy varieties, need some sun to survive. But shade plants differ significantly in the levels they require. Plant descriptions in nursery catalogs and online plant catalogs often use terms like "full shade" or "partial shade" to describe how much shade plants require. Some shrubs and some trees will need full shade more than others.

Shrubs and some trees will flourish more if planted to a deeper level of the soil. They can tolerate a deeper soil but may need fertilizer to help them flourish. To make sure your shade plants and trees take root in the right soil, mix coarse sand in with the soil to break up particles in the soil. The sand acts as an excellent mulch and protects the roots from freezing during the colder months of the year. A layer of sand, combined with mulch, is a great addition to the forest floor.

Trees and shrubs planted in full or partial shade will normally grow well with a variety of deciduous flowers, some evergreen shrubs and ground covers. To keep these shade plants healthy, you must give them access to ample amounts of direct sun. Direct sun is healthy for all plants, but it is especially vital for shade plants to get the ultraviolet rays they need to thrive. The late afternoon sun is the most important time of day to plant shade plants to create a rich, deep, dark color of soil that will shelter them from harsh winter sun.

Shade tolerant plants should be given direct sunlight only for short periods of time. If you give plants full sunlight all day long, they will not have the time to adjust to a more shaded environment. Choose a time of day when you know your shade plants will have at least 4 hours of sunlight. Do not give plants too much sunlight. Most shade tolerant plants will do fine in partial shade conditions.

Shrubs and some trees will do better in partial shade conditions, while other shade loving plants may do better in direct sun. Look at the plant hardiness zone of where you live to see which plants will do well. If you live in a warmer part of the country, you might consider a desert shrub, but keep in mind that many desert shrubs need lots of water to grow properly. A cool season shrub such as California poppy will do nicely in a shaded area, but check with someone at your local nursery to make sure your chosen shrub will do well in your climate.

Some shade loving plants will do fine in shaded areas even in winter. Taller shade plants, such as ferns, will do well in shaded areas and will even be beautiful, if they are put in pots with deeper holes, because they would otherwise be too cold. Many shade loving plants such as clematis, morning glories, hostas, and Veronica can survive in dense shade conditions for only four hours or so each day, and they will bloom brilliantly each day as long as they are given a little bit of indirect sun.

Shading is most effective in full shade conditions where there are no nearby shade loving plants. In shady areas where plants require light to photosynthesis, the best choice would be to grow a garden of all bright and colorful flowering plants, as this makes the most use of the sunlight. However, if you do grow flowering plants in full shade conditions, be careful that you do not plant too close together, as taller flowering plants may get snagged on branches, which could seriously injure them.