As Florida is blessed with sunshine, the road to successful gardening in the shade can become bumpy and challenging. Most landscape plants require exposure to full sun for them to grow well. Landscaping does not have to be a daunting task. It should start with knowing when and where shade occurs in your garden. It is also necessary that you understand the type of shade suitable for growing plants. Some shades can make plant growth problematic, so you have to be very careful. You should also keep in mind that some shade-tolerant plants will only grow and thrive under the following conditions:
- They require four or more hours of full sun exposure either in the morning or evening
- They need dappled shade all day long
- They require pine shade
It is also essential that you take note of areas that have difficult shade:
- Very wet or dry areas
- Areas where tree roots dominate
- Dark or dense areas
- Areas surrounded by buildings
There are techniques you can use to address the problem with difficult shade such as thinning the large shrubs or tree canopy so the sun can penetrate. In pruning trees, you should not carry out the task yourself. Unless you have a tree-pruning experience, you might cut the tree the wrong way. You have to choose an ISA Certified Arborist to get the job done.
If shade seems difficult, you can also create an outdoor garden room improved by a water feature, colorful containers, garden art, seating, mulch, and much more. It is also essential that you know the plants that grow well in shade landscape. Note though that each plant has a different need aside from light. Be sure to choose plants that can survive in a particular landscape.
Things to consider when gardening in the shade:
- If plants receive inadequate light, you cannot substitute fertilizers for photosynthesis.
- Areas surrounded by trees are warmer, while frost-free spots are ideal for cold-tender plants.
- Choose smaller plants as digging among the roots of shrubs and trees can be difficult. Be sure to water the plants frequently until they are fully established.
- Choose plants with light-colored flowers if you want shady areas to have color, Dark flowers will not show up.
- Mow shaded lawns higher. They will also require less water, traffic, and fertilizer.
Groundcover as a substitute for lawngrass
In planting in the shade, lawngrass cannot tolerate the absence of full sun. You will need to switch to other alternatives like a groundcover. These plants are not tolerant of foot traffic, so you also need to plant them in areas where they can grow fully:
- Cast Iron Plant
- Japanese Plum Yew
- Southern Shield Fern
- Asiatic Jasmine
- Border Grasses
- Groundcovers for Shade
Other shade-loving plants
Although most of these plants thrive in the shade, they also love to be exposed to the sun. In case your shade shifts, choose plants that can quickly adapt to the changes. There are shady areas that tend to become dry, so choosing drought-tolerant plants is also essential.
- Ornamental Gingers
- Blue Ginger
- Persian Shield
- Fabulous Ferns
- Oakleaf Hydrangea
- Ornamental Gingers
Ask a landscaping professional about gardening in the shade so you can gain insightful ideas and make the most out of this landscaping technique.