Plants for late afternoon sun

jenn(SoCal 9/19)June 6, 2011

The patio in our north-east facing back yard has a bed that faces west and gets sun in the late afternoon only during the warmer months; in winter, it gets bright shade with a speckle of dappled sun in early morning.

I'm looking for plants that can take a blast of direct hot afternoon sun from about 2:00 until evening.

This bed is about 4' deep and about 10 feet long with a patio post about midway along the length. I'd like some tall plants next to the post, and I'm envisioning a tropicalesque look to create a shady nook on that side of the patio. Currently, there is 1 happy Agapanthus and a tall potted Scheflera. There used to be a Salvia microphylla 'San Carlos Festive' which outgrew the spot. Taking a clue from these plants, it seems that any plant that likes part sun, or sun/shade would be happy in this spot.

I'm considering a tall, wispy (not formally pruned) Nandina on each side of the post. Would Abutilon work in this spot? What other plants would work?

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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Nandina is the perfect plant, isn't it? I had a friend who did not garden, and someone asked for his advice on a plant. I told him any time someone asks what plant they should use, just answer Nandina.

I have the same bed, and posted the same question quite a while back. I ended up with burned clivias and daylilies that never bloom.


    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 7:22PM
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Lots of things would work. With the heat the inland areas get even the sun lovers appreciate the morning shade.
I have a small area like that and have a crape myrtle, 2 sweet pea bushes and iris's.

I am guessing that scheff will burn in the late afternoon sun. I put mine outside also and no sun after 1pm or they fry.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 9:44PM
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Dick_Sonia(Sunset 17)

I would approach this from the opposite perspective. A plant that can tolerate 4-6 hours of the day's harshest sun at the warmest time of the year is the same as a plant that can take all-day sun. The issue then becomes the ability to tolerate the shade/diminished light during the rest of the year.

I agree that there are lots of things that will work, from agaves to erythrinas to caesalpinias. If the schefflera is okay there, then the sun may not be as harsh as you think it is.

It doesn't sound like a particularly apt location for the abutilons that I'm familiar with. I would think you'd want something more drought tolerant for such a site.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 12:31AM
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Jenn, I've been struggling with a bed with exactly the same problem. All kinds of plants have come. . . and gone.

Here's what's stayed: agapanthus, which you already have, cotinus coggyria "Royal Purple" (which doesn't get as purple as it should because of the winter lack of sun), iris, "Ice Star" daisies, some wonderful intense blue asters, tall pentas (which are just starting to come out of their winter funk), Helichrysum "Icicles," Leucanthemum hosmariense, Gerbera "Everlast White" (which blooms almost constantly), geranium Rozanne, alstromeria Koice, and believe it or not, a very healthy Gruss an Aachen rose. The alstros and the Gruss an Aachen echo one another's colors.

Now that's not exactly what I would call "tropical" by any stretch of the imagination, but I was happy just to find plants that weren't going to kick the bucket.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 8:35AM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

Thank you for your suggestions. I'll post a picture later to help describe the site. Yes, Nandina does seem like a perfect plant for this spot.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 3:08PM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

Here are some photos of this spot taken today. Our backyard which faces northeast. The sun is just now hitting it as it passes to the west side of the patio at 2:00 PM; prior to that it was bright shade. In winter when the sun is low, there will be much less direct sun (I can't remember how much) but lots of bright shade. A lot of bare spots in the borders, I know -- those will be planted this Fall.

We get a strong breeze through the patio every afternoon. Wind-resistant plants would be nice to provide some wind break and a little shade from direct afternoon sun in our eyes.

Suggestions for additions, deletions, total redo, much appreciated! :)

From inside the patio looking west...

From outside the patio facing northeast...

Outside the patio looking southeast...

Another view looking southeast...

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 5:34PM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

What about canna lilies, will take heat, if they get enough water and look tropical.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 7:28PM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

Ooh, I love the idea of Canna in that spot. Does it do well in bright shade in winter (with a little early morning sun while the sun is rising)?

The spot is still sunny now at 6:45, and probably will still be in the sun after 7:30.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 9:43PM
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Cannas get cut back in early spring to the ground.
The Santa Ana's will whip them quite a bit, tear up the leaves and they really need full sun to do well.
I would put Canna's in large pots as they multiply quickly.
Just by putting in 1 in 2-3 years you will have 10...

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 10:13PM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

Ah shoot, I was about to pencil Canna into the design. I've learned my lesson with invasives, and if something is prone to being invasive it will be invasive here in our soil-on-steroids.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 11:54PM
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A narrow space along the side of a window, deeo shade until afternoon, then hot valley sun. I wanted colorful bloom in small pots hung vertically.

After seasons of failure, I found good old portulaca were the answer. Bright colors, little care, long season.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 1:54PM
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Jenn,beautiful gardens!! What are all your purple flowers in the 1st and 2nd pictures.Love those,you've done a great job with your yard and patio.TFS

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 5:27PM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

Thank you, Kathi. :) All I see are the ugly bare spots that need re-planting.... goes to show that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, eh? :)

Photo #1: The purple on the far left is Clematis 'Polish Spirit'.

Photo #2: Clematis 'Prince Charles' on the fence, and Geranium 'Rozanne' below the vine. Oh - there's also a dusting of purple in front of the wall by the birdbath (lower left) --- that's Salvia cuahuilensis.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 5:36PM
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Hi Jenn - I know this is old but I'm taking a chance that maybe you're still around! If you do check in, just wondering what you've learned over the last few years. Our backyard is in the exact same orientation, and we have the same conditions -- only 4-5 hours of sun, but it's afternoon sun in the summer growing season. And then very little direct sun in the winter.

I suppose I could just take a chance and plant, right...??? ;)

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 9:27PM
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peachymomo(Ca 8)

I've had success with Abelia and Muhly Grass in my west facing bed with shade in winter, before I renovated the bed Agapanthus and Scabiosa were the only things doing well. In the other bed with the same conditions I plan on planting Nandina and a Western Redbud tree, perhaps with Sweet Woodruff as a groundcover.

This post was edited by peachymomo on Sat, Apr 19, 14 at 10:26

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 11:14AM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

nika107 - I'm still here. :-) The plants in this spot include an Agapanthus (not very original but it works around other plants in the area with a tropical look), a potted Dracaena Marginata, and a Salvia labeled 'Rio Bamba' but could be S. flocculosa.

Other plants to consider include Nandina or others that do well in either sun or shade.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 10:03AM
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I plant mostly edible ornamentals, and in our blast furnace heat areas I have figs, grapes, citrus and olive trees. Everything is pruned to stay small. As for flowers, vincas take the heat very well.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 11:46PM
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