Need a plant for morning shade, afternoon sun

jenn(SoCal 9/19)November 20, 2005

We have a small spot on the west side of our patio that gets shade until the afternoon (2-3 PM) when it gets blasted by hot sun until the sun sets (in summer). I planted a Heuchera there last spring and it is almost totally fried (I'll be moving it to the shade this fall).

I'd like to plant something there that can take shade OR sun, is about 3-5 feet tall and about 3 feet wide. This spot is on the edge of a patio next to a glider so I don't want something too perfumey or full of bees. It can bloom or not bloom.

One plant I'm considering is Dracaena. Our house is Spanish style and we need a few more plants that suit that style, though this plant doesn't necessarily have to do that. It just needs to like shade all morning and then hot sun in the afernoon.



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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

There are many varieties of phormium/New Zealand flax that would fit the bill. I have some phormium 'Wings of Gold' planted in a similar situation, and it's very happy. Gets just to 3 ft. Another nice one is 'Yellow Wave' which is somewhat less spiky than 'Wings of Gold', has a more relaxed habit, but is about the right size. Another idea might be cordyline terminalis 'Red Flash'.

The nice thing about these plants is they are very predictable as to size.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cordyline terminalis 'Red Flash'

    Bookmark   November 20, 2005 at 8:23PM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

Thank you, I would never have considered phormium. I fear there won't be enough sun there in winter though.... the sun only hits that spot in summer. That's what makes this spot tricky, I think. The plant has to like both sun and shade, with the sun being the hottest summer afternoon sun, and shade lasting all winter (no sun until summer).

The Condyline is nice too.


    Bookmark   November 21, 2005 at 12:49AM
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lyael(z10 CA, ss 23)

I'd love so see the suggestions anyone has for this problem, too. Doesn't everyone have this spot somewhere in their yard? I have a ~5 foot wide planting bed next to the west side of my house, and am grappling with the same problem. Mine does get winter sun. It gets the burning afternoon sun (only, with full shade all morning) all year round (though, of course, the sun's gentler in winter). It seems like every plant I read about that takes "full sun to partial shade" really means "lots of lovely morning to mid-day sun with some shade protection from precisely the nasty afternoon blaze" we're trying to deal with.

I love the "yellow wave" phormium, and I'm in San Diego, too, but inland more, and I thought the lighter leaved phormiums need protection from hot afternoon sun? I'd love to be wrong about that! Help!


    Bookmark   November 21, 2005 at 2:16AM
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melle_sacto(Z9/Sunset 14 CA)

The morning shade/afternoon sun deal is as large part of my front yard since we live on a corner with a north-west exposure. The plants I grow that could fit the bill: Southern Indica azalea (3'x3' with pruning), gardenia "veitchii", pelargonium, dwarf escallonia, Abelia grandiflora "bumblebee", daylily (only 3' tall when blooming), Zantedeschia aethiopica, rosemary, agapanthus (I grow 'Peter Pan' but the larger sizes would fit the bill) and Penstemon gloxinoides...I wish I could have suggested a more exotic list but I'm relatively new to gardening.

I basically consider the morning shade/afternoon sun exposure to be full sun. Not all full sun plants do well there, however, so unfortunately there is a lot of trial and error.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2005 at 8:21AM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

Laura, Miramar Nursery specializes in phormiums and grows all their varieties in pots in an open field east of I-805. I don't think you can get much more full blazing sun than that.

I don't have a good answer for the 'winter shade/summer sun' problem. Maybe agapanthus, they are fairly versatile.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2005 at 3:47PM
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SusanC(9b/10a Sunset 17)

Dietes iridioides, 'Fortnight lily', would probably do well in that situation. -It has naturalized in partial shade in our garden, and I see it planted everywhere in full sun. Be warned, though: it is quite the enthusiastic self-sower. (Although, the seedlings are shallowly rooted and easy to pull out.)

Here is a link that might be useful: Fortnight lily

    Bookmark   November 22, 2005 at 10:16AM
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BecR(zone 9 CA 19)

I second fortnight lily, as well as heavenly bamboo (nandina domestica).


    Bookmark   November 23, 2005 at 1:09AM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

Juniper can take most everything - once established. Slow growing though. Comes in many different sizes.

Also natal plum grows near the beach areas in full afternoon sun. A bit stickery, however.


    Bookmark   November 23, 2005 at 11:40AM
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Correa 'Dusky Bells' can handle the job. I have the same exposure: west facing, in total shade until the sun gets to the west. It's just fine there (and on the north side in full shade). It will never get 5 feet tall, maybe 2 1/2 - 3' tall and wide.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2005 at 1:34AM
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arvind(San Jose, CA)

If you want a well-behaved, handsome bush with red berries turning to chocolate (the color), try California coffeeberry (Rhamnus californica). Does well in sun as well as shade. Water tolerant and drought tolerant. All-round worthy shrub. Many selections available in the trade. I have Mound San Bruno, and a local variety.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2005 at 4:58PM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

Thanks everyone. The answer was staring me in the face -- Dracaena marginata which had been sitting in a small pot for many months and begging for a permanent home. We have two others in the front yard so I thought putting one in the back yard at the edge of the patio would add garden continuity. Thank you for all of your suggestions, I'll keep them in mind for other areas.


    Bookmark   November 30, 2005 at 11:17PM
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