Extreme sun/shade shift

shiffertNovember 19, 2010

I have a small garden on the south side of our garage. It's shaded by trees and structures most of the day, but when the sun finally hits, it bakes for 4-5 hours mid-summer. I'm having a hard time finding plants that can handle the daily extreme shift in conditions. Has anyone had similar experience?

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bahia(SF Bay Area)

You might find that adding small fine textured evergreen trees or large shrubs can give you filtered shade to expand your options. If that isn't interesting, then the succulents are often a good fit in these conditions, such as many Aloes, Agaves, Sedums, Kalanchoes, Cotyledons, etc. Many Mediterranean climate plants such as common Lavenders, Rosemary, Euphorbias, etc will also handle these conditions well.

Some of my best locations for favorite plants are at the south side of large trees. The lower winter sun angle is perfect for my bromeliads, with things like Billbergia vitatta foliage coloring up deep purple with the winter sun, but shading at noon in summer.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 10:46AM
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Since most of my yard is shaded in one way/time or another, I've learned to experiment with plantings. For vegetables ... tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, white/red/sweet potatoes do well. For ornamentals, Nandinas do beautifully, cosmos, sweet peas,irises.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 1:32PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I have that too. I have been experimenting with short trees and standards to provide light shade during the summer four hour blast. So far Brugmansias have worked pretty well, since I can cut them to the ground and they grow back up by midsummer. I also have a poodled nectarine tree that works out okay, since it leafs out and shades things in the summer, but it's quite a bit of labor keeping it in shape and I imagine it won't live long. The Oro Blanco grapefruit is a bust- it grows too fast and dense so I can't plant beneath it. I'm thinking about trying a Little John Callistemon standard there instead.

I agree with Borderbarb- nandinas to the rescue! And a much maligned plant- Sprenger asparagus fern. I like them raised off the ground in pots. Bearded irises will grow there but they may not bloom well. Some have variegated foliage that is very pretty.

Another option is to put up a pergola and grow all shade plants.


    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 2:19PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

The amount and location of the sun in my garden is constantly changing due to the growth of trees and large shrubs. I am faced with either moving a plant or removing the tree that has grown to shade it. Gardeners need to notice these shifts and stop thinking the plant has become defective because it has stopped blooming or has become leggy and tends to fall over. Al

    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 9:01AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

I have an area like that. Shade most of the time except in high summer when heat is fierce and nasty. Nandina has been fine there, and it's a narrow plant that works okay in narrowish spaces. Most common tough landscape shrubs (Ligustrum, Myrtle, Euonymous, Xylosma) will work. They are boring but, well...tough. Couple of CA natives, Toyon and Coffeeberry would work.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 10:14PM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

This is the exact issue I asked about in my recent post titled "Plants for late afternoon sun". I found this in my forum search for "Nandina"!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 1:34PM
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