Become an Expert Garden Center Shopper: Sun and Shade
Today we’ll cover how to determine whether you need sun or shade plants for your garden and how to know which plants are for sun and which are for shade.
Help! Do I need sun or shade plants??
First determine where you want to put your plants. Are you looking for containers and hanging baskets for your porch, or are you looking for flats or quarts to pop into your garden beds? Full sun areas mean that spot has 6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day. Part shade means the area receives 3-6 hours of full sun, and any spot less than 3 hours will need shade loving plants. Another tip, these hours of sun do not need to be consecutive. Maybe your porch gets direct sun in the morning from 9-12 but then again from 3-6. Yes, you can still purchase full sun annuals for your porch.
‘But Amy, what if I have a garden bed where one side gets full sun, but the other side is shaded by trees?!’ 2 options here, either purchase a variety of sun and partial shade plants, or look for plants that can be planted in both areas (they don’t care if they get full sun or partial sun). If you go with option 2, beware that you’ll probably have to keep a close eye on watering the plants in the full sun area as they will dry out much quicker than the ones on the shady side.
Sun and Shade
Once you’re at the garden center, first take note of the shaded areas and the sunny areas, this will help you shop. Go inside the garden center if you’re looking for shade plants, or stay outside the garden center for sun loving plants. At Home Depot garden centers the signs for the products will be either purple for shade plants, or yellow for sun plants. If you’re looking at flats, the color of the plastic trays will help you determine if it’s a shade plant or a sun plant. Gray trays are for shade, black trays are for sun.
Outside garden center: Sun loving
Inside garden center: Shade loving
Yellow signs: Sun loving
Purple signs: Shade loving
Black trays: Sun loving
Gray trays: Shade loving
Still not sure if a plant is supposed to be in sun or shade? Pro Tip: Read the tags on the plants. They are always chuck full of helpful information not just on sun and shade, but how much water they need and estimates on how big the plants will get.
Stay tuned for our next Expert Garden Center Shopper blog.