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Kathy’s Gardening Guide: Shade landscaping – kechambers

Kathy’s Gardening Guide: Shade landscaping

By Kathy Esfahani

As Florida is the “Sunshine State,” we are always talking about plants that need full sun or love the heat! But it is also important to choose the right plants for shady areas of your landscape.

When planning for the shady portion of your yard, start by watching how the sun moves across your landscape. Take notes! Depending on the path of the sun, your area could get four hours of direct sunlight per day combined with partial shade during other times.

Also, notice how dense your shade is and, therefore, how light or dark it is at ground level.

Shade tolerant plants grow well if they receive fewer than four hours of sun, especially if these hours are during a cooler time of day. They grow in shade that moves — for example, shade caused by tall trees — or partial shade throughout the day. These plants prosper in an environment where the soil drains rather than becoming too soggy.

These tips will help guide your shade landscaping:

  • Know your shade: Understanding the amount of shade and indirect light your area receives is the biggest key to the success of a shady part of your landscape. All plants need sunlight to survive, so look for areas with indirect sunlight instead of dark areas with overly wet soil.
  • Light and Color: Just because an area is shaded, don’t feel like you are limited to only green plants! There are quite a few plants, such as caladium, with beautiful color to add to a shaded landscape.
  • Mixture of Heights: A mixture of ground cover with medium-to-tall plants will create depth for a lush shade garden.

Several plant varieties love the shade. When planning your shade landscape, be sure to consider arbicoloe, asiatic jasmine, begonia, border grasses, bromeliads, caladium, cast iron plants, coleus, farfugium, foxtail fern, Hawaiian ti, ornamental gingers, and variegated gingers.

Enjoy the shade!

Flowers of the week: caladium

Please email Kathy at for any questions or gardening tips you would like to see in the future. For more information & ideas, visit Kathy’s Creative Gardens & Nursery, 196 N. Roscoe Blvd. The phone number is 904-655-7373.

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