Reflective Heat & Light

Lady's Island, SC(Zone 8b)

I have a 3 ft by 3 ft area next to the concrete sidewalk leading to my door. Anyway, this area gets full sun from 11:30am until about 2:30pm and then bright shade & some filtered sun the rest of the day. The area is open in front and back (Azalea bushes are on both sides of this area.) and faces white vinyl siding on the house. So not only does it get really hot afternoon sun from behind, it also gets the sunlight and heat reflected from the vinyl siding in the front which is about 3 feet away. I had planted some miniature roses there about 2 weeks ago which were growing beautifully. Then we had several sunny days with temps in the high 70's & high humidity. 2 days ago, I noticed some of the newer leaves were wilting and some of the older leaves had bleached looking spots developing. After researching online, I concluded they were receiving too much reflective heat and light and moved them to a different area. So now this area is bare & really needing something pretty to look at :) The only thing I have in there now is a Lime Sweet Potato Vine which I have edging the sidewalk. I need some plant suggestions for planting behind the sweet potato vine.

I am only going to allow the sweet potato vine to run horizontally along the sidewalk and not allow it to take over the whole 3x3 area. So, there should not be any concern that it will overtake any plants I may plant behind it. (I know how vigorous they can be! LOL)

Here is a little more information about the area:

The soil was all sand until I amended it prior to planting the roses and sweet potato vine. I shoveled out lots of the sand and added half a bag of Black Kow compost, along with 1/2 a bag of Osmocote organic garden soil, and mixed it all up to a depth of about 10 inches. (Of course I added more of each to the holes when planting the roses and Sweet Potato Vine). This area drains very well and never sits in standing water. During Spring & Summer, it receives sunlight as mentioned above. However, during the Fall and Winter, when the trees lose their leaves. it receives full sun from about 11:00am until the sun goes down.

I am looking to plant 2 of the same plants here that will thrive in this area despite the reflective heat and light...preferably perennials, but annual suggestions are welcomed, too. I don't want the plants to be taller than the Azalea bushes, which are about 4 feet tall. So, I am looking for plants that are no more than 2-3 feet in height and somewhere in the width range of 12 to 24 inches. Or I can plant 1 plant in the center behind the sweet potato vine that is around 2 to 3 feet tall and wide. I was thinking of maybe planting 2 of the smaller sized Buddleia bushes.

Any other suggestions?

Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

IME even the smaller Budleja get pretty large.

How about Lavender? There are many species and varieties from 12" dwarfs to 4' shrubs, every size in between.

As a general guide most plants with silvery or grey leaves are better for reflected heat than most green leaved plants.

Good that you are adding so much soil conditioner to the sandy soil.
Mulch the area, too. This will keep the soil (and therefore the roots) cooler, and retain water even better.

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