label says sun, but takes shade

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Donna brought up an interesting point, about some 'sun' perennials that do ok in shade. I have several:
Encrusted saxifrage, in morning sun only. Really.
Sedum 'Elsie's Gold' looks nice and does NOT sprawl and flop, in morning sun only
Paeonia lutea (a big shrub, really, in dry shade under a cedar tree)
a white Japanese anemone, I can't recall which but not H. Jobert. Full shade, dry.
Choisya ternata, species and 'Sundance' (a shrub- so great in shade I had to mention it)
Alstroemeria "The Third Harmonic' early morning sun only. Leans to light but flowers fine.
Hemerocallis fulva 'Flore pleno' (thanks pfg), in morning sun only. Nonstop bloomer.
Carex 'Ice Dance' I see recent labels have changed to include dry shade, where mine thrives without any sun at all.
What sun plants take shade for you?

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Polemonium caeruleum (also comes in white)
Oakleaf hydrangeas
Chasmanthium latifolium (watch the seeding!)
Fragaria vesca reugen (runnerless woodland strawberries)

Still thinking...

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

I have aconitum thriving in full shade. Fully budded up ready to bloom this fall.
Also hydrangea paniculata tardiva in full shade (OK, so it's a shrub)...
- a little lean but flowers fine. My oakleafs need at least part sun.

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

This is a wonderful thread -- thanks for starting it. Part of the problem, I think, is the overall conditions; my sense is that some "sun" lovers that do ok in shade may only do so if the conditions are are right - no dry shade and no hardpan or clay. For example, big root geraniums are an old-faithful for dry shade -- but I have found that they are not really thrilled during extended drought -- they don't die right away but they don't look happy and might die after a season or two. And that is for a plant that is reputed to like the shade.

I also think there is "shade" and then there is "shade." I am in complete shade denial. Parts of my yard are what anyone else would call "mostly shady" because they only get direct sun now and then. But I'm so pleased to get any sun at all that I call them "mostly sunny."

I'm expanding my "garden" (such as it is) into the far back of my backyard where even I have to admit it is mostly shady. I'll let you know if I have any surprising successes.

Stroudsburg, PA(Zone 6a)

I am very interested in following this thread. My garden is pretty much full sun so I am quite used to that situation. However, I am helping a friend who has all shade (ok, a small amount of filtered sun). I am trying to learn what will grow and look good for her. She also has a deer problem. I hate to do the whole thing in ferns! I'll just lurk since I have very little to add, and you can just know that you are teaching an old dog some valuable tips!

Natick, MA

someone posted on another thread that Obedient Plants do well in shade. I just got some and planted them in sun, but am going to move some of them next year

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I often put flowers that call for "sun" in bright shade, and they are happy, happy, happy. I usually read the culture and description and where they originated; then decide where to place the plant. Campanula, for example, growing further north can grow in sun. Campanula here, goes in shade.
Heliotrope: does very well
Torenia (I have it in lots of sun as well as another garden with bright shade)
Campanulas (if I put campanulas in sun, they would turn up their toes)
Cranesbill Geraniums
Clematis Claire de Lune
Arinia saxatilis (Basket of Gold)
Iberis sempervirens (Candytuf)
Marguerite Daisy

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Fascinating birder. Most of your list are for me sun-requirers. Ones that can survive in part shade on your list are: a few campanulas, but they hardly bloom, snapdragons (don't bloom much except in sun, but do survive most winters), some specific cranesbill Geraniums, a few daylillies but not all, and they may not bloom much, some Clematis. I have a daylilly H. fulva 'flore pleno' I got from pfg, that bloomed ALL summer in dry shade.
Heliotrope must have sun for me, and in a cool summer is pathetic even in sun.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Heliotrope blooms all summer long-still blooming: November 1 !

(Zone 4b)

Excellent discussion.

Of course it makes a significant difference as to the latitude of ones garden as to how much shade a plant can tolerate and be successful ie flower. For example it might well be the case that a perennial that needs lots of sun in my zone 5 garden can do well in lots more shade if that same variety is located (much?) further south.

(And "full sun" is easier to quantify than "part sun" or "part shade" or even "shade").

Having said all of this I am pleased with how well my "Sweet Autumn Clematis" does in a very shady location as well as Persicaria Polymorpha.

Ditto for our "Kalemeris Blue Star" and even some of our roses do just fine for me in 4 hours of sun.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I certainly agree with "the latitude of ones garden". I guess that is why one often reads in plant catalogs: "Full sun to part shade/shade". The gardener has to decide what location would work for the particular plant in their particular area. It's always a little tricky and a trial and error sort of thing. Plus, we get lots of good info from gardeners that share their experiences.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

One more that blooms in quite a bit of shade: Nasturtiums. I put them with the tomatoes as companions. They skirt the feet of the tomatoes and the climibing ones mingle through the tomato vines. The tomatoes give them shade. And, there's shade trees close by. They are happy, happy, happy--bloom their heads off all season--I just lots them to a hard freeze about 5 days ago.

Natick, MA

Thank you for info on nasturtiums! A friend shared some of her seeds with me for next year and my Sun areas are prime real estate so I'm always looking for flowers that will take shade.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

They probably wouldn't take full sun, but they like some shade. They bloom longer in part shade and don't burn up.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

I grow them here in full sun, but now I might try them in a shadier spot too. Here is one from 2 days ago, but tonight it will probably get frosted. I planted these this spring, then cut them to nubs early August, as painters needed access. They grew back and have been blooming since mid-Sept. This year they did not get aphids, possibly because I cut them back?

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Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Probably not. Aphids attack when there's lots of lush green foliage usually caused by lots of rain. My nasturtiums don't get aphids-at least I haven't seen any. I don't know if it is because they are with the tomatoes or what. The tomatoes don't get aphids either. Or, heck, maybe it's cause the hummers keep them at bay! I used to get aphids on my tomatoes. Then, I started planting them later, after the spring rains that made lots of green. lush leaves and no more aphids.

Nasturtiums certainly have a place in my garden. The color of the leaves and shape of the leaves are pretty neat w/o the beautiful, bright, cheerful blooms. Blooms make a nice contrast with the leaves.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Great idea! I just got some tall/vining nasturtiums from Burpee's and Swallowtail (both doing free shipping offers at present)... didn't even think of planting them up the tomatoes, although I want to do that with some pole beans and runner beans this year. They might grow up sunflower stalks nicely, also...

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Nasturtiums are fun, but there are different types and some need watching. I grew Mahogany Whirlybird for years at home. The flowers of that type are above the leaves ("Tip Top as well) and they look great - they clump. Here they are in the ground, and in the second picture, in a pot with tomatoes.

I grew those in the back and the trailing/climbing ones in the front of my new house. They're great, but make sure they don't take over the planet. They are capable of wiping out other plants. They took out a campanula Bernice and a thalictrum 'Black Stockings'! My fault - insufficient monitoring.

But they looked great, and they climbed my steps with NO training. And they lasted till frost. This was a seed mix I had bagged up in 1998. I kept harvesting my nasturtiums for many years and putting them in zip lock bags in the fridge. I would keep colors separate, but this is a very old mix from Thompson and Morgan. These pictures are from 2013, so the seeds are at least 15 years old..

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(Zone 4b)

Here is a nasturtium in a planter from 3 summers ago. This pot was placed in quite deep shade (for sure no direct sun). Of course there would have been lots more blooms with more sun but the flowers that showed really put a 'pop' in that dark area of the garden.

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Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

I have a bunch of old nasturtium seed packets. This year I will plant them everywhere!

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)


I grew scarlet runner beans (seeds given to me by a Brit, no less) at my former home. Love 'em. Thank you for the reminder - it's been years, and now they are on my "to plant" list!

Heat tolerant sweet peas (Mammoth mix) are fun too! If you get them going in March and deadhead them they will be around in September, as these were seven years ago. Another thing to put on this year's list. I'll grow them up my raspberries.

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Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Yes, critter, and I may try them up around the okra. My okra gets 7 feet tall.
I think Nasturtiums should be used more in the landscape. Their foliage is nice and the blooms really pop. They come in many colors, easy to grow, and bloom all season long. I have never had a problem with bugs.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I planted Hyacinth Bean around my okra one year thnking the red-violet blooms would compliment the soft yellow with pinkish red centers of the okra blossom. It was a big mistake. The H. B. vine practically choked out the okra. The vine was too strong. I have grown Scarlet Runner Bean also. It seems very similar to the Hyacinth Bean Vine. In the right place, they are outstanding.
I grew Hyacinth bean up the deck post (10'), and it was stunning last year--but not near my okra! Lesson Learned!
I don't think the Nasturtium vine would choke out the okra plants based on their behavior with my tomato vines.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

What a difference a zone makes. My hyacinth beans were never that vigorous, much as I encourage them!

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

My new name is Pistil. I was formerly known as mlmlakestevens. This is much better, don't you think?

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I like it! And since you left in your location, we will know it's you!

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

Pistil - Did you move away from Lake Stevens? You can put your new location in your profile as well, that is if you want to.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Hi Evelyn, I have not moved, I just got tired of my long and dull DG name. Pistil is much snappier. But I still answer to mlm or mimi too. I will go check my info and make sure my location is there. Maybe I will add a photo. I like to see the photos others have used but never looked to see how to do it.

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