Have you ever looked at the sunlight needs on plant labels and wondered what they mean? When making selections for your landscape or garden, it is important to understand the amount of sunlight your outdoor space receives during the course of a day. Each plant is unique and has different growing conditions and requirements, sunlight being one of them. Most homeowners have some areas of shade on their property, which affects which plants should be chosen for those spaces. Before you can select plants, however, you need to understand the type of shade you have. Read on to learn more about the different types of shade.
Filtered, or dappled shade, can be found under trees with open, airy branches. The sunlight filters through the canopy of the open tree branches, producing a light pattern reminiscent of a lattice. The light pattern shifts throughout the day as the sun moves overhead. Filtered shade is common in suburban backyards and wooded shaded areas.
Areas where no direct sunlight is allowed to penetrate are in full shade. This type of shade is often found under evergreens and closely planted shrubs. The shade produced under these conditions is cooling, but it can be challenging to find plants that are able to grow with very little light. Plants that do work under full shade conditions often have interesting leaf textures.
You have part shade if your space receives 4-6 hours of direct morning sun daily. The remainder of the day is left in shadow, or shade. Note that locations receiving 4-6 hours of direct afternoon sun daily are considered full sun, not part shade. Partly shaded spots are very beneficial for several plants.
Dry shade is often found under trees, especially maple trees. The tree often takes most of the nutrients and water, leaving very little for anything else to grow. The area is both shaded and dry.
Shaded areas that are also moisture rich are considered places of damp shade. Soil in damp shaded areas rarely dries out completely and can be known to accumulate water. Think low spots in your landscape, flood zones or downspout drainage locations. Space at the bottom of hills where natural drainage occurs are also damp shaded spots.
Need help determining which type of shade you have? Curious what plants will work best in each shaded area? Look for a future blog post on shade loving plants or give us a call to set up an initial meeting. You can always request a quote online too.