Podcast: Let's Argue About Plants

Episode 159: Plants That Take Sun and Shade   

Video by Fine Gardening, Edited by Nate Gruca

Chances are, you’ve got mixed conditions in your garden. One area might be in full sun, while another spot a bit farther away is in full shade. Even beds that have the same exposure on paper may have larger plants that shade out the ground below them. This presents a challenge for developing a cohesive look within a landscape. As gardeners, we’ve been taught that repetition is one of the tenets of good garden design. But how can one repeat groupings of a plant throughout a border that stretches from bright light to dappled shade? The answer is by utilizing plants that are highly adaptable and will thrive in both sun and shade. In today’s episode we’re singing the praises of these flexible species. They are invaluable assets to the landscape and, as a bonus, will hold their own when the light conditions of a garden inevitably change over time.   

Amy Galloway is a horticulturist at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas. 


 This episode is sponsored by New England Botanic Garden.


Danielle’s Plants 

‘Karmina’ hardy geranium (Geranium × cantabrigiense ‘Karmina’, Zones 5–8) 

Spotted widow’s tears (Tinantia pringlei, Zones 6b–11) 

‘Cora Louise’ Itoh peony (Paeonia ‘Cora Louise’, Zones 4–9) 

‘All Gold’ Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘All Gold’, Zones 5–9) 


Carol’s Plants  

‘Pretoria’ canna (Canna indica ‘Pretoria’, Zones 8–11) 

Russian arborvitae (Microbiota decussata, Zones 3–7) 

‘Sum and Substance’ hosta (Hosta ‘Sum and Substance, Zones 3–9) 

Fragrant abelia (Abelia mosanensis, syn. Zabelia tyaihyonii,  Zones 5–8) 


Expert’s Plants  

Twistleaf yucca (Yucca rupicola, Zones 7–10) 

Plateau goldeneye (Viguiera dentata, Zones 7–9) 

Turk’s cap, or sleeping hibiscus (Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii, Zones 7–10) 


‘Karmina’ hardy geranium  

Spotted widow’s tears  

‘Cora Louise’ Itoh peony  

‘Cora Louise’ Itoh peony, new spring growth  

‘All Gold’ Japanese forest grass  

‘Pretoria’ canna 

Russian arborvitae, featured in Joanne Vieira’s article Problem-Solving Ground Covers 

Fragrant abelia 

Twistleaf yucca. Photo: millettephotomedia.com 

Plateau goldeneye. Photo: Amy Galloway 

Turk’s cap, or sleeping hibiscus. Photo: Amy Galloway 


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