Plants for semi-shade

by M. Arjoca, vegetalshapes.com

ClematisOne of the key elements in the life of plants is the light. They can not live without it or they don’t grow well. But the need for light differs from plant to plant. There are plants that need 6-8 hours full sunlight daily and they are suited for sunny gardens. But there are also other plants that prefer or tolerate partial shade. The last ones are suited for shaded and semi-shaded gardens. The power of adaptation is one of the amazing qualities of plants.
So, the place and the space of the garden are very important.
The plants will have a lot of sunlight, especially in the morning, if the garden is oriented on east and they will benefit of full sun in the afternoon in west-facing gardens. The orientation is very important because the sunlight is much stronger in the afternoon as in the morning and some plants, like African violets, don’t stand high temperatures. In order to grow and bloom properly, the plants that grow in a north-facing garden or in a garden shaded by trees or walls, must prefer or tolerate the shade.
It is not obligatory to have the garden on an open field. You can make a container garden on a terrace, on a window sill or on the roof, but the space available is also important for plants. In a semi-shaded area, some plants need a larger space to grow as others. For example, a philodendron needs more space as a begonia. If you grow the plants in containers be careful to their seizes.
So, the plants for semi-shaded gardens need some quantity of light and warmth, enough space to grow, water and proper soil to feed themselves. Some of them prefer shade and moisture. Tropical plants belong to this category. Others prefer shade but don’t need too much water. For example, African violets grow very well in shaded places, but too much moisture do them damage. So, their soil must be not too wet and when you water them take care not to sprinkle the leaves because this can make them rot.
Pink columbinesThe quality of soil is another important aspect. Its texture really matters for some plants. Some of them need rich soil and you can add compost. Other plants grow well in poor soil. Some varieties of orchids, semi-shade plants, grow in tree bark and don’t need soil. Some plants prefer slightly-acid soil and others prefer alkaline soil. Therefore the soil pH is also important when you choose the plants.
If you want to create a vegetables garden in a semi-shaded place, you can grow vegetables that tolerate partial shade. Generally, the vegetables grown for leaves are suited for this kind of garden because the plants need less energy to grow their leaves as they need to develop flowers and fruits. The parsley, lettuce, leaf beet, lovage etc. grow very well in partial shade. You can plant near them flowers in order to attract beneficial insects and to protect them form pests. Companion plants are welcome here and can give you many ideas.
When you create a flowers garden, choose the plants keeping in mind the aspects mentioned above and also their blooming time and their colors. This in case you want your garden to seem always in bloom and showy and its colors to harmonize each other.
Create a garden plan with the beds and the paths between them and mark on it also the place of the plants. To have a clear image of the final project, make a table with the blooming time of flowers, the quality and soil pH plants prefer and the quantity of water they need. You can obtain this information when you buy seeds, bulbs or mature plants because normally, it is written on their package. Here is one such table:

Plants information

Name Blooming time Flowers color Leaves color Soil pH
Pansies

February-March

September-November

various   5.4-5.8
Foxglove second year, April-June purple   6.5-7.0
Nasturtium June-first frost orange   6.0-7.5
Hosta June-October white green with yellow stripes 6.5-7.5
Impatiens May-first frost various   6.0-7.5
Buxus all year round   green 6.5-7.5

Of course, blooming time depends on the area you live. The daffodils bloom in April in a south area and in May in a north area. This is available for northern hemisphere. When you live in the southern hemisphere they will bloom in September.
PrimulasYou can grow plants that bloom in different seasons. You can have plants that bloom in spring, in summer, in autumn and even in winter. This way you give the impression that in your garden is always something new. When the blooming time of some plants ends, the blooming time of others begins. When the time of tulips ends, the time of lilies begins. This way you feel how the seasons pass and you feel the connection with the nature.
There are perennial, annual and biannual plants. The perennials live more than 2 years and you will have them all the time in garden. The annuals live just a season and the biannuals live 2 years. Combining perennial plants with annual or biannual plants you create the impression that your garden is permanently alive. When an annual doesn’t bloom anymore or it disappears, the perennials are still there. The strength of the annuals is that, living just one season, they will use their maximum force to attract beneficial insects and other pollinators in order to produce fruits and seeds. So they will produce a maximum of bloom. You can alternate perennials with annuals or you can grow just a certain type of plants that through the color of their flowers or leaves to highlight that part of the garden. Of course all these depend on your taste and mood.
Besides vegetables and/or flowers you can grow in partial shade some trees and bushes that bloom in different seasons or stay green all year round.
Plants for partial shade that bloom in spring are first of all the bulbs: snowdrops, scillas, hyacinths, daffodils, tulips. Then follow the primulas, helleborus, pansies and violets, bellflowers, anemones, lilies of the valley. Forsythia, rhododendron and cornel are bushes that bloom in spring. Magnolia is a tree that will ensure admiration through its splendid flowers.
NasturtiumIn summer bloom in partial shade: columbines, lupins, hydrangea, mirabilis, geraniums, foxgloves, cornflowers, bleeding hearts, forget-me-not, lilies, impatiens and even black-eyed Susans.
You can grow climbing plants to cover a shaded wall or fence. Clematis, honeysuckle, ivy and nasturtiums are very suited for this type of garden.
In autumn bloom the cyclamens, pansies and the asters.
In winter the buxus gives a permanent green color to the garden.
Perennial plants suited to partial shade gardens are: hostas, ferns, comfrey, vinca, buxus and bamboo.
Semi-shade plants that you can grow also on a terrace or inside are: angel’s trumpet, camellia, fuchsia, ferns, begonia, cyclamen, clematis, African violets, coleus, orchids and other tropical plants. Many of them are plants that purify the air and are very well adapted to shadow.
Having all this information you can create a colorful and cheerful place, a corner that is always lush or new, a place in your shaded garden or on a terrace where you always feel good.

More about:

African violet

Streptocarpus

Plants that purify the air