As we enter the season of fall gardening we’re also walking into a time of transition. The days become shorter and eventually temperatures will also cool. As many of us know this can have quite an impact on our next planting decisions.
What gardeners plant up north will vary from those of us down south because our warmer temperatures stick around.
Thankfully most nurseries stock shelves according to their climate. This is also true for when preparing to plant for sprnig.
I love going to the nursery, especially in the fall because the selections inspire and the colors are warm. I’m known for getting side tracked and what I love seems to grab my attention first.
Sometimes what we love isn’t what’s best for our garden. I’m so guilty of this…
So, before we fall in love with a certain plant, first investigate how it will thrive in our space.
This is as simple as monitoring hours of sunlight where you want to plant; do this before you go to the nursery.
Matching Plants to Hours of Sunlight
Matching plants to hours of sunlight really isn’t that difficult and nurseries make this pretty easy by offering care instructions.
Every outdoor area offers a different amount of sunlight and shade each day. If you’ve been gardening in the same location for years then you probably have a good handle on things but it’s always good to double check especially if you have neighbors.
New tree growth or even removal of trees or shrubs in someone else’s yard can have an impact on your garden, especially if outdoor spaces are close together.
So, let’s simplify matching plants to hours of sunlight by:
- Understanding your climate, investigate your planting areas for hours of sunlight and record those findings.
- Read plant tags before purchasing and tailor your selections to local conditions.
If you’d like to record your findings then make sure to grab my Free Seasonal Garden Planner here.
This planner is a 12-page beauty, using a watercolor theme that I painted over the summer. You’re going to love it!
The following information can also be used when selecting plants for spring or early summer planting.
Plants described as drought tolerant or needing “full sun” require at least 6 hours of daily sun exposure. These areas are bright and wide open to the sunlight and can sometimes receive more than 6 hours each day.
Some plants will thrive in these conditions but others simply cannot take the heat.
Part sun areas require at least 3 t0 6 hours of daily sunlight. These areas can sometimes be filtered as “full sun gardening” because they offer semi-shade for plants.
Part sun is best described as, “Periods of direct sunlight lasting for hours and shade follows later.”
Shade is provided by nearby trees, a trellis or even flowing branches. These are some of my favorite places to plant because they’re easy to maintain.
Another reminder is morning sunlight will always be cooler than afternoon sun temperatures.
Plants labeled part shade means they’re more sensitive to full sun, especially when temperatures rise; also remember you have a little more flexibility in these areas.
Part and Full Shade
Full shade describes an area where direct sunlight never penetrates due to shadows. These could be spots with heavy greenery, buildings, or even a covered porch.
Growing up I use to love going on nature trail walks because I was fascinated by the green plant growth where there wasn’t sunlight. The temperature was always cooler and the air was moist.
If you haven’t explored a nature trail walk in a while, I highly recommend it…
So, how does a gardener match planting in these types of conditions? You search for shade plants that thrive from indirect light, this includes evergreens and ferns.
Some of these areas offer filtered light, known as partly shaded areas where full shade plants will still thrive as most full shade plants can tolerate a tad of sunlight.
So, don’t be hasty when choosing the right plants for you space.
Always garden according to matching the right plants with the hours of sunlight and find joy in your environment as we transition into a new season.
If you liked this article, then you may also enjoy reading my book, Startle Garden.
This is a complete guide to beginning your garden using smaller and taller raised beds that are easier to maintain. Very similar to container gardening for those with limited space or anyone looking to downsize their garden.