When designing a garden, I am often looking for plant material that tolerates both full-sun and shade conditions. Perhaps the garden bed includes a young tree that currently provides very little shade but over time will shade more and more of the garden. In this situation, I want a plant that can tolerate full sun now but will be just as happy once the garden is shaded. Or I may be looking for plants that I can weave throughout a planting to create rhythm and continuity in a garden that straddles different sun exposures. Whatever the reason, finding plants that tolerate both sun and shade is no easy task, especially in the hot Southern Plains.
The obvious choice might be plants labeled as “part sun” or “part shade”; however, many of these plants cannot tolerate our hot afternoon sun. They thrive in morning sun and afternoon shade or filtered light throughout the day. Others struggle with too much shade. After a bit of experimentation and much searching, I’ve created a plant palette that works under varying sun exposures. The following are just a few plants that transition well in these challenging sun-shade scenarios. As you experiment with others, pay attention to heat tolerance. Our sizzling summer sun is often the limiting factor.